Worst Kits in the History of the World Cup
Ahead of this Friday’s much-anticipated draw for the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, we take a trip down memory lane and recall some of the worst kits ever displayed at the global showpiece event.
So prepare yourself for a collection of the most garish, colourless and distasteful shirts ever seen on a football field, and let us know which is the worst on show.
In the buildup to South Africa 2010, British red top the Daily Star claimed that the new-look Germany away kit for that year’s tournament closely resembled those shirts worn by Hitler’s SS squad during World War II.
However, manufacturer Adidas disagreed, saying, “Eleven stripes are sewn into the shirt to symbolise team spirit.”
Either way, it is not a jersey that will live long in the memory!
The Cameroon jersey gained much publicity in the lead-up to South Korea and Japan 2002 for one reason and one reason only: it was a sleeveless number!
In actual fact, it looked rather fetching and certainly caught the eye, that is until world football’s governing body FIFA intervened, telling Cameroon they had to add sleeves to their “vests.”
After that, the outfit suddenly became rather naff.
This one is an odd choice, really, from the Spanish, especially as La Furia Roja can usually be guaranteed to be kitted out in a nice little red number that is easy on the eye and inoffensive.
However, in USA '94, nothing could be further from the truth, with the horrific stripes down one side a particularly gruesome aspect of the design.
Just quite what possessed the designer of the Mexican jersey for France '98 to decide to put the face of an Aztec god smack bang in the middle of the Central Americans' shirt is still one of the great mysteries in the history of the World Cup.
However, if it were meant to somehow scare the opposition into defeat, then it failed miserably as Mexico exited the competition in the round of 16 to Germany.
England midfield player Paul Gascoigne may be smiling in the above picture, but that is only because he has not yet seen the shirt he is wearing.
Yes, the Three Lions may have produced their best-ever performance in a World Cup on foreign soil, however, it is safe to say that their then new-look modern jersey had nothing to do with their uplifting display at Italia '90.
And by the way, what is going on with the bizarre-looking, rhombus-shaped patterned design?
While the South Americans themselves enjoyed a memorable tournament at Germany 2006, surprising many neutrals with their run all the way to the round of 16, the Ecuadorian kit was not so eye-catching.
In particular, the two red-and-blue stripes in the bottom left-hand corner of the shirt have to be one of the most curious additions ever seen on a World Cup jersey!
Sure it is 27 years ago now, when the idea of what was thought of as being fashionable is very different to today’s standards, but that still does not excuse those shorts!
I mean, just who on earth thought that that design was acceptable on the eye?
Without question, this has to go down as the Selecao’s worst-ever jersey.
In fact, it is probably the only time ever that the five-time world champions have not looked good in their usually impressive gold shirts.
However, on this occasion, their kit was uninspiring and lacking the usual flare associated with Planet Football’s most colourful nation, much like the team’s football on show in that year’s tournament. This is despite Brazil going on to win the competition at USA '94.
South Korea 2002
Still, even 13 years on, the fluorescent orange kit that South Korea wore to its own tournament takes some adjusting to.
With the underdogs surprising everyone by making it all the way through to the semi-finals at the 2002 World Cup, everyone was given plenty of opportunities in which to view the jersey in all its splendour!
What is it exactly about Germany and their World Cup kits, with one of the most successful teams in the history of the tournament being equally unsuccessful when it comes to being able to design even a half-decent strip?
However, this version at USA '94, a competition that incidentally for some unexplained reason or another has seemingly produced more garish jerseys than at any other, will live long in the memory and for all the wrong reasons.
In particular, though, it is the outlandish and frankly ghastly design around both the neck and on the bottom half of the shorts that is most offensive, like the team itself really in that year’s World Cup.
What a way for Croatia to make their World Cup debut by sporting this red-and-white chequered number that is frankly painful on the eyes if looked at for too long.
And, unlike much of the football that the Croats displayed at France '98, this jersey was unimaginative, unbalanced and ever-so forgetful.
It was hard to choose between their green and their white kit from Italia '90 as both were equally unpalatable, however, in the end, the former just won the vote for the extraordinary combination of its pastel green colouring with the actual patterns on the shirt itself.
And, much like with Brazil at USA '94, this has to go down as one of the worst-ever designed jerseys to have gone on to win the World Cup.
Best to leave the worst to last really, as there really is no beating the U.S. kit at their own World Cup in 1994.
What is especially gruesome, though, is the perplexing combination of the stonewash and denim colouring (I mean really?!) with the outrageously big stars to portray the stars and stripes in the American flag of course.
Shocking, truly shocking to look at, even from distance.