Posts Tagged ‘ Euro 2004 ’

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.

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. 


Special thanks. . .

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

Spain Home 2004/06

spain 2004 team

Although not being Spanish, I had high hopes for La Roja heading into Euro 2004. I had always been a fan of Raul, Morientes and the now departed Hierro. The tournament was just over the border in Portugal and Spain had a decent squad, built with players from champions Valencia, Deportivo, and Real Madrid. Only three Barca players were in the team.


Spain got off to a great start with a win again Russia. La Roja then met surprise package Greece, who had stunned Portugal in the opening match. Morientes got the team off and running, but a second half equalizer from Angelos Charisteas meant there was still work to do against their Iberian neighbors. Another draw would see the Spaniards through with the hosts crashing out, but unfortunately for the Spanish, Nuno Gomes scored and there was no reply which meant that the La Seleccion fell at the first hurdle.


The team would regroup and qualify for the 2006 World Cup. Morientes fired in six goals in qualifying as the Spanish finished second behind Serbia and Montenegro. Slovakia was seen off 6-1 on aggregate in the playoffs and La Roja qualified for their eighth consecutive World Cup.


For this tournament, adidas introduced some interesting breathing areas around neck and underarms. The vents on the back shoulder were accented in yellow, which was a nice touch. Plus there were panels in the torso area that worked fine for me but maybe not so much for others in the higher weight classes. The three stripes came to a point rather than going all the way to the edge of the sleeve.

spanish coat of arms

The badge is embroidered on the shirt with no border and the word Espana above and looking at the crest led to further research. From Wikipedia:

The Spanish coat of arms symbolizes the country, the old kingdoms of Spain (Castile, Leon, Aragon, Navarre, Granada and the House of Bourbon), the Royal Crown, the Imperial Crown, the Constitutional monarchy, the Spanish national motto: Plus Ultra, and the Pillars of Hercules.


(image courtesy of Historical Kits)

Don’t wear this one nearly enough, but it’s a great, super lightweight shirt that rounds out a wonderful strip with the navy blue shorts and socks.

Strip Club–Mercy Dance Edition

Ukraine started qualifying for international competition as of the 1996 European Championships.  Success was hard to come by but a creditable third place finish in the group stage for the 2004 European Championships set the stage for a remarkable 2006 World Cup campaign.

Ukraine started qualification with a new coach, Dynamo Kiev hero Oleg Blokhin.  The club legend won eight League titles and two Cup Winners’ Cups and won the Ballon d’Or in 1975.  Playing internationally for the USSR, Blokhin appeared in two World Cups (1982 and 1986) and set the record for goals and caps.  Andy Dougan shed some light on the player in his book Dynamo: Triumph and Tragedy in Nazi-Occupied Kiev.

In that final in Basle (1975 UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup), Ferencvaros of Hungary were put to the sword in a 3-0 rout orchestrated on the field by the great Oleg Blokhin, possibly the finest player in the history of Ukrainian football.  Blokhin was a superb athlete who was also trusted to implement Lobanovsky’s tactical genius on the pitch.  

Drawn in a qualifying group with Albania, Denmark, Georgia, Greece, Kazakhstan and Turkey for the 2006 World Cup Finals, the Yellow Blues hit the ground running, earning eight points in their first four games.  Round 5 saw the Ukrainians travel to Turkey where they the demolished the hosts 3-0, giving the visitors a five point lead in the section.  They never relinquished this gap in winning the group comfortably, punching their World Cup ticket with three games remaining.

In reviewing the rosters between the Euro 2004 and World Cup 2006 qualifiers, the turnover was striking, especially in attack.  Gone were players I was familiar with like Rebrov and Voronin, and they were replaced by Gusev and Husin.  The front line was still lead by Sheva, by now a veteran, whose time at Milan was drawing to a close.

According to Wikipedia, the Ukrainian World Cup went something like this:

In their first World Cup, they were in the group H together with Spain, Tunisia and Saudi Arabia. After losing 0–4 in the first match to Spain (including this wonderful team goal from La Roja), Ukraine beat their other two opponents to reach the knock-out stage. In the round of 16, Ukraine played the winner of Group G Switzerland, who they beat on penalties. In the quarter-finals they were beaten 0–3 by eventual champions Italy.

Pld          W            D             L              GF          GA          GD          Pts

 Spain                    3              3              0              0              8              1              +7           9

Ukraine               3              2              0              1              5              4              +1           6

Tunisia                 3              0              1              2              3              6              −3           1

Saudi Arabia      3              0              1              2              2              7              −5           1



I will admit that this jersey is not an authentic, hell it’s not even a replica.  The shirt is a knock off, made of cheap material with no stitching or heat pressed logos or anything fancy.  It was a gift from a friend who went to the Ukraine on a mission trip and thought of me.

Shevchenko #7 is on the back.  What a player.  I remember seeing highlights from his time with Dynamo Kiev in the late 90’s and wondering, who is this guy?  Well I got to see him in full flight in the 1999 Champions League knockout stages as the Ukrainian club knocked out Real Madrid and came close to slaying giants Bayern Munich.  The first leg of that semi was one of the best games I’ve ever seen (and I still have it on tape).

Wrapping up on the jersey, it is what is.  Nothing spectacular and it doesn’t breathe particularly well due to the fabric but the shirt is a marker of my soccer past, and for that I am grateful.


The World is a Ball


The World is a Ball, John Doyle

John Doyle’s The World is a Ball recaps the journalist’s experiences during the World Cups of 2002, 2006, and 2010 and also the European Championships of 2004 and 2008.  His take on these events is a mixture of match reports, match day atmosphere and personal philosophy, and this point of view created a quite entertaining, informative and thought provoking look back at these tournaments.

Reading the author’s memories of the games made me want to search out the highlights of these matches and tournaments because he was adding an additional layer of context that went beyond the mere result.  While key points of the match were addressed, Doyle shared the build up to the game, the moment of tension, and the hours after, and sometimes elaborated on the impact that echoed days, months and even years after.

He also shared some very personal memories in and around the venues as he interacted with supporters of countries from all over the world.  Despite the possible conflict on the field, fans inevitably shared in the unifying aspects of the game.  Doyle also allowed readers access into the life of a journalist, from the grinding travel schedules to getting credentials to dealing with letting emotion seep into coverage.

This was a thoroughly enjoyable book about the game and, more importantly, the ambiance that is created around major tournaments.  His accounts in the stadiums, amongst the swirling madness on the ground, and en route to and from Canada were enjoyable and made me re-think how I write.

Strip Club–House Dancer Edition

At Euro 1996 I saw England destroy the Dutch 4-1 and dismissed them, but then I fell in love with Holland at the 1998 World Cup.  I enjoyed the way the Oranje played, with Davids and Cocu and Kluivert and Overmars and Bergkamp, who scored that fantastic goal against Argentina, and couldn’t wait for a final between Holland and France, but Brazil ruined that.  Two years on, I saw them sweep through the competition on home soil, including great games against France and the destruction of Yugoslavia before they fell to Italy on penalties.

AVEIRO, PORTUGAL - JUNE 19: Ruud Van Nistelrooy of Holland celebrates after scoring the second goal during the UEFA Euro 2004, Group D match between Holland and the Czech Rep at the Municiple de Aveiro Stadium on June 19, 2004 in Aveiro, Portugal. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Ruud Van Nistelrooy

Somehow they did not qualify for the 2002 World Cup so my next chance to really watch them was in Portugal at Euro 2004, pitted against Germany, the Czech Republic and Latvia.  One of the best matches of the entire tournament was Holland against the Czech Republic (start at 4:01 of video), which featured the little and large combo up top of Baros and Koller, with Rosicky pulling the strings behind, plus Smicer and Poborsky and Nedved in the midfield. Holland came out on fire and were up 2-0 in the first 20 minutes after a headed goal from Bouma and a manipulation of the offside rule by Ruud van Nistelrooy.  The Czechs were able to pull one back as Holland tried to kill off the game in the second half, but Davids hit the post and RvN was denied by Petr Cech.  The moments after were truly magical as Koller chested down a cross for Baros to volley home and then minutes later, Smicer tapped in from close range after Van der Sar could only parry a shot and Poborsky unselfishly squared for his teammate.


In the other group games, Van Nistelrooy scored an amazing header against Germany to share the points, and then Holland crushed Latvia in the final group game to earn a place in the knockout round.  I don’t really remember much from the quarterfinal with Sweden that ended with Holland prevailing on penalties.  The Dutch again went down in the semis as an absolutely stunning goal from Maniche put the Portuguese 2-0 up and into the Final on home soil.



(images courtesy of Historical Kits)

These jerseys were another eBay special, getting both the home and away for a ridiculous price.  Again they are not 100% authentic, based on my research, but are pretty close.  Nike has done a good job with the Dutch kit over the years, and I love this template from Nike, which is one of their best efforts.  With the breastplate template and number centered and circled, the jerseys are class. Also the material is very light and breathes pretty well.  Unfortunately I ordered the wrong size so on a windy day I’m blown all over the field as the shirt acts as a wind sock but that’s my only complaint.

As I got ready to move to Atlanta, I went through my kit collection. While I loved these shirts and they had served me well through the years, I gave them to fellow soccer lover and groundhopper and podcast guest, Alex Baker. Hup Holland!!