Sunday, June 29, 2008

Euro 2008: The Football Kit Blog Report

VIENNA–Euro 2008 will go down in history as an outstanding tournament full of nail–biting finishes. That will be the consensus throughout the world media. But how many columns will be devoted to the uniforms of the tournament? Not many, I gather. Here, without further adieu, is my take on the kits used in Euro 2008.

Let's start with the bad. In the past few major tournaments, I have noticed a trend of teams coming out in solid color kits. This is an unfortunate development. For example, Portugal used to wear this. In Euro 2008 (and going back further, actually) they have been wearing an all–red kit. It is certainly debatable which look is better, but the green shorts are no doubt more traditional. Take also the example of The Netherlands. When they came out wearing the orange shirt/white short/blue sock kit, they looked brilliant. But when they came out as they did in the majority of their matches in all–orange, it didn't work so well. And why, for example, can't France look like this when they play against Romania? Does UEFA really think television viewers won't be able to distinguish between the two sides?

This tournament was a complete disaster for Puma. In footballing terms, only one Puma team (Italy) made it to the knock–out stages. Puma also outfitted Austria, Czech Republic, Poland and Switzerland. Game to game these teams looked indistinguishable from one another. Take a look at this, this, and this. Save for the crests, those kits are identical. It's the epitome of laziness. At least with Nike or Adidas there are some subtle touches that set each kit apart, but Puma apparently believes that all national teams should wear the same thing. The kits themselves are relatively nice but also a little boring. Those two sets of fonts they used for name & numbers weren't anything special either.

Adidas had a decent tournament, with several of the teams they outfit making it to the latter stages. The final was an all-adidas affair. The kits were pretty good too although somewhat predictable. My favorite of the lot was the German kit. My one major gripe would be those tacky name & number fonts.

Umbro was represented in the form of Sweden, and I think you'll agree it was another ho–hum effort by Umbro. No wonder this company loses sponsorship after sponsorship. For the most part there is nothing in their designs that make you want to part with your hard earned cash. England should wise up and ditch Umbro for Nike.

The big winner to me was Nike. Once again they took the effort of making unique kits tailored to each nation. A detail that particularly stuck out to me was the use of Turquoise in the Turkish away kit and other gear. I thought it looked great and was totally unique. I was intrigued and found this fantastic explanation by a Turkish fan on football shirts news:

"Turquoise means “Colour of the Turk” in french (or so they say) it is said that in medieval ages, only Turkish artists can paint ceramics in this colour. The european artists had tried so much to copy this colour but were unable to do so. A sportswriter Mehmet Demirkol first mentioned that Turkey must wear turquoise jerseys, a few months later manager Fatih Terim announced that the new away kit will include turquoise details. This jersey can be the beginning of a new era. It is planned to switch to a full turquoise shirt in a few years, and be recognized with this color like Azzuri of Italy and Orange of the Netherlands."

It would be really exciting if Turkey were to change their home shirt to a Turquoise shirt, but it's unlikely to happen. Remember when Mexico were going to change their home shirt to white? Tradition is sometimes very hard to part with. In this case, I think it would be a good thing. There are already so many other teams with red kits. I also thought the Turks' name & number font was nice and it looked appropriate.

Another Nike highlight for me were the Russian kits. Both homee & away were really nice and looked sharp on the pitch. The white Russian kit was actually my favorite kit of the whole tournament.

I had a couple of minor gripes with Nike. All their keepers looked exactly the same, and the number font they used for The Netherlands was ugly to say the least. Look for that keeper kit now on club teams all over the world in the upcoming season.

Croatia had the misfortune of not being able to wear their white and red checkered shirt in any of their four matches. It's unusual a team would go that deep in a tournament and never wear their home shirt.

All 16 teams had a sleeve patch on the left side that read "RESPECT." A nice idea, but it didn't really translate to more respect on the pitch.

A couple of nice touches in the celebration after Spain's victory in the final: Sergio Ramos and his t–shirt dedicated to former teammate Antonio Puerta who passed away on the pitch last year. Also, back–up goalkeeper Andres Palop put on a throwback Spanish goalkeeping jersey, that of Luis Maria Arconada.

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aRdho said...

Yeaah! I am waiting for your analysis about all of those kits in EURO!

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