Kitted Out

I intend to, at varying points throughout the couple of weeks before the tournament begins, to touch upon the varying paraphernalia surrounding the World Cup. The shirts, the balls, the goals, the nuts and bolts that hold the whole shebang together. The more you think about it, the more important the kits are. One of my primary recollections of watching England in the early 1980s is this shirt. I was ten years old. I didn’t know any better. I thought England dressed like that all the time. I didn’t realise that this shirt (made by Admiral) was something of an aberration in a long line of plain white shirts. What you’ll probably find at some point, in the run-up to this year’s finals, will be an eight page article about the team kits, possibly with a running commentary from somebody like Wayne Hemingway saying things like, “well, this year’s Togo shirt is very colourful, but it could really do with leather elbow pads”. You can see all this year’s kits here, and I think that, for once, most of the manufacturers have made rather a good job of it. The curse of the modern football kit is what I would describe as the “identikit”. Big manufacturers, most notably Nike, would design one shirt, and simply alter the colours to suit the appropriate countries. This reached a nadir in Japan/South...

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