Posts Tagged ‘ Spain ’

Personal Kit Collection 2016

Inspired by a series of tweets late 2012, I took stock of my kit inventory and put together a post documenting my personal kit collection at the time. As you can see my collection was all over the place in terms of teams, manufacturer and style. Since then, I have had a couple of realizations (read: interventions) and talks with myself. Combine that with a big move and my collection is now under 30 jerseys. I have probably owned over 50 shirts through the years but things happen. My collection pales in comparison with others, especially JR Francis, as we discussed on one of his appearances on the SoccerNomad podcast, but I love collecting and talking about kits.

Manchester United

Home

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Away

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US National Team

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National Teams

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FC Barcelona

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Juventus

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Atlanta Silverbacks

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My current plan is to follow my self-created rules.

  • Since I’ve narrowed my focus to just following Manchester United at club level (and Atlanta United when they take the field in 2017), only buying a shirt every three years or ones that match my tastes. I’m currently back filling my Manchester United collection.
  • In terms of national team kits, only buying ones of the United States Men’s National Team. Why? Because I’m American, if only by an accident of birthplace. (Of course, thanks to Nike, this policy has been a real problem as they keep designing crap shirts.)
  • Only buying personalized jerseys (printed with JUNIOR 7) and not buying “hero jerseys”.
  • Only buying shirts on sale (promotional or otherwise) or wait until the release of the following set of kits.

Since I put these into effect a couple of years ago, I have done quite well, only breaking the rules once, and that was to get an authentic Holland Away jersey from Euro 2012. It was 50% off at Classic Football Shirts and I couldn’t pass it up. However I’m close to breaking several of the above rules for the new Croatia Euro 2016 away shirt.

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For all the posts on kits that I have owned, own currently or want to own, please visit the Strip Club page of the SoccerNomad blog.

Here are some good resources, especially if you’re looking for vintage or retro shirts:

Feel free to share your faves/collections or great sites for shirts in the comments below.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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(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.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

MatchDay Memory–Summer 2013 Part Two: International Competitions

As for televised games, Mid-Michigan United had great turnouts for the USMNT qualifiers against Jamaica, Panama and Honduras.  The Americans secured all nine points and are all but assured of a spot at World Cup 2014.  Jozy Altidore reclaimed his spot as the top forward and the defense held firm, only giving up one goal in 270 minutes.

Next up was the Confederations Cup, and my interaction with the competition was spotty at best.  Tried to check in on matches and watch highlights when I could.  The Final was the Spain versus Brazil game that the world had been anticipating for four years.  And it wasn’t even close.  Spain got thrashed.  Bayern, Chelsea, Italy and now Brazil have shown the way to defeating the Spanish/Barca system—an athletic team with fitness and organization.  Of course there were huge momentum swings—David Luiz saving Pedro’s goal in the first half, an early goal from Fred in the second half and Ramos’ missed penalty.  All those world class forwards and you let a center back take the kick?  By the way Ramos needs to go back to right back.  He’s not awesome in the middle and Arbeloa is lost and truly the weakest link.

Just before the European club season kicked off, the Gold Cup wrapped up.  I admit at the outset I was not interested at all.  The US sent a B team to a second rate competition in substandard region.  I got together with a couple of MMU guys and watched the last group game against Costa Rica.  Brek Shea scored his first international goal as the Stars and Stripes finished the group stage with maximum points.  The next game I took in was the semi-final against Honduras.  A solid performance took the Klinsmannschaft to the final against surprise package Panama, who dispatched a struggling Mexico.  I was only to catch the first half of Final, due to an over 30 game.  That was awful 45 minutes.  In the end the US won and now have at least half a chance of playing in the 2017 Confederations Cup.

The National Team got a lot out of the competition.  They were able develop the player pool, reintegrate Donovan into the team and get Jurgen a piece of silverware.  With the squad all but in the World Cup and with Mexico struggling, the US is back on top in the region.  Everything now should be developing a balanced team that can progress from the group and have a legitimate shot to do damage in the knockout.  Again it will be down to the draw.

Strip Club–Couch Dance Edition

Euro 96 was one of my earliest football watching memories. Football Comes Home, the song by the Lightning Seeds, matches at the old Wembley, all that. I probably should have bought an England jersey, but what are you going to do?

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Instead let’s talk about Spain.  The theme of the Euro 96 group stage for La Furia Roja was late goals as three of their four goals came in the last fifteen minutes, including the goal from Amor on 84’ against Romania that put them through to the quarters.

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In the knockout stage, the hosts of the tournament provided the opposition. It was the only game that I saw the Spanish team play at the tournament, and I don’t remember much other than it was scoreless and I had to leave with only minutes remaining in extra time. My family had to go to my dad’s work party, and, since I was living rent free with my parents, I had to go. This was pre internet, so I didn’t find out the result right away and had to wait until the England/Germany semi-final game to see some of the penalties. I’m still pissed about the whole circumstance. Not a great reflection on me but I really wanted to see that game. I was an England fan at the time and couldn’t believe that my parents couldn’t wait until the game was over. The lake and the food and the people were not going anywhere. I’ll eventually get over it.

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Researching the game, I was shocked to read that Hierro missed the opening penalty. As one of Spain’s all time leading scorers and captain for club and country, I figured he would have been a sure thing. Reviewing the squad I didn’t recognize many players. There was Zubi of course, Hierro, Kiko, a couple of Barcelona players—Sergi, Abelardo and Nadal—and of course Luis Enrique, one of my all time favorites. By the time Euro 2000 rolled around, this squad would be almost completely replaced.

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The Spain Euro 1996 Home Kit was one of the first jerseys I ever bought. At the time, I liked the template and the use of navy blue on the predominately red kit. Although the badge is unusually large, there are some nice touches such as the series of three stripes and Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) printed on the shirt. The Spanish flag on the sleeve was, as far as I can tell, new at the time, and the official garment tags are in Spanish. The white name and numbers really pop and allow for easy visibility. The banded collar, which was specific to an era in fashion, has faded over time, but the rest of the jersey has worn well. Combined with navy blue shorts and socks, the was a nice looking strip.

Spain Home and Away Kits Euro 1996

In retrospect I bought the wrong size so the jersey is quite large on me. It is relatively light but unfortunately it doesn’t breathe that well so on hot days it’s a tough go. I don’t wear it that much, hardly ever to play in, but break it out for Spain’s tournament runs. Call me sentimental or superstitious or lucky. All in all a piece of history in my collection.

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 TheScore.ie , 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.

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Spain

Italy

Croatia

Ireland

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.

Standings

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

MatchDay Memory–Technical Difficulty

Spain's goalkeeper Iker Casillas (C) raises the trophy handed to him by FIFA President Sepp Blatter (4thR) and South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma (3rdR) as Spain's national football team players celebrate winning the 2010 World Cup football final Netherlands vs. Spain on July 11, 2010 at Soccer City stadium in Soweto, suburban Johannesburg. NO PUSH TO MOBILE / MOBILE USE SOLELY WITHIN EDITORIAL ARTICLE - TOPSHOTS AFP PHOTO / GABRIEL BOUYS

Adjectives to describe the 2010 World Cup Finals would not include the following: exciting, goal filled, fair.  There was plenty of tension and even a few surprises but overall the tournament produced very few amazing moments.  A year on, the only things I can remember are Tshabalala’s opening goal against Mexico for South Africa, Switzerland stunning Spain in their opening match, the French team debacle, the unbalanced performance of the US (which included Donovan’s goal against Slovenia), Van Bronckhorst’s goal against Uruguay, and de Jong’s ridiculous kick on Alonso.

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But I said fair.  Yes. Ghana played their hearts out and were so close to representing their country and the continent in the semis.  Forget Suarez.  Gyan had a chance to win and missed. Mexico was handicapped by an Argentinean goal that looked to be well offside.  And how de Jong stayed on the pitch in the final beggars belief.  A straight red and immediate dismissal from the national team seemed pretty fair to me.  Then there was Lampard’s goal for England.  If it had counted instead of being IGNORED, the Three Lions may have gone on to keep Germany at bay and win instead of being ripped apart.  Maybe.  Then again maybe it goes to PK’s and we know how that would’ve ended.

Enough biased, uninformed commentary.  On the day of the final, the league I play brought the fixtures forward so that we could play in the early morning or lunch time and then go off to watch the Final live.  Good thinking.  Our team took care of business, took a shower and then reconvened at the bar to get ready for the game.

The Final itself was white knuckle stuff. Holland sacrificed a lot of their attacking verve to nullify the threat of the Spanish possession and attack.  Maybe if the Oranje had gone for it they would have been torn to pieces, but we’ll never know.  Instead Holland withdrew into a defensive shell and tried to hit Spain on the counter.  It almost paid off for them as La Furia Roja couldn’t score in a brothel, and Robben was released twice in the second half but couldn’t convert.

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An expected classic crawled toward penalty kicks, which would determine the World Champion yet again.  And then, then what?  The answer was Iniesta’s goal. . . but I missed it.  That’s right.  With just minutes to go before the final whistle, the screen froze and after staring at it in disbelief for a full minute, we finally got off our collective ass and tried to solve the problem.

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The game was on ABC and due to DirecTV, that feed was our only local option.  Immediately the smart phones and iPods came out only for a roar to come from the opposite corner of the bar.  Running over, we were informed that the vampire had won the World Cup for Spain.  Moments later the feed was back up and we saw the referee end the match.  I missed the goal that ended years of Spanish suffering because of technology, which has failed me time and time again.  I didn’t even stick around for the trophy celebrations and just went home.

Here’s a word for the tournament:  underwhelming.  The Final put dried out frosting on a concrete cake.  Part of me wanted to give up the beautiful game that night but, as always, I returned.  By the time August rolled around, I snuck away from my family responsibilities to see Iniesta score a fantastic goal in the league against Racing Santander.  And already I am looking forward to the 2012 European Championships, knowing full well that the Final could be interrupted either on site like the Germany/Turkey semi in 2008 or due to some other issue like weather, satellites or sunspots.  Regardless, I’ll be back in front of the tube, anxious to see if Spain can maintain their dominance.