Posts Tagged ‘ World Cup 2006 ’

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.

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–Takeout Edition

Years after World Cup 2006, very few memories remain: Lahm’s fantastic opening goal of the tournament; Cristiano’s wink after Rooney got sent off, and Zidane’s headbutt in the Final come to mind.  However one team stands out—Argentina.  Looking back at the roster from the competition, there was a nice balance of veterans—tough defender Roberto Ayala in the back, captain Juan Pablo Sorín running up and down the wings and Juan Román Riquelme providing the bullets for Crespo—and youth—Mascherano and Cambiasso shielding, Maxi Rodríguez providing width and the threat of Tevez, Saviola, and Messi (barely) up top.  Plus additional fringe players: Cruz, Milito, Nicolás Burdisso and Lucho González.

Argentina won the group stage, which included the 20+ pass sequence (this link includes a nifty diagram of the passing and movements) that finished with Cambiasso scoring in the Albicelestes 6-0 thrashing of Serbia and Montenegro.  In the round of 16, a tense game against Mexico entered extra time and was decided by Maxi Rodgriguez’s wondrous volley.

Unfortunately for José Pekerman’s troops, their tournament ended in the next round with the quite incomprehensible collapse against Germany, a strange match in which starting goalkeeper Abbondanzieri was injured in the second half and was replaced by Leo Franco.  This meant the lack of a third outfield sub prevented Argentina from getting any extra energy in the latter stages.  Plus the subs were quite peculiar with Crespo and Riquleme out for Cruz and Cambiassso, while Saviola and Messi were left on bench.  The match finished with a penalty shootout (the Germans aided by Jens Lehmann’s cheat sheet) and handbags between players and members of the German coaching staff.  Twenty years on from Maradona’s heroics, there was to be no repeat.

I’ve wanted an Argentine jersey forever but have to this point failed to pull the trigger.  Their traditional home kit of light blue and white is instantly recognizable and easy on the eye, but it’s the away kit that has always done it for me.  I love the combination of the navy blue shirt, black shorts and navy or black socks, although the white shorts and socks will suffice in a pinch.  When looking back at the away shirts of the last 15 to 20 years, I was drawn to the 2006 version.

argentina 06 away

In my research of the kit I found this blurb out the 2006 technology:

In the heat of the action during 2006 FIFA World Cup, some players will stay cooler than others. New Adidas kits not only feature unique and exciting designs, but equip players with the newest ClimaCool technology. Enhanced ClimaCool apparel designed through Flow Mapping ensure that these elite teams stay cool, dry and comfortable.

The accents usually don’t do it for me but in this case they provide a nice compliment to the shirt.  This was at the tail end of the windsock jerseys as opposed to the skin tight versions currently, so I would definitely order a size down for comfort.

rodriguez 06

arg v mexico 06