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The ultimate World Cup kit guide part II: From France 1998 to Brazil 2014

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England’s 1998 World Cup kit is good, but doesn’t make the cut

Don’t think of talkSPORT.com as shallow, but looks matter. It’s true.

When it comes to World Cup kits, it’s what’s on the outside that counts and here, we asked George Bartlett of @Greatest_Kits, a retailer in original retro kits, to pick his three favourites in every World Cup from 1998 to 2006. You can usually chat to him about kits most weekends in London’s Brick Lane. Check out his Instagram account.

Have a look at part one of our World Cup greatest kits in which kit lover Neal Heard gives talkSPORT.com his picks between 1966 and 1994.

FRANCE 1998

Beginning with France ’98, George was keen to point out the England kit, worn by the boys in their defeat to Argentina in Saint-Etienne, deserves an honourable mention.

Mexico, Croatia and Jamaica at the 1998 World Cup

Mexico, Croatia and Jamaica at the 1998 World Cup

Mexico home
“One of the craziest designs at the World Cup where its Aztec print makes it stands out and I think they had this design going for the next few years. It almost doesn’t look like a shirt because it’s a bit different and is the only one with Aba Sport, the manufacturer.”

Croatia home
“There is something a bit special about this Lotto one. It only covers half the shirt – normally the chequerboard covers the whole shirt – so it’s quite cool in that sense. It reminds me of Davor Suker – the away one is really great, too.”

Jamaica home
“The zebra print – green, black and yellow – goes into the shorts. Again, it’s just a bit different and Kappa have produced some of my favourite kits. This is probably my favourlte of the three.”

KOREA/JAPAN 2002

Nigeria, Italy and Denmark in 2002

Nigeria, Italy and Denmark in 2002

Nigeria home
“Usually they had a darker green, but this one used lime green, which just makes me think of Jay-Jay Okocha with the green collar. Actually, Nigeria always have cool kits.”

Italy home
“The extremely tight Kappa ones they used to wear is such a cool design and this blue is a lighter one than the team usually wear. When I sell them, you always have to go up about three sizes because its so tight!”

Denmark home
“I wouldn’t say it’s their best ever shirt, but it’s as good as more modern Denmark ones. The Hummel logo down the sleeves is nice and you don’t see them that often, giving it that retro look, which is probably why I’m drawn to it.”

GERMANY 2006

Portugal, Argentina and Spain in 2006

Portugal, Argentina and Spain in 2006

Portugal home
“It’s difficult to choose this one because of the game they wore it in. For memory sake it’s not a winner as it reminds me of Cristiano Ronaldo winking [as Wayne Rooney was sent off]. But the maroon and green, with yellow numbers on the back is a great design.”

Argentina away
“It was when [Juan Roman] Riquelme was playing and it’s the classic adidas with strips down the side panels – a popular template in 2006. The dark blue coupled with the white numbers – adidas designed their own – looked good.”

Spain home
“Red with the yellow pinstripes down it, which I think is another nice design. It is easier to pick great shirts from the 1990s because brands like adidas have their own template, meaning the more teams they’ve got the more they will look the same.”

SOUTH AFRICA 2010

Onto South Africa, then. Here, though, talkSPORT.COM wanted to offer its own opinion on some cracking kit designs.

England, Spain and Algeria in 2010

England, Spain and Algeria in 2010

England home
Sartorial elegance. Even Wayne Rooney looked good in this number, but obviously not as good as Becks. Umbro went back to basics and it was more than just a polo shirt as some people pointed out. The goalkeeper tops were pretty tidy, too.

Algeria home
It was nice and simple, but included a fennec/desert fox on the right hand shoulder, which was a nice touch from Puma, who manufactured the African teams’ kits for the tournament in South Africa. In case you were wondering about its significance, the fox is the national animal of Algeria.

Spain away
They won the World Cup in this dark blue shirt, which still incorporated the national colours. It was stylish and Andres Iniesta memorably removed it after scoring his goal against the Netherlands to reveal his personal tribute to Dani Jarque, the 26-year-old Espanyol captain who died a year earlier.

BRAZIL 2014

Colombia, Mexico and France in 2014

Colombia, Mexico and France in 2014

Colombia home
The manufacturers said the blue stripe design referenced the sombrero vueltiao, a traditional hat. Whether that’s true, or they just fancied doing away with the colour red, the Colombia 2014 top caught the eye, just as it did to football kit aficionado Neal Heard in 1990, which he explains here. The 2014 lot were also helped by the quality of their players, namely James Rodriguez.

Mexico home
Adidas hit a winner with this Mexico kit. In our opinion, at least. According to the designers, they wanted to reflect Mexico’s wrestling heritage in its design – just look at that chest medallion! The team’s kits are usually a bit different, as George points out in his France ’98 selection, above.

France home
Les Bleus have history on their side when it comes to beautiful kits and this World Cup was no different. You’d have no problem sporting this off the pitch, would you?



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