Posts Tagged ‘ Euro 2000 ’

Czech Republic World Cup 2006 Shirts

team

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.

1996

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.

rosicky

nedved

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.

czech-republic-home

czech-republic-white

 

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.

back of shirt

back of shirt 2

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. 

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Special thanks. . .

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Read the rest of my Strip Club posts here and follow me on twitter @austinlong1974.

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Football Without Frontiers

Euro 2000 was one of the highlights of my soccer supporter experience, hitting heights of excitement and engagement, not matched until recently with the 2014 World Cup, while producing moments of style and quality over several weeks.

france

Part 1

Part 2

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Check out more posts on my trips, research and memories on the MatchDay Memories page.

MatchDay Memory–Football Without Frontiers (Part 2)

Euro 2000 was one of the highlights of my soccer supporter experience, hitting heights of excitement and engagement, not matched until recently with the 2014 World Cup, while producing moments of style and quality over several weeks.

france

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There was no place for Milosevic, Nuno Gomes or players from some of the second tier soccer nations like Turkey and Romania in the UEFA Team of the Tournament. As with most “best teams”, the balance is off, with only Figo providing any width, because Overmars or Zenden were not included.

UEFA_Team_of_the_Tournament_2000_best_line-up

The tournament produced some really wonderful goals, with Trezeguet’s winner in the Final, Scholl’s effort against Romania and the goals from the England/Portugal match living long in the memory.

trezeguet

From a fashion perspective, team kits were dominated by adidas, who made kits for half the teams.  Their templates were straight forward, focusing on rib panels that gave contrast to the kits, and very classy with simple collars. They produced one of the great French kits of all time while not making any glaring errors with the others.  Nike was slowly building their soccer portfolio and had three teams at Euro 2000.  Simple almost to a fault, they chose solid colors with either a V neck or ring collar.  Puma was around as well, producing the shirts for the Czech Republic, while Umbro furnished kits for Norway and England.

Denmark played in the tournament wearing Hummel while Italy wore strips made by Kappa.  Their shirts were notable for the tight fit and longer sleeves, very unique at the time.  Solid white or blue, Kappa logo and Italian shield. Modest but wonderful to look at. Hard to think of a better looking kit.  Of course if you looked like Cannavaro or Totti or Del Piero, the look would not be hard to pull off. Seen on the normal fan not so much. This sleeker look eventually took over soccer shirt style and replaced the baggy, wind sock versions of the 90’s.  The pendulum has swung the other way now with shirts appearing to almost be painted on (I’m looking at you Puma).

italy-2000-home

As for what the players were wearing on their feet, shoe companies, particularly Nike and adidas, continued to innovate.  Nike pushed on with their Mercurial line, which was launched in 1998 on the feet of Ronaldo.  Euro 2000 saw a very light shoe with leather funneling towards a central spot in the toe area.

nik-117354-mmc

Adidas developed the Predator series and released the Precision for this competition. The Sneaker Report noted:

Replaceable Traxion studs were added so players could adjust their boots to certain pitch conditions. The fold over tongue now included Velcro to ensure increased stability. The fins, which originally protruded vertically from Craig Johnston’s prototype, were now sectioned off into pinpointed groupings of thin lines. A cool design element of the three stripes thinning out towards the back of the heel was also incorporated.

predator traxion

Finally, I have often wondered if this was the greatest tournament ever.  Maybe because it was the first tournament I really watched from start to finish.  Maybe because it was that I knew so much about the players and many of them were close to my heart.  Maybe because of the stunning goals during the competition.

Miguel Delaney wrote a wonderful piece ahead of Euro 2012 making the argument that the 2000 edition had everything and might have been the greatest international tournament ever.  Laying out a premise that went just beyond the high goals per game average, he touched on the drama, the unpredictability and the tactics.

Following on about tactics, Jonathan Wilson explored the innovations of the tournament in Inverting the Pyramid.  One of these evolutions was the lone striker becoming more of the norm, with this player joined by attacking players supported by strong, hard tackling midfielders.  France moved on from the Christmas Tree of the World Cup to a defensive solid yet attacking 4-2-3-1 with Viera providing the dynamism used to get additional attackers on the field.

300px-FRA-ITA_2000-07-02.svg

In the end I thoroughly enjoyed the competition.  Like my time commitment to the 2014 World Cup, due to a sabbatical from work, I was able to dedicate time to watch nearly every match, so I had a sense of overarching story lines and tactical nuances and team dynamics. Not every tournament hits the high notes but when they do, nothing is better.

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Check out more posts on my trips, research and memories on the MatchDay Memories page.

MatchDay Memory–Football Without Frontiers (Part 1)

Euro 2000 was one of the highlights of my soccer supporter experience, hitting heights of excitement and engagement, not matched until recently with the 2014 World Cup, while producing moments of style and quality over several weeks.

france

I have not always been a soccer guy.  Although I have been playing the game since I was eight, I knew more about the intricacies of the Big Three American sports (American football, baseball and basketball) than the beautiful game.

However, during a window in the late 90’s to early 2000’s, I turned from casual fan into full-on Soccer Nerd, as I was reading (shameless plug for Recommended Reading page), watching, coaching, buying kits (shameless plug for Strip Club page) and playing to a level that raised the game to an obsession (an unhealthy one my wife might add) in my life.

In those days, the tournament was only accessible via Pay Per View.  Remember those days?  No ESPN or Fox Sports1 or beIN Sports or Gol TV.  Hell this was still the days of Fox Sports World.  Anyway, the PPV package for Euro 2000 was something like $150, so I gathered some investors, hit PURCHASE and off we went.

I watched almost every game live.  With kickoffs at 12pm and 2:45pm Eastern Time, I could fit them in before heading off to the Pizza Slut.  And on top of that I taped them. As part of paying a portion of the PPV costs, people could borrow the tapes to stay up with the tournament.

VCR-1200

Remember VCR’s??  For a while crates of video cassettes followed me around until I realized that I was never going to watch them and most everything was on the internet anyway.  Speaking of the internet the internet was coming to the fore at that time, so I scoured the web every morning for news and updates to get greater context on the competition.

zinedinezidane

What I remember about this tournament was Zidane, the Dutch and the dramatic Spain versus Yugoslavia game.  Two years on from winning the World Cup, the French were even better.  Gone was Guivarc’h up top with Lemarre able to choose from Henry, Anelka and Trezeguet, plus Wiltord and Pires were added to the attack. But the indisputable star was Zidane.  If you watch any extended highlights of this tournament, you will inevitably see Zidane in amazing form and his performances are some of the finest examples ever of touch, vision and footwork.

holland

Their expected opponents in the Final were the Dutch, one of the co-hosts of the tournament.  Building on a strong performance in the 1998 World Cup, the Netherlands marched through the group and then absolutely annihilated Yugoslavia in the Quarter Finals 6-1.  Overmars, Zenden, Bergkamp and Kluivert attacking with Davids and Cocu cleaning up in front of strong defense.  Everything was going so well until the Semi Final against Italy.  The Dutch missed five penalties (two in regulation and three during the shootout) to be eliminated by the Azzurri, which meant that wonderful cycle of players never won anything at international level.

Special mention to Yugoslavia who produced the most drama and excitement and insanity of the tournament.  They were down 3-0 and down a man in their opening game to Slovenia. They drew 3-3.  The Yugoslavs looked to be winning the group and somehow threw it away.  If the ending of the 1999 Champions League Final was the greatest ending in soccer (dare I say sports) history, then the final minutes of Spain and Yugoslavia was a close second.

spain

Spain, needing a win to progress, fell behind three times to the Yugoslavs.  La Roja were down 3-2 in injury time and then a damn near miracle happened.  Spain converted a penalty and with seconds remaining in the match, the ball was launched into the penalty area.  No tiki taki here.  The loose ball fell to Pedro Munitis who drilled his shot into the ground and up and over the keeper to win the match and the group. Absolute pandemonium ensued as Yugoslavia thought they were out while Norway had their celebrations cut short.

In the Quarters the Netherlands tore them apart.  Yet this was a squad with Mihajlović, Stojković, Jugović, Mijatović and tournament top scorer Savo Milošević. Couldn’t take your eyes off them for second.

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Check out more posts on my trips, research and memories on the MatchDay Memories page.

Top Ten Posts of 2014

top 10

2014 was a great year for the SoccerNomad blog.  Visitors from all over the world read about kits, memories and more.  Here are the ten most read posts from 2014. Thanks to everyone for visiting, sharing and commenting on the blog and it’s on to 2015.

10   1988/89 English First Division

9     Trip to FC Dallas Game

8     From my Year in Soccer 1974 Series, Johan Cruyff’s impact at FC Barcelona

7     Memorial Day Weekend in Detroit

6     Lansing Kit Nerd (September 2014)

5     World Cup 2014 Kit Preview Part 1

4     Germany Euro 2000 Away shirt

3     2014/15 Kit Preview

2     World Cup 2014 Kit Preview Part 2

1     Going Hollywood (Soccer Player Look-a-likes)

Thanks to everyone for visiting, sharing and commenting on the blog and it’s on to 2015.  Follow me on twitter @austinlong1974 and don’t forget to visit my podcast or subscribe via iTunes.

Strip Club–Tip Out Edition

As I’ve written before, Euro 2000 was one of my favorite and most memorable soccer tournaments ever.  During a window in the late 90’s to early 2000’s, I turned from casual fan into full-on Soccer Nerd.  During those years I was reading, watching, coaching and playing to a level that raised the game to an obsession (an unhealthy one my wife might add) in my life.

One of the disappointments of that tournament was Germany.  The defending European champions had crashed out against Croatia at the 1998 World Cup and began defense of their title with a strong Bayern Munich contingent, a sprinkling of German contributions in the English Premier League and some domestically based stars.

The Germans were drawn in a group with Romania, England and Portugal.  In the opener, Mehmet Scholl pegged back the Romanians with a goal to secure a point (his goal is early in the video).  Next up was England, and Alan Shearer doomed Die Mannschaft to an early exit with a headed goal, marking the first time that England had won a competitive match against Germany since the 1966 World Cup final.

Portugal added insult to injury with a 3-0 demolition via a hat trick from Sérgio Conceição.  The winger nodded in Pauleta’s shot cum cross at the back post before getting laid out by Kahn to open the scoring.  Conceição then danced around Hamann and hit a shot right at the German keeper, which somehow he didn’t save.  Later in the second half, Conceição was released down the right hand channel and thumped his shot home to the far post.

The poor performance of the Germans started a rebuilding process that is paying dividends to this day.  Two years later Germany were in the World Cup Final.  They made the World Cup Semi-Finals in 2006 on home soil and were Runners-Up at Euro 2008.  Another Semi-Final appearance at World Cup 2010 was followed up by Semi-Final defeat by Italy at Euro 2012.  The team is poised for great things at the 2014 World Cup with players hitting their prime and Bayern Munich finding domestic and European success.

As for the jersey itself, I got it in unique circumstances.  The BIGGBY franchisee I worked for had three daughters.  The oldest daughter’s husband was in town on break from military service and was looking for a soccer game.  I hooked him up at a local facility and afterwards he said he had a jersey that he didn’t really wear or want.  So I took the bait.  Turns out it was the Germany away shirt from Euro 2000, which was seen in the game against England.

In my research, I found this information from Picking up the Threads about the color green being used:

The German away kit is traditionally green and white; there is a widespread urban myth that this was a mark of respect that Ireland retained neutrality in WWII, or they played their first post-war friendly against them; however neither of these stories are true (it was in fact Switzerland who West Germany first played a post-war friendly against in 1950).  The colours of the away kit actually reflect the colours found on the flag of the second biggest kingdom of ancient Germany; Hannover and Saxony.

The shirt is a little big and can get a touch heavy during hot conditions, but I love the look.  Adidas incorporated the German flag into the collar, bands on the sleeves and the three stars representing each World Cup victory.  One of the coed teams I played on recently used green as their team color, so I made sure to wear it every once in a while.  I enjoy watching this current German team, so break out the jersey occasionally during International weekends.  For the 2013 Champions League Final, I wore it to the Watch Party as I didn’t support either Bayern Munich or Borussia Dortmund.  It’s a nice collector’s item but not a heavy part of the rotation.

Strip Club—Feature Dancer Edition

France 98 was the first World Cup that I watched extensively, even more than USA 94, which was in my home country. that summer I was living with my parents, had no job, and basically woke up and watched double and triple headers during the Group Stage. It was heaven.  I particularly followed France because a) they were the hosts and got tons of coverage; b) the US was having a nightmare (thanks Steve Sampson); and c) Juventus had several stars on the team, which gave me a natural connection.

zinedinezidane

Deschamps and Zidane were part of a fantastic cycle of Bianconeri teams which went to the Champions League Final three years in a row and reached the semis the year after before being rebuilt in 2001. Zidane was in imperious form at the time, dazzling for both club and country. Deschamps controlled the midfield, generating service for Guivarch, Henry and Trezeguet, and protecting a back line that was already quite strong. The Final was spectacular for the hosts, with Zidane famously knocking in two headers and Petit adding a third.

trezeguet

Two years on, the World Cup winners travelled to Euro 2000 in Holland and Belguim. I bought the entire tournament on PPV (those were the days) and watched nearly every game live. What a tournament. Spain’s comeback against Yugoslavia; England collapsing against Portugal; impressive performances from Slovenia; Holland’s demolition of Yugoslavia in the quarters; a fantastic game between France and Spain with goals of great quality and a tragic PK miss from Raul; and a gripping final, in which Italy had one hand on the trophy but couldn’t finish the job. A goal from Wiltord forced extra time, during which Trezeguet scored a Golden Goal to win.

france-2000

(image courtesy of Historical Kits)

On the fashion front, French jerseys have been hit and miss over the years. The mid-90’s kits were cool, if a bit shiny, and I hated the 1998 jersey, but immediately bought the Euro 2000 home kit, which has become one of my favorites. I love this jersey because it is simple and clean in design. The royal blue is a perfect shade and has an understated red stripe across the chest.  The above image shows the traditional tricolor layout, and I would prefer blue shorts and white socks to complete the strip but the red socks aren’t too bad. While the jersey is a little heavy (you sweat like a dog if it’s 70+ degrees but Under Armor takes care of that), the best part is that you pop the collar, channel your inner Zidane, and you are good to go.

The jerseys of the first decade of the 21st century have had some winners and losers, with the highlights being Euro 2004 (a hazy version of 2000) and World Cup 2006 (a pretty sweet adidas template). The kit for the 2010 World Cup wasn’t too bad but was worn by a disaster of a team. Here is a sampling of jerseys from 1980 to 2010.

While France have been disappointing since Zidane led them to the World Cup 2006 Final, I’m hoping this latest generation can recapture the spirit of the 1998/2000 team. Blanc has led the team to the European Championships, drawn in a group with Ukraine, Sweden and England, and now they must find the right mix of players and the right mentality to make the knockout stages. Allez les Bleus.

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