Czech Republic World Cup 2006 Shirts
The Czech Republic separated from Czechoslovakia in the early 90s and their first international tournament was Euro 96, which was a critical moment in my soccer fandom. During this tournament I fell in love with Croatia, picked up a Spain shirt and followed the Three Lions all the way to their painful loss to Germany in the Semis.
Looking back over the last twenty years, I realized that the Czech Republic have produced some of my fondest football memories. Poborsky’s chip against Portugal as well as their dramatic appearance in the Euro 96 Final introduced me to this wonderful footballing country. Who could forget their epic comeback against Holland at Euro 2004 or their destruction of the United States in the opening game of the 2006 World Cup? Plus when Pirlo scored his penalty against England at Euro 2012, I was introduced to the panenka, which was created by a Czechoslovakian.
2006 was the only World Cup the Czech Republic have qualified for despite being perennial guests at the European Championships. Their 3-0 win over the Stars and Stripes provided a good foundation for advancing, but a 2-0 loss to Ghana in the following match put their tournament in jeopardy. The Czech Republic fell behind Italy in the first half and then had a man sent off. Their 2-0 defeat sent them packing but boy did they look good.
The Czech Republic kits are traditionally red at home and white on the road. The 2006 version was a complementary, well designed set. The home shirt was solid red with narrow royal blue cuffs while the home was white with royal blue cuffs. There were two key design elements to shirt. The first was a lion shadow printed across the chest, and second was a narrow band that ran across the back and stopped just under the clavicle. The lion is the central item of the national team badge and Puma added a subtle reminder on shirt. As for the trim on the back of the jersey, I really liked how it framed the name and number.
This simply designed shirt was paired with shorts and an interesting pair of socks. The red shirt was completed with blue shorts and white/blue socks and the away strip was a white shirt and socks with blue/white socks. Puma’s socks for this tournament had a contrasting color running up the shin which was flanked by a another color. Definitely different and to this day, I still don’t know if I like or hate it.
While I was writing this post, I came across the shirt on Classic Football Shirts. The home replica was on sale plus CFS was celebrating their ten year annivesary with a 20% off sale. I figured the fates had aligned so I broke one of my kit buying rules and picked one up. The shirt lived up to my expectations in terms of design and weighs almost nothing.
For me I was inspired by many players of the Czech Republic (Nedvěd, Rosický, Berger, Jankulovski and Poborsky) and feel privileged that I got to see them play. Now I own a shirt from this wonderful footballing nation and look forward to future generations.
Special thanks. . .