Posts Tagged ‘ Croatia ’

Strip Club–World Cup 2014 Kit Preview (Part 2)

In preparation for the 2014 World Cup I have been working on several projects, one of which is reviewing all of the kits from each country for the tournament.  For Euro 2012, I did an extensive series of posts, running a virtual kit tournament.  Alas time and scope do not allow me to do this sort of thing for the World Cup, so instead I went through all of the shirts and narrowed it down to the my top 20.  There are some excellent resources for this:

From there I ranked them and put together a couple of posts.  Hope you enjoy and comments are welcome.

#10  Belgium  Home       

I love the red color of the jersey with the image of the crown from the crest in the torso.  I am not familiar with the manufacturer Burrda but the company did well with all three kits.  All three use the flag colors in the ring collar and the horizontal accent is muted and adds a nice touch.

#9  Brazil  Home

Brazil 2014 World Cup Home Kit (6)               

Brazil has such an iconic yet simple jersey and it’s hard to screw up, but Nike and Umbro have both done so in the past.  The understated trim on the sleeves (as opposed to the #StoptheSleeve versions of recent years) and the new collar design really put this towards the top.

#8  Iran  Away   

I didn’t even know that uhlsport still existed but the company created a dynamic jersey for Iran’s appearance at the 2014 World Cup.  The sublimated cheetah on the away kit is pretty cool and although this could be seen as a Portugal rip off, I think is distinctive enough to stand on its own.  In my research, I came across this on wikipedia:

On 1 February 2014, Iran announced the addition of the endangered Asiatic cheetah on their 2014 FIFA World Cup kits in order to bring attention to its conservation efforts.

#7  Japan  Home

Japan 2014 World Cup Home Kit (1)

Adidas got this spot on for the Blue Samurai.  The blue is very rich and is trimmed with a peach color which you don’t see very often.  The lines that radiate out from the national badge are not only an appealing accent but, according to Football Fashion, serve a purpose:

According to adidas: . . . the uniform is an expression of the strong determination as the players and the supporters realise that now is the time to unite as one and go into a huddle (“ENJIN”) to get ready for the battle ahead, to go all in for the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™ and capture victory.  On the left side of the chest, there are 11 lines spreading out from the emblem, expressing the way those players depart from the “ENJIN” to their respective positions on the pitch for the battle.

#6  Cote d’Ivoire  Home

Ivory Coast 2014 World Cup Home Kit 2

Simply love this jersey.  Love the orange, and the shirt has such a great looking crest.  The African accents on the shoulders and armpits are unique and dynamic, creating a striking jersey for the team.  Here’s hoping that Didier Drogba and company get out of the group stage this time around.

#5  Holland  Home 


Another orange jersey and another classic.  As with Brazil, the Dutch kit is very identifiable and Nike has kept things very simple here.  In the end, a slightly redesigned crest really pushes this shirt up the list.

#4  Ghana  Home 

Ghana 2014 World Cup Home Kit 2

Love the contrast of the white shirt with the accents on the cuffs and shoulders.  Sometimes the simplest shirts are the best.

#3  England  Away   

England 2014 World Cup Home Kit (1)

Nike got this absolutely right for England.  The pinstriped red shirt with a ring collar cleverly hides a St. Cross design, and the crest pops against the red background.  Combined with the white shorts and red socks, this is one of best strips at the World Cup.

#2  Croatia  Away

Croatia 2014 Nike World Cup Away Jersey Image

I’m a big fan of Croatian kits, and this jersey uses the standard royal blue of their away kit and accents it with the red and white checks across the shoulders.  Speaking of the red and white checks, I found an interesting post on Wikipedia about the Croatian Coat of Arms, which gives insight into the colors used in the jersey.  It also appears that there is a two tone blue in the Football Federation crest but I haven’t been able to find anything that confirms that.

#1  Portugal  Away     

Nike Portugal 2014 World Cup Away Kit (1)

Wow.  When I first saw this shirt, I was reminded of previous Portuguese away kits.  Turns out that the 1998. 2000 and 2002 away kits were white with navy blue trim and accents, although for the life of me I couldn’t remember them ever wearing those at a competitive event.  This jersey has so much going for it: a white base with minimal blue trim around the collar and sleeves; a collar that combines modern design with the Nike button phase; and a crest that pops while referencing history (Portuguese Football Federation’s centenary).  Combined with the blue shirts and white socks, I hope Portugal wears this every game instead of their historic maroon kit.  This has definitely gone on the wish list and hope to pick it up in the coming months.

Lansing Kit Nerd

Mid-Michigan United has planted the flag for Kit Nerd.  Not a mind blowing turnout but you have to start somewhere.  The MSU basketball game cut into our numbers, plus the major games—UEFA World Cup Qualifiers and other friendlies, including the drab 0-0 draw between the United States and Scotland—were earlier in the day.

The Black Rose has become the gathering place for MMU Watch Parties so we headed there for the 1st ever Lansing Kit Nerd Gathering.  We put Argentina v Ecuador in the background and settled in.



Hertha Berlin Home




Croatia Home



Erin (my lovely wife)

Chicago Fire Training Top



Donnie came over from Detroit and joined us for a beverage.  Unfortunately he didn’t have a jersey with him.

Thanks to Michael Orr and everyone on the Kit Nerd facebook page for their support.

Strip Club–Pole Work Edition

I admit I was strangely gutted when Croatia lost to Germany in the quarterfinals of Euro 96 despite knowing almost nothing about them, but when I first saw the Croatia jersey, I was instantly intrigued, because they looked like the Big Boy outfit down the street. So I started following the team and through them found a basketball hero in Toni Kukoc. For this post I racked my brain and checked out the interwebs for more info, including the Croatian National Team Wikipedia entry.

On September 4th, 1994, Croatia kicked off against Estonia and started an amazing four year run in international football. The Blazers qualified for Euro 96 by winning their group, only losing one match and managing a draw and victory against 1994 World Cup Runners-Up Italy. At the Finals, they finished second in their section to Portugal (watch Suker’s goal against Denmark starts at 3:30) and qualified for the knockout stage, where they lost to Germany despite a sick goal by Suker.

Two years on, they took the world by storm as they made it all the way to the semi-finals of the World Cup, which included a 3-0 demolition of Germany, before they fell to two unlikely goals from Lillian Thuram of the host country France. They responded by defeating Holland in the third place game to complete a journey from non-existence to the heights of international competition, with Suker winning the Golden Boot for the tournament (all goals here). However, things didn’t go as well for the next decade as Suker, Boban, Prosinečki and Bilic retired, and the next generation couldn’t match their achievements.

The summer after Euro 96, I was at my local soccer shop and came across the Croatian jersey. I couldn’t believe it. I immediately took the shirt up to the counter and swiped my credit card. The jersey is one of the few I have that is made by Lotto, but it is lightweight and great to play in.

Of course I get mocked due to the large checked pattern (either something about Big Boy or wearing a picnic blanket) but that’s because people don’t get it.

Croatia continue to produce quality players (Modric, Rakitić, and Srna, with Kovačić as a possible up and comer) and I enjoy watching them. I pull for them in any tournament to do well, due to their ability and killer uniforms, so here’s hoping that they qualify for World Cup 2014 and beyond.


Special thanks for Kire Football Kits for the graphic reproduction of the kits.

Strip Club–Personal Kit Collection

Ever since I started following the Beautiful Game, I have loved kits. Different than American jerseys, they seemed so exotic with different designs and shirt sponsors. I started buying ones I could find in the mid-90s and haven’t stopped. However, I have had to create some rules now that I am a family man. Of course, they say rules are meant to be broken, but a couple of years ago, as a means of managing my kit habit, I made the following self-imposed guidelines:

  • I would only buy a club or international kit every three years.
  • I would only buy international kits of the United States Men’s National Team.  Why?  Because I’m American, if only by an accident of birthplace.
  • I would not buy “hero jerseys”.  If they were personalized, then it would be with me—JUNIOR 7.
  • I would not buy kits at full price.  Instead I would buy them on sale (promotional or otherwise) or wait until the release of the following set of kits.

With that mind, inspired by twitter, I took pictures of my kits.  I believe they are in chronological order by category.  Feel free to share your comments.

Manchester United

manchester united

FC Barcelona

fc barcelona

Juventus FC


National Teams

national teams





Please visit my Strip Club page as I review each of the kits plus jerseys I would love to own.  Please feel free to share your comments about the kits I have reviewed or your favorites.  Also, you can follow me on twitter @AustinLong1974.



Strip Club–Euro 2012 Kit Tournament (Knockout Stages)

In an ambitious effort to get involved with the upcoming Euros, I followed the draw, game by game, to determine which kit would win Euro 2012 based on my tastes.  These posts are an extension of my Strip Club posts and the epic Kit Tournament done by Avoiding the Drop for the 2010 World Cup.

Special thanks to Mao Football, whose post got this all kicked off for me.  Also to , who put together a slide show of each jersey.  Finally, 7football created a graphic representation of each strip complete with shirt, shorts and socks.  Truly phenomenal stuff.

I’ve made it to the knockout stages and here are my picks.



Poland v Denmark

On another day, Denmark might have rekindled memories of 20 years ago when they won the 1992 Euros in stunning fashion, but their red kit gave them no chance of advancing in this matchup.  The hosts playing in white easily win this game as there will not be another Danish miracle.

Portugal v Czech Republic

This is one of the toughest match-ups of the tournament.  The maroon home kit of Portugal against the white kit of the Czech Republic.  In a highly entertaining, back and forth match, penalties will decide the winner.  Maybe I have a bias against the Portuguese or maybe the memory of Cristiano missing another penalty is still fresh in my mind but I am going with the clean, classy strip of the Czech Republic.

Croatia v Sweden

Easy pick here, with the checkered home kit of Croatia getting the job done against the navy blue kit of the Swedes.  How they even got this far, I’ll never know.

Ukraine v Ireland

I imagine Ukraine will run out in yellow against the Irish in green.  Since I’m not a big fan of the Irish home kit and the hosts will have full support, the Ukrainians will be in the semis of a major competition.


Poland v Croatia

Poland’s home kit has gotten them pretty far on home soil and they meet a kit that is unique in form and design.  Now that we are down to the final stages, it is very hard to make a choice.  I am trying to temper my love of Croatia and look at things clearly. Poland is at home, which is a factor, but it’s not enough to take down the blue kit of the Croatians.

Czech Republic v Ukraine

Assuming the Czechs were their all red kit, which strip does Ukraine wear?  All blue, all yellow?  My guess is that the blue kit of the Ukraine will make another appearance. Again, two nice kits which are hard to separate.  And again a host country is eliminated at the final hurdle.


Croatia v Czech Republic

In this final, Croatia should wear their traditional checkered pattern, but since it is red and white and the Czech kits are red or white, I see Croatia wearing their blue strip and the Czech Republic wearing the all white, which will provide a nice contrast.  At this stage, there are no losers.  In a tightly contest affair, I’m going with the all white strip of the Czech Republic.

So there you go.  Hope you enjoyed reading about and viewing these kits as I did putting it together.  I hope to have a proper preview up before the tournament starts.  And by proper I mean short, uninformed and not very clear.  Can’t wait for this competition to kick off.

Strip Club–Euro 2012 Kit Tournament (Group C)

In an ambitious effort to get involved with the upcoming Euros, I followed the draw, game by game, to determine which kit would win Euro 2012 based on my tastes.  These posts are an extension of my Strip Club posts and the epic Kit Tournament done by Avoiding the Drop for the 2010 World Cup.

Special thanks to Mao Football, whose post got this all kicked off for me.  Also to , who put together a slide show of each jersey.  Finally, 7football created a graphic representation of each strip complete with shirt, shorts and socks.  Truly phenomenal stuff.

Here we go.






Spain v Italy

Tough opening game because after years in the kit design wilderness, Puma finally got an Italian one right.  The white away kit with the blue band across the chest is close to perfection, plus there is no weird collar or accent or anything that distracts from the strip as a whole. Spain’s home kit stays the course, red with yellow piping, navy blue shorts, and red socks.  My only concern for La Furia Roja is the tightness factor that Liverpool had to deal with this last season.  All three points to the Azzurri in a close encounter.

Ireland v Croatia

On the field, hard to see either of these teams progressing but both could be spoilers.  In a fashion sense however, one of these teams has a strong case to go far.  And it’s not Ireland.  Umbro got the home kit wrong, with alternating vertical strips of different greens and a very polo shirt-esque collar.  Not impressive.  The Croatians typically go with some sort of blue kit for away days, and this version is no different.  What changes is Nike’s design, sort of doing a reversible peek a boo, using a solid blue kit peeled back to revel the red and white checkered home kit.  No question, the Croatians take the points.

Italy v Croatia

Assuming the Italians wear the traditional blue, that means the Croatians will go with the checkered home strip.  As stated before, the Italian away kit is simple and stylish, but the home kit is a disaster with a very obtrusive design interwoven in the kit and a horrible collar that seems like a rolled over V neck.  Ugh. Croatia are all but in the knockout stage with an easy victory.

Spain v Ireland

Spain’s home kit should theoretically go far, but it’s in a tough group, and their tournament is over early.  Ireland’s away strip makes up for the hideous home version, with a white shirt accented by slimmer version of alternating strips of the home kit going from shoulder to the bottom of the shirt.  It’s not enough to get them three points but earns a share of the spoils.

Croatia v Spain

Spain are out.  Their away kit is one of the worst of the entire tournament, a shade of baby blue that makes you wonder if City’s Sheikh had some sort of influence.  Add to this a diagonal strip that looks just looks terrible. Croatia’s home kit is iconic and awesome.  Yes it looks like a much slimmer Big Boy mascot is running around, but I love it. Croatia go through as group winners with maximum points.

Italy v Ireland

The ugly blue home kit of the Azzurri against the tolerable white/green kit of the Irish.  Trapattoni knocks out his home country only due to fashion sense and not due to actions on the pitch.  He may not be able to return to Italy, but he lives to fight another day with his Irish team.


Croatia  3 0 0 9
Ireland 1 1 1 4
Italy 1 0 2 3
Spain 0 1 2 1