The18.com World Cup Kit Championship: Group Stage
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It's almost World Cup tournament time, and we here at The18 decided to start things early with our first-ever The18.com World Cup Kit Championship.
So here's the deal: We took all 32 home and away kits for this year's FIFA World Cup field and put them into competition with one another. Based off the actual group pairings of the World Cup, our judging criteria included of tradition, creativity and innovation. World Cup kits are a symbol of each country and let's be honest, "look good, feel good, play good" will always be true in sports. Just ask Oregon. Here we go!
One of the more solid groups in this year's World Cup. All countries showed the criteria above, but Brazil’s classic yellow look with green trim takes the cake. Along with a sleek, all dark blue away kit, the host country looks strong early. Croatia’s signature checkers fell just short to the new, unique African themed jerseys of Cameroon. Mexico’s kits aren’t terrible either, but this isn’t about effort, it’s about winning. Brazil and Cameroon advance.
The Netherlands look was inspired by the 1988 UEFA Championship kit, and for good reason. The Dutch were the ones to lift the trophy in that tournament and they are looking strong to lift the The18.com trophy as well. Spain’s home jerseys are pure class, but falter due to their black and neon away kit. FIFA even said that the Spanish wil have to bring a white kit for their match against the Netherlands on June 13th. It was an innovative attempt, but we’re firm believers in representing your country’s colors, and last time we checked neon green wasn’t in the Spanish repertoire. The Socceroos from down under present a clean look similar to Brazil's, and will find their way through to the knockout stage. Chile, I would go back to the drawing board.
Group C is a pretty plain group to say the least. The Ivory Coast leads the way with their signature orange and green kits accompanied by their awesome elephant crest. With Japan’s all neon placing them in the basement, the race for second was a coin toss, literally. Greece advances.
The Italians do know a thing about fashion, and they have shown it in their 2014 kits. Along with their classic all blue home look, the Italian's away kit is ice cold with an all white look with pinstripes. England and Uruguay both provide classic looks and don’t do anything out of the ordinary. Tiebreaker goes to the crest, and that easily goes to England with the massive three lions on top of the English players' hearts. Costa Rica, enjoy a cup of ceviche on your way home.
Nothing out of the ordinary in group E. France will roll into Brazil with an elegant look that screams French. Anytime a jersey can capture a country’s culture, the makers have succeeded. Switzerland has a lovely Swiss cross-watermarked in the center of their jerseys, which despite the simplicity pushed them past the mediocre Ecuador and Honduras designs.
One the most iconic kits in Rio this year will be the Albiceleste (the white and sky blue). The vertical stripes are never to be touched and Adidas did a great job of keeping tradition, while giving them a little bit of spice. Not to mention the dark blue away kits are sharp as well. Second place was tough, but Iran has a cheetah on their jerseys, so they advance (obviously).
The group of death. A tough group overall. Germany will not wear black shorts with their home whites for the first time since 1908 and it’s for the better. Bleeding class, the all white look with a red chevron is pure eye candy. The away kit follows suit with tasteful black and red rugby stripes that complete the German look. Puma kept the ball rolling with African art on the Ghana kits. The Black Stars will be hard to miss in their bold and memorable uniforms. The all red and all white combo moves them into the knock out stage. It’s not to say that the USA and Portugal have terrible kits, but compared to their group members they fall short. The all white home kits seem more fit for the 18th hole then the pitch, and rocket pop away kits aren't terrible but won't crack the top two. Portugal had a tough task outdoing their last kits, which were some of our favorites. Adidas and Puma prevail in this bout.
Belgium finishes atop the group with a bold look that includes a watermark of a crown. Along with their intimidating black jerseys, Belgium did a good job for their first World Cup since 2002. Russia’s jerseys are… Russian. They did a great job capturing a Russian look, which even includes a watermark of the Kosmonauts Museum in Moscow. Korea and Algeria failed to impress. We’re loving the watermarks if you can’t tell.
Our field of 32 has been trimmed to 16. Stay tuned for the knockout stage and see who takes home The18.com’s 2014 World Cup Kit Championship.