The ul­ti­mate start­ing 11 in past World Cup shirts

Esquire (UK) - - Contents -

Den­mark, 1998

Their 1986 kit might be the coolest thing ever to grace a foot­ball pitch (es­pe­cially on Michael Lau­drup), but how can we deny Peter Sch­me­ichel and his ravey garms?

England, 1982

There’s been a lot of dross (we’re look­ing at you 2002), but there’s been some gold, too. Re­cent kits aren’t as hideous as they could be, but nothing bests this tri­colour Ad­mi­ral num­ber.

Ger­many, 1990

The metic­u­lously Teu­tonic sweep of the flag, the Bauhaus bru­tal­ity of the colour block­ing, and those enor­mous wings. Pure Ger­manic bril­liance.

Ar­gentina, 1994

It was too painful to in­clude the Maradona 1986 “Hand of God” strip, so here’s the one from the equally iconic ’94 tour­na­ment, when ev­ery­thing went a bit... Colom­bian.

Croa­tia, 1998

Ev­ery­one’s “second” team, there isn’t a soul — not one — who doesn’t love the red-and-white che­quers of Croa­tia. And this could even be their year!

(It won’t be.)

Cameroon, 2002

Some peo­ple hate the vest, we hap­pen to think it should be hung in the an­nals of foot­ball shirt his­tory, but not if it has the Comic Sans squad num­bers. That’s go­ing too far.

Mex­ico, 1994

We thought about in­clud­ing one of Jorge Cam­pos’ in­sane goal­keeper shirts, but they’re a bit on the wild side. So here’s the shirt that graced the shoul­ders of Mex­i­can great Hugo Sánchez.

France, 1998

Amaz­ingly, France’s second-best kit came just four years ago at the last tour­na­ment in Brazil, but like the team itself, you sim­ply can­not beat the 1998 home shirt.

Nigeria, 1994

It’s the mid-Nineties,

Def­i­nitely Maybe is about to be re­leased and Jay-Jay Okocha is hurtling through mid­field in this emer­ald num­ber. What a time to be alive.

Soviet Union, 1990

How you achieve that mot­tled, spat­tered red paint ef­fect we don’t know (and we’re not go­ing to ask), but it’s a thing of beauty nonethe­less.

Brazil, 2002

So many vari­a­tions on the yel­low and green, and the var­i­ous blues are mega too. But this came ac­com­pa­nied with that tuft of hair on Ron­aldo’s head, so how could it be over­looked?

All shirts, plus many more, avail­able at clas­sic­foot­ball­

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