Posts Tagged ‘ Ukraine ’

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.


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 D)

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.






France v England

A couple of years ago, Nike got a hold of the France kit and did a major overhaul, going with a darker blue for the home kit and using a creamy white for the away kit with some sort of black trim.  The original home kit was epic.  This version? Not so much.  There are subtle alternating horizontal strips of a bluish black hue but the collar sinks it.  The traditional royal blue sticking out and a design straight out of a J Crew catalog from the early 90’s.  As for the English, their away kit is confusing.  The black shirt could be an attempt to be menacing, like “we’re the Three Lions and we’re going to rip out your throat after over a hundred of years of disappointment”, but the light blue collar, possibly echoing the lions on the badge, gives it real clearance rack potential. A tedious draw.

Ukraine v Sweden

The co-hosts home kit is relatively simple and stays out of the way.  Looking at the rest of the group, this is probably the way to go. Sweden’s away kit is almost too simple and screams lack of imagination. The navy blue and the yellow sash, which I love in this case,  is a possible River Plate, US 1950 shout out, but felt they could have done more.  Edge to the hosts as they get off to a good start.

Sweden v England

The Swedes home kit doesn’t vary too much from ones before it, going with the yellow shirt and narrow blue pinstripes.  The collar doesn’t work for me but gets the three points over England’s away strip.

Ukraine v France

This will be an interesting kit choice for the counties and TV broadcasters.  Is it the yellow home strip of Ukraine against the white of France or the blue away Ukrainian strip against the white or the yellow against the deeper blue French kit?   My guess is that it will be third of these options and co-hosts will book themselves a spot in the knockout phase with a victory.

England v Ukraine

England’s new home kit is elegant.  White with a minimal red accent, red manufacturer logo and red crest.  So much better than the away version. Ukraine’s away kit is a mirror of the home, with a nice shade of royal blue getting the job done.  This is tough one, but as Rooney will be back, I’ll give the edge to the English.

Sweden v France

Again there are several possibilities of which kit each team will wear.  My guess is that both teams will run out in their traditional colors, which may mean that the white away kit of France may not make an appearance in the tournament.  Both collars distract me but the rest of the Sweden shirt gives them the edge.


Ukraine 2 0 1 6
Sweden 2 0 1 6
England  1 1 1 4
France 0 1 2 1