Edging both Honduras & USA in a tense final CONCACAF qualification round should have afforded the plucky Panama team a prestigious kit to match their prestigious feet. What they got in return was New Balance’s best attempt at a Pro Evolution unlicensed kit missing any kind of tribute to Panama’s heritage that other teams were rewarded by their respected kit sponsors. If your 5-a-side team is in need of some new kits, pick these up on discount after the finals. No one will know the difference.
When a golden generation comes along there needs to be a kit to match the hype. Belguim got there’s this year with a classy design courtesy of adidas, even Errea did their best to bring a unique offering to Iceland team. This wasn’t the case with England in 2006. A timeless squad headlined by one name talents, Beckham, Owen, Gerrard, Lampard, Ferdinand, Terry, Rooney, Crouch amongst a literary of others were besieged with Umbro’s first attempt on Photoshop. Placing a manipulated St.George’s cross to the arm, it was more spice boys than Spice Girls.
Messing with established designs such as jerseys and kits never ends well. Just look to adidas’s recent fiasco with sleeved Basketball jerseys for a reference. Puma decided to go the other way in 2002, providing Cameroon with sleeveless jerseys for their Africa Cup of Nations. More fakers than Lakers, FIFA soon clamped down on their bending of the rules and forced the national body to fix the fiasco. Their solution, stick black sleeves to the jerseys for the upcoming World Cup, and by stick, we mean the sleeves looked literally glued on to the vests to hit regulation. Not deterred by their run-in with FIFA, Cameroons next kit was introduced as a onesie. We look forward to their next showing at a World Cup purely for the kit.
The 90s were a wild time for football kits. More than half of our listings for worst kit in World Cup history have come from this period of technicolour nightmares, and 5 of them from 1994 at that. Starting our 94 bashing is the Spanish national team’s pitiful attempt at an ‘edgy’ design, and by edgy we mean the diamond cascade that found itself located to a singular side of each garment in the kit (right-hand side for the top, left for the shorts). The weird kind of polo, sorta shirt served as an influence for Spains 2018 offering. To put it bluntly, it shouldn’t have.
Ever wondered if BDSM and Football could work together? Look no further than Belgium’s pitiful attire in the 1982 world cup with their incorporation of Admiral branded suspenders into the design of the kit. Awful.
5-Republic of Ireland 1994
Our second 94 kit to appear on the list is from the ever-plucky Irish team. Unfortunately known for their famine in the 1800s, adidas decided to replicate this moment in time by starving the fans of a decent kit to represent the country at the World Cup. Consisting of 3 stripes that barely make it to the end of the kit, Ireland’s chances faded quicker than the stripes on their shirt thanks to the brilliance of Dennis Bergkamp and the dutch.
4-Mexico 1994 Home, Away & Goalie
To some, this year of Mexican football was a golden year, and that’s just the outrageous on-field stylings displayed by the Mexican team from home and away jersey, even managing to incorporate a Joeseph and his technicolour dream kit homage for the goalie. The traditional kit stylings were thrown out the window, thanks to their unusual all over embossing on the home jersey (don’t ask, we don’t have a clue) and their recreation of a bicep muscle being torn apart on the away kit.
Looking like someone stapled a bunch of George Washingtons to a white t-shirt, it’s the usually interesting kit designs of Nigeria on the chopping block, their effort in 1994 being a particularly interesting spectacle, more than their football at that. The kit was so garish that they had to borrow the block coloured green shorts from their change kit so that they didn’t look like they’d stepped on the field with their pyjamas on, which would have been fitting as their football was lethargic at best.
When it’s your first World Cup as a nation you have to make a spectacle of it. Jamaica, who’s one and only appearance in the finals came in 98, made a spectacle for all the wrong reasons. Their kit, incorporating an unusual statement C-shaped pattern that echoed the aesthetics of a headache or a QR code looked like a rejected Norwich kit from the 90s. Somehow the pattern managed to hypnotize the Japanese into giving them a win in the group stages.
Not saying anything more than a nation that has been at the forefront of fashion and design for the best part of a decade for denim stars and stripes were a great idea. For shame, ‘Murica.