My life has been hijacked by the 2010 World Cup–although not as much as I would like. I try to catch as many games as I can among trips, baby showers, hanging out with friends, and working at the bank. Anyone who knows me knows I cannot help but pay attention to the uniforms these gentlemen from around the world are sporting. The World Cup is a chance for sports apparel companies to show their stuff on the biggest sporting stage in the world while simultaneously trying to inspire nationalistic pride. As usual, there are lots of misses and some hits. So it is on the eve of the final that I give you the 10 best jerseys of the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
10. Cote d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast).
Most of the African sides chose to go with Puma for their uniforms, all of which feature a weird cut-out section on the right sleeve. This ill-conceived notion has kept many of the otherwise worthy African teams off of this list, but Cote d’Ivoire make it work better than anyone. I dig the orange and green, and the screened elephant on the right sleeve is a nice, subtle touch.
The boys from Portugal have an excellent pair of jerseys for this World Cup. Their white “home” jerseys with the vertical red and green stripes are quite good, but it’s this red one with the horizontal green stripe that catch my eye. It’s a nice look, though I’m sure all the ladies would prefer Cristiano Ronaldo to be wearing no shirt at all…
Considering how obsessed Mexico is with the beautiful game, I’m always surprised that they don’t do better in World Cup play. These lovely green jerseys are quite nice. This year Adidas’ unis feature a plain color patch that interrupts their traditional three stripes on the shoulder and sleeves on most of their designs; I’m not a huge fan of that, but I dig the red and white collar. Mexico’s crest is pretty cool as well. These green duds are far, far better than their ugly black counterparts.
7. The Netherlands.
The Oranje made it to the final v. Spain, and I can’t help but think some of the credit is owed to these smashing construction-cone orange jerseys. I love that Holland has a flag that features red, white, and blue but wears orange everywhere. I’m sure there’s a reason for this tradition that I’m not willing to research, but whatever it is I applaud it. The color makes these jerseys memorable, but don’t overlook the wicked awesome lion crest.
The red and white vertical striped uniforms from Paraguay represent what is wonderful about soccer uniforms: almost anything goes. Can you think of another major sport where a team could wear a jersey like Paraguay’s and look cool? Baseball? No. Football? Nope. Basketball maybe? Not yet, anyway. I dig the wide candy stripe outfits, Paraguay. The crest is pretty sweet as well. I also tip my cap to the full collar.
La Furia Roja managed to live up to their hype in this World Cup, which is never easy to do. I thought for sure they would fall to the Germans, but they held the ball forever and scored on a beautiful corner kick to make the final. I picked them before the tournament, so I’m backing them tomorrow. Making all this success sweeter are the uniforms the Spanish don whenever they walk onto the pitch. I love the navy unis, but these red ones are extra nice. Spain’s enormous insignia is majestic, and I love the sleeve stripes. Bien hecho, muchachos.
4. United States.
The US blue away jersey has become my white whale (fitting for the blog title, no?). I held this magnificent jersey in my own hands the week before the Cup started. The classy navy, the bold white stripe slanting from shoulder across the chest, the proud (but not all that great) US soccer crest on the chest. Oh, I wanted it. But it was $70 and, so I thought at the time, a frivolous purchase. I set it back on the rack and haven’t seen one since, though I have looked. Our white home unis were okay, but I love the design of blue ones. Sure, some Philistines call them “Miss America” jerseys, but what do they know? The fact that I can’t find one of these jerseys in stores or online speaks to their popularity.
Give it up for Deutschland and their soccer aesthetics. Along with Spain, Germany had one of the best home/away jersey combinations in the tournament. Their whites with the thin vertical stripe that crosses under the crest are classy indeed, but these black jerseys are inspired. The black makes them menacing (which makes sense considering how amazing Germany is), and the red trim is a bold touch. I’m also a big fan of the off-white jersey numbers. Add all that to the classic eagle crest, and you have one impressive uniform. I’d be happy to snatch up one of these beauties if I find it for cheap. By the way, Germany is going to be a force in 2014. Wow.
Australia had only two things going for it this World Cup: 1) their awesome nickname: The Socceroos; 2) their jerseys, especially this lovely yellow, white, and green one. Separating the shoulders from the chest with bold colors works well, and I also dig the white strip across the chest. The Aussies also have a kickin’ crest with a kangaroo and an emu; how cool is that? These jerseys are standouts even though the team wearing them wasn’t.
If there is one team who consistently delivers classy-looking jerseys at the World Cup, it’s Argentina. The Abicelestes always bring talent to the tournament and navy blue jerseys, but it’s these superb white and sky blue striped shirts that say “Argentina.” I occasionally wonder why other teams in other sports don’t adopt a thin vertical stripe design that Argentina works to perfection. It’s striking yet not overbearing and looks great on the field. I hope someone summons the courage to be bold and take a page from Argentinian soccer, but until someone does this design and color scheme will remain the signature of the Abicelestes and their proud history.
If you’re scoring at home (or even if you’re alone), that makes the final tally Puma 1, Nike 4, and Adidas 5. It has been a memorable World Cup both for striking sports attire and on-field action. My official pick for tomorrow is Spain 2, Netherlands 1. It should be an excellent final, and we’ll see who gets to have a star above their team crest the next time the World Cup rolls around.