The 10 most infamous kits in World Cup history

The Rio Report

View gallery

.
They may all be made from some kind of fabric, have a badge on the front and a number on the back, but there is so much more to a football kit than a simple shirt, a pair of shorts and two socks.

With just one week before the start of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, we take a look at some of the more interesting stories behind football kits at the biggest tournament in the game.

1. Uruguay reach for the stars

View gallery

.

Uruguay striker Luis Suarez sports a shirt adorned with four stars (Reuters)

Nations who have won a World Cup are permitted to display their achievement on their shirts with an understated, yet hugely meaningful, star. It is a badge of honour, one which has been gilded by national heroes past and one which can never be taken away. Yet ask Luis Suarez how many stars are on his Uruguay shirt and he will answer four. That, however, does not mean Uruguay have won four World Cups. They have won two - in 1930 and 1950 - but La Celeste insist they should be acknowledged as world champions for the Olympic titles they won in 1924 and 1928, before the invention of the World Cup. FIFA to this day recognise just two Uruguayan stars.

2. Not quite all white on the night for Brazil

View gallery

.

The Brazilian team poses before their World Cup first round match against Mexico on 24 June 1950 in Rio de Janeiro …

This year's host nation Brazil are famed for their iconic yellow shirts and blue shorts. But it was not always such - in the beginning the Selecao wore an all-white outfit (above) and it was not until after their crushingly disappointing defeat to Uruguay in the final match of the 1950 tournament - a match which made Brazilians regard the white kit as unlucky - that it changed. The decision paid off: Brazil have since been crowned world champions five times in their famous yellow and blue.

3. Come on you whites

View gallery

.

England striker Gary Lineker at the 1986 World Cup in Mexico (Reuters)

Brazil were not the only team to start out their existence in white - the French team wore white before they became Les Bleus, as did Italy prior to their days as the Azzurri. Holland, that great Oranje nation, also used to wear white. Indeed, England are one of few national teams to have retained their original white, although, somewhat ironically, their only World Cup success came in 1966 when they wore red against the white-clad West Germany at Wembley.

4. Spain embrace bout of the blues

View gallery

.

Spain midfielder Andrés Iniesta celebrates at the final whistle of the 2010 World Cup final (AFP)

La Roja (the Reds) have won four international titles in their history - half of them wearing dark blue. At Euro '64 and the World Cup in 2010, Spain's triumphant teams were forced to ditch their traditional colours so as not to clash with the Soviet Union and Holland respectively. Not that you would realise it looking at photographs of the moment when Iker Casillas lifted the trophy in Soweto at the conclusion of the latter tournament - the keeper's team-mates all around him are wearing red following a quick change of clothes for posterity.

5. Sweden inspire Boca Juniors

View gallery

.

Boca Juniors players celebrate after defeating River Plate in 2013 (AFP)

Boca Juniors' renowned blue-and-yellow has been worn by some of South America's finest footballers, Diego Maradona included, but as with most kits we know today, there has been a degree of evolution over time. In 1906, Nottingham de Almagro turned out in similar colours to Boca so a match was arranged to settle who could keep them. Boca lost and decided to instead adopt the colours of the first ship that sailed into port at La Boca - that turned out to be a Swedish ship called Drottning Sophia, sailing from Copenhagen, and the rest, as they say, is history.

6. Cameroon controversy

View gallery

.

Cameroon players before the African Nations Cup final against Senegal in 2002 (AFP)

Football kits can often spark heated debate amongst fans, but rarely do new strips spark sanctions and even legal proceedings. Yet that is what happened in the early noughties when Cameroon and their kit manufacturer Puma thought it was a good idea to design a sleeveless shirt. The basketball-style vest was used to good effect at the 2002 African Cup of Nations - Cameroon triumphed - but FIFA clamped down at the World Cup and the team were forced to wear black tee-shirts underneath. Puma then designed a one-piece kit for the next African Cup of Nations, leading FIFA to declare the onesie illegal and dock Cameroon six points from their qualifying campaign. The case went to court, but Puma lost and Cameroon were forced to revert back to their original two-piece kit. The lost six points were later reinstated, while Cameroon have been trophyless ever since.

7. The USSR - not always red

View gallery

.

The USSR kit in 1991 (Photo: Yannick Garin from www.oldfootballshirts.com)

The Soviet Union was never afraid to flaunt its link to red - the colour which most symbolises communism - but the national team's last kit before the break-up of the USSR was actually white. In 1991, Adidas manufactured a shirt with black cheques on one shoulder and chevrons on the other, with a red band across the chest the only nod to their traditional colour.

8. Jorge Campos - a true maverick

View gallery

.

Mexico goalkeeper Jorge Campos leaps over Norway's Jan Age Fjoertoft at the World Cup in 1994 (AFP)

If ever there was a player to fly in the face of tradition, it was Mexico goalkeeper Jorge Campos. During his career, he defied the norm in many ways - from his small stature and silky skills for a keeper to his eye for goal and deadly free-kicks - but it was his kits that made many people sit up and take notice. Campos, apparently inspired from his surfing days, designed his own outfits which, for one reason or another, the Mexican federation allowed him to wear whilst representing his country. His creations were garish at best and regularly feature in 'worst kits of all time' lists, but Campos was most certainly one of football's true entertainers.

9. German consistency

View gallery

.

German forward Rudi Voeller celebrates after against Scotland at the 1986 World Cup (AFP)

Despite a turbulent recent history, marked by a split in 1949 and reunification in 1990, Germany (and the former West Germany) has the roots of its football kits deeply entrenched in the past. Their black and white colours are a reference to 19th Century Prussia while the national symbol of a black eagle harks back even further - to the Holy Roman Empire of the 12th Century.

10. Cruyff dictates play in West Germany

View gallery

.

Dutch midfielder Johann Cruyff dribbles past Argentinian goalkeeper Daniel Carnevali at the 1974 World Cup (AF …

Johan Cruyff was a special player, so it was perhaps fitting the Dutch maestro should get to wear a special shirt. At the World Cup in 1974, Cruyff sported an Adidas-manufactured Holland shirt with just two stripes running down his shoulders, in contrast to his team-mates who all had three in the Adidas tradition. The reason? Cruyff had an exclusive deal with rival brand Puma, who supplied him with their classic Puma King boots, and he refused to wear the Adidas version. It was a real coup for Puma, the company founded by Rudolph Dassler, the older brother of Adidas supremo Adi, although such sponsor-related pranks are surely now a thing of the past.

View Comments (53)
Fantasy Premier League