Power Ranking All 32 FIFA 2014 World Cup Home Kits

Nick Akerman@NakermanFeatured ColumnistApril 7, 2014

Power Ranking All 32 FIFA 2014 World Cup Home Kits

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    Forget football, the 2014 World Cup is all about shirts.

    We've waded through each home design in a bid to decipher the ugly from the brilliant. Visual appeal, creativity and originality are the main factors to be judged, while bonus points are given for those that are deemed to be memorable.

    Can Brazil top the rankings before a ball is even kicked on their turf? Let's find out.

32. Honduras

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    Despite including a QR code on Honduras' home shirt—which points toward the creation of the shirt—Joma have managed to create one ugly design here.

    Visually, there's little to get excited about, unless you're a fan of Rimmer from Red Dwarf. The giant "H" will remind many of Chris Barrie's famous hologram, a chemical element that has the atomic level of 1, or everybody's favourite member of Steps.

    It's a "Tragedy" this shirt isn't a "Deeper Shade of Blue," as Honduras prop up our rankings with an oversized and ugly logo.

31. Switzerland

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    Switzerland rarely push the boundaries with their kits. Puma's effort doesn't aim to catch your eye with a sparkling red or memorable pattern, it simply calls upon the Swiss flag for subtle inspiration.

    Stare deep into this shirt and you'll notice a slightly visible red flag. Not nearly as intrusive as Honduras' logo, expect to see the likes of Xherdan Shakiri and Gokhan Inler quietly interchanging with Red Cross members if they get tired.

30. Algeria

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    The most innovative part of Algeria's last World Cup appearance was the pigeon that decided to spectate the African side's bland 0-0 with England.

    Hardly inspiring on the pitch, Algeria haven't looked to intimidate with a creative World Cup kit. Puma's design is almost repeated from the Switzerland shirt, but the minimalist look is certainly more fetching without a not-to-be-seen-but-really-we-want-you-to-see-it logo in the middle.

    Algeria's shirt is neat, plain and nothing special.

29. Chile

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    Chile's shirt looks like every unlicensed Pro Evolution Soccer team. It's barely different from La Roja's last offering and is unlikely to cause much of a stir outside the South American country.

    This design really needs the blue shorts and socks to look its best. Puma feature prominently on this list with visual templates that range from bland to bombastic, but this falls somewhere down the middle.

28. Iran

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    Ebrahim Noroozi

    Now, if this was a rundown of away kits, Iran's beautiful cheetah offering would be somewhere near the top. Uhlsport's home design is less creative and certainly less memorable.

    Iran's red stripe just beneath the collar provides this shirt with a smidgen of character, but this is an unambitious shirt to say the least. With matches against Nigeria, Argentina and Bosnia Herzegovina on the horizon, the Asian nation will need to show greater spark on the pitch.

27. Australia

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    Matt King/Getty Images

    The problem with Australia's home kit is that it's too similar to Nike's much slicker green-and-yellow design for Brazil.

    This World Cup is all about the hosts. As such, the Socceroos' shirt appears as an imitation. The newly-designed badge and polo style ensure this is one of the World Cup's smarter shirts, but it's fair to say many Aussies are likely to opt for the Brazil version instead.

    Australia is a nation full of famous symbols and images, from the Sydney Opera House to Tim Cahill's punching of the corner flag routine. It's about time we see some of this famous character on the country's shirt.

26. Uruguay

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    Uruguay's shirt has barely changed in recent years, but the World Cup's original winners have taken the opportunity to celebrate their history at the upcoming tournament.

    Gold stripes down both hips highlight past triumphs, including Luis Suarez's majestic handball off the line during the last competition.

    Like many of the Puma kits, less is meant to be more here. If you've ever bought a Uruguay shirt, the lack of originality ensures you probably don't need to fork out for the latest model.

25. England

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    England's pure white design is classic, as iconic as football kits come, but it fails to inspire. This team is universally known as the Three Lions—surely the nickname could lend itself to some pretty cool designs?

    Similar to imagining England winning this year's competition, such thoughts are a distant dream. The likes of Steven Gerrard and Wayne Rooney will once again lead England in a shirt that is devoid of life, a missed opportunity at this, the most celebratory of World Cups.

    Fans who enjoy classic kits will get a buzz out of this, but it's really the red away kit that harks back to England's success of 1966. The white variation drums up thoughts of quarter-final penalty shootouts and the instant crushing of a nation's overzealous expectation. 

    And at £90, don't get me started on the price!

24. United States of America

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    Like many shirts on this list, USA's home design is totally outdone by the nation's away equivalent. Nike have once again prioritised a formal, unencumbered polo type that lacks any real sense of individuality.

    The collar makes this shirt fit for gym teachers throughout the country. Some smartly-placed red lines inch this kit just above England's shirt in the visual stakes, even though there's little to choose between either on the vanilla scale.

    To get excited about either would be wrong. If we were tasked with naming this boring United States shirt, Nike would have a new range called "Total Meh" to begin promoting.

23. Bosnia Herzegovina

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    Edin Dzeko will be a key figure for his country this summer
    Edin Dzeko will be a key figure for his country this summerGetty Images/Getty Images

    Our first Adidas kit to appear comes in the shape of Bosnia Herzegovina's shirt. Four thick blue lines cut up the company's iconic trio of stripes in a design that screams of factory default.

    There's nothing original here to make Edin Dzeko and the boys stand out. Bosnia performed tremendously well to reach this summer's tournament, but like others on this list, they've bypassed the opportunity to make a visual statement with their uniform.

    It was a late deal that Bosnia Herzegovina struck with Adidas, and they will not wear their new kit it in competition until June.

22. Costa Rica

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    Costa Rica's home shirt highlights why red and blue are usually contrasting colours in football. The scythe-like swipe across the middle of the design is certainly original and full of flair, but the palette clashes.

    It's a shame because Lotto have added some slick markings around the neck. Although the design falls short on its potential, Costa Rica's effort gains plus points for trying to do something different.

    Take a peek at the country's emblem, and it immediately becomes apparent there is a lot more room for experimentation here.

21. Greece

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    In ancient Greek history, the goddess Nike stands for victory. I may have berated the group's USA design for being unambitious, but the simplistic shirt really sums up what Greece will try to achieve in Brazil.

    The unfancied team are expected to offer a professional, resilient and quietly effective output at the World Cup, something their shirt sums up rather succinctly.

    Still, imagine a design where each player wears a different Hydra head. When they come together for a pre-match photo, it would be reminiscent of this scene from Disney's Hercules. SORT IT OUT, Nike.

20. Italy

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    Antonio Calanni

    Italy's kits are the traditional favourite of those who like to show off their pecs. The tightness is here in full force, albeit with a slightly camp button arrangement that makes it stand out from Puma's other World Cup designs.

    The golden cat logo is also a point of interest and further distinguishes the Azzurri's shirt. This is one of the kits that will split fans down the middle; some will appreciate the flags on either sleeve, others will feel there's too much going on.

    Cesare Prandelli's team are destined to look like public schoolboys when they trot on to the field against England. Even so, the shirt looks better when worn—if you've got the sculpted man nipples to pull it off.

19. Japan

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    Adidas have created a sleek and unique design for Japan.

    Much of the shirt's selling point centres on the pattern that revolves around its badge. The "land of the rising sun" is highlighted in full force, showing you can provide famous imagery without it appearing sloppy or overblown (Switzerland, I'm looking at you).

    Remarkably, Adidas have also managed to ensure red and blue fits together perfectly, going against the trend set by Costa Rica.

18. Ivory Coast

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    Ivory Coast have donned the famous elephant across their chests in recent years. Nelly has retired to the breast of this year's shirt in a classy template change from Puma.

    Didier Drogba, Yaya Toure and Salomon Kalou are sure to grab plenty of attention playing in bright orange. This striking colour grabs the immediate attention but look toward the top of the design and traditional cave markings are also implemented.

    Similar to Japan, this tells onlookers Ivory Coast is proud of its heritage without ramming the message down everybody's throats.

17. Ecuador

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    Ecuador's away kit
    Ecuador's away kitCharlie Crowhurst/Getty Images

    Ecuador will head to Brazil with one of the tournament's busier shirts. Marathon have padded their design with plenty of colour, a swooping shoulder pattern and even a watermark around the badge.

    Although there's plenty going on, this design isn't congested or forced.

    The concept has clearly been created to further enhance Antonio Valencia's Hulk-like shoulders. Manchester United's powerful winger will take on the form of a bombing behemoth in such apparel, ensuring he receives ample time to cut in and overhit a cross.

    At least he'll be wearing a kit that is original.

16. France

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    France's shirt takes on a darker look this time round, but don't worry, it isn't to mimic the growing bags under Patrice Evra's eyes.

    Should the left-back decide to lead a revolution of 2010 proportions in Brazil, he'll do so in a shirt that flaunts a denim pattern. Nike have thankfully ensured a tricolour look of blue, white and red to ensure the nation doesn't boast an unprecedented "triple-denim disaster" fit for Jeremy Clarkson.

    Originality is missing here—there's no denying this design plagiarises the old shirt—but if you didn't switch slides when I mentioned denim, it could be for you. Denim is so in this year, by the way.

15. Croatia

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    Croatia's red-and-white checkered design doubles as a World Cup chessboard, the perfect half-time entertainment in Brazil.

    One of the more immediately recognisable colourations, Nike have kept this predictably basic. This design choice renders the shirts of USA and others bland, but Croatia don't need any innovation to create a visual treat.

    It's all in the power of the flag. Croatia's symbolic colours are strong enough to carry the shirt on its own. Thankfully, the lack of polo neck also ensures the HSN badge can be worn without looking like a jockey readying himself for the 12.10 at Kempton.

14. Mexico

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    Mexico's shirt is all about the thunderous pattern in the middle. This double lightning strike points toward the national badge, a symbol of power for El Tri.

    The strip is split into two sections, with lines on the front and a solid block of green on the back. Adidas' three stripes are cut short by two blocks of white that sweep across the sleeves on a shirt that aims to spark Mexico's effort at the World Cup.

    After their dismal qualifying campaign, such inspiration is more than needed. 

13. Nigeria

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    One of the less exuberant African kits, Nigeria's shirt is a fine example of simple colours working together to create an attractive design. The Super Eagles are set to rock pinstripes with the Adidas "Condivo" template that many nations have opted for across the globe.

    It isn't particularly original, but this kit harps back to the lighter green Nigerian kits of the 1990s and does so with a defined elegance. The recent run of darker kits should only be memorable for Yakubu Aiyegbeni's 2010 World Cup miss—not the nation's African Cup of Nations win—so it's best to move on.

12. South Korea

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    Similar to Japan, South Korea also show red and blue don't have to conjure up thoughts of major chundering. This is a thinking man's shirt, one that opts for simplicity and class without filling the kit with unnecessary logos.

    Perhaps the smartest touch is the "Tuhon" symbol that features inside the collar. This roughly translates as "fighting spirit," something South Korea showed in abundance during their own World Cup 12 years ago.

    Few expect the Asian side to progress beyond Belgium, Algeria and Russia in Group H, but with a powerful emblem sitting behind their every move, the 2002 run to the semi-final may be closer than we expect. 

11. Portugal

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    Armando Franca

    Portugal's shirt celebrates 100 years of the nation's Football Association. It does so with a variation of reds that are broken up with horizontal stripes, a design that is meant to complement Cristiano Ronaldo's purdy eyebrows.

    Horizontal stripes are severely lacking at this year's tournament. To hell with solid blocks of colour or vertical stripes, this is the World Cup. We need something other than Tom Cleverley's passing to go sideways.

10. Netherlands

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    Netherlands' classic design is likely to sell avidly across the globe. It will remind many of "Total Football" led by the likes of Johan Cruyff, a deliberate message that is heightened by retro numbers on the back.

    The shirt's orange is even zingier than usual, providing a beacon of hope for the greatest country to have never won a World Cup. Can Wesley Sneijder, Robin van Persie and friends call upon the inspiration of their national heroes?

    Let's hope Nigel De Jong's kung-fu tactics finally pay off.

9. Ghana

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    We're back to Puma! This time, Ghana provide a splash of excitement with a white shirt that is given life via a kente cloth design.

    Traditionally worn by Ghanaian royalty, the bursts of colour seen on the sleeves and neck are now commonplace in the country. It is a design of high importance that captures the nation's spirit without overpowering an otherwise stock white shirt.

    This receives greater plaudits than the Ivory Coast version, which uses the same template, due to its willingness to make a statement. Be ready to see plenty of kente in the Brazilian stands.

8. Germany

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    Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images

    Germany's Adidas kit is synonymous with international success. This year's variation maintains its dominant white but with a red breastplate that produces a greater emphasis on the most important aspect of any national kit: World Cup-winning stars.

    Unlike England and Netherlands, Germany's design manages to capture the best parts of shirts gone by without compromising on new elements. As such, an extremely attractive product is born.

7. Spain

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    Whether Spain win the 2014 World Cup or not, they want to remind you of their triumph last time out. Red and gold dominates the shirt—perhaps apt for a team that could leave Juan Mata, Fernando Llorente and David De Gea at home without consequence.

    Notice the FIFA World Champions badge on the right. This is Spain's first World Cup with a star above their badge, but will they have to make room for another come the end of July 13?

    Either way, this shirt pays homage to Vicente del Bosque's very recent success via markings that will forever ensure it is a special kit.

6. Argentina

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    Vadim Ghirda

    Argentina's latest shirt will be the subject of much abuse in Brazil. Memories of Diego Maradona are sure to manifest in the performances of Lionel Messi, who will need to maintain his current run of form if Alejandro Sabella's side are to challenge.

    A typical array of blue and white covers the design. A hint toward the nation's rivalry with the hosts runs down either side and the back in the form of gold stripes. Is this symbolic colour a nod toward future greatness on Brazilian territory?

    Argentina's shirt is sure to be the villainous symbol of the World Cup, making it rather popular in the process.

5. Belgium

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    Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

    Belgium's squad of talented stars are expected to impress in Brazil. The likes of Eden Hazard, Romelu Lukaku and Vincent Kompany highlight a nation that is full of experienced yet improving players who are more than equipped to cause an upset in Brazil.

    The Red Devils are the hipster team of the World Cup, the international Borussia Dortmund, and are likely to shift more shirts than in any other year. Burdda Sports have emblazoned the entire design with Belgium's flag, even down to the watermark, which is a close-up of the crown featured on the badge.

    An extremely simple way of creating an original shirt that is unique to the country, Burdda's sole offering is an excellent one.

4. Colombia

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    Colombian fans have a real shirt to treasure here. This isn't just a feast of yellow, blue, white and red, there's real meaning to every aspect of the Adidas shirt.

    Let's start with the blue stripe that engulfs the badge. This features a watermarked sombrero vueltiao ("turned hat" in English), a national symbol of the country. The back of the neck features an image of South America's Andean condor, which houses the message "#UnidosPorUnPais," translating as "United for a Country."

    This shirt manages to be original, visually enticing and crammed full of meaning in a huge World Cup for the Colombian national team. With players such as Radamel Falcao, Luis Muriel and Freddy Guarin likely to don the design, expect this year's dark horses to gain plenty of plaudits.

3. Brazil

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    Buda Mendes/Getty Images

    Brazil's shirt is arguably the most iconic in any sport. Although little has been altered from the tried-and-tested formula, this year's yellow and green has been given a minor update to coincide with the nation's spotlight.

    A sleeker badge removes "Brasil" from the shirt, while new lettering is designed to echo the style of Brazilian street posters. This is nicely rounded off with a light green outline, showing Nike can be creative and classical in the same design.

    The Samba Boys always sell plenty of shirts whether it's World Cup year or not. With Neymar now ushering in a new era, expect the Barcelona forward to shift more units than any other.

2. Russia

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    Back to inventiveness, the Russian home shirt is an absolute corker. Featuring a two-toned dark red design and golden Adidas stripes, the genius is in the detail.

    The Russian term of "пoеxали" is printed on the back, translating as "Let's go!" These words were muttered by Yuri Gagarin on his Vostok launchpad as he became the first human to enter space in 1961. The away kit follows this theme by showing a light blue semi-circle—the same view Gagarin saw when looking back at Earth.

    Those who pick up the home shirt will also notice a watermark promoting the Kosmonauts Museum in a highly original design. Russia puts the shirts of nations including France, England and Italy—countries with famous histories—to shame, but will Fabio Capello's rockets do the same on the pitch?

1. Cameroon

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    International competition wouldn't be the same without a moment of Cameroonian flair. Whether it's Roger Milla's dance, sleeveless jerseys or horrific one-pieces, the country never misses an opportunity to impress.

    This year's kit is brazen, full of life and is unlike any other home shirt at the tournament. Dominated by vicious cave paintings and lion imagery, this tight-fit style offers further detail every time you look at it.

    "Les lions indomptables" sits above every row of giant cat, which is paid special homage with its very own sewn-on badge next to the national logo.

    As ever, Cameroon make a lasting statement with their shirt. The World Cup comes around every four years, there's little reason for the African hopefuls to be shy. Instead, this design is crammed with national meaning, character and culture while being instantly recognisable as Cameroon's shirt.

    It is undoubtedly the most instantly striking template at the tournament, even if Samuel Eto'o and friends are destined to struggle against Brazil, Croatia and Mexico.

    What is your favourite home shirt of the 2014 World Cup? Be sure to let us know in the comments section below.


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