Uniforms that never should have made the World Cup - Macleans.ca

Uniforms that never should have made the World Cup

The 10 worst uniforms in the tournament’s history (photo gallery)


(KEVIN JOSEPH/http://www.flickr.com/photos/-kj/2038110635/)

USA 1994: These two efforts from the host of perhaps the ugliest World Cup in history are symbolic of an age when the U.S. really just didn’t “get” soccer.

Next: Mexico 1994

(REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson)

Mexico 1994: With a keeper that’s more optical illusion than athlete, and outfield players sporting an ill-advised Aztec motif, Mexico fell victim to the ugly uniform mania of the mid-‘90s.

Next: South Africa 1998

(REUTERS/Juda Ngwenya)

South Africa 1998: This year’s hosts may look smart now, but they have an ugly history with this memorable number.

Next: Denmark 1986

(Bongarts/Getty Images)

Denmark 1986: This number was reminiscent of a bad set of kid’s pyjamas, but Denmark was anything but sleepy, winning all three group games.

Next: Ivory Coast 2010

(AP/Armando Franca)

Ivory Coast 2010 (Third uniform): We actually love their orange uniforms (above), but we hope they aren’t forced to bring this Hamburgler-inspired get-up out of the kit bag.

Next: Colombia 1990

(David Cannon/Staff/Getty Images)

Colombia 1990 (Goalkeeper): The Colombian keeper at Italia ’90 seemed determined to distract opposing strikers with his poorly-chosen shirts. And, for the record: yes, those appear to be shoulder pads. Yikes.

Next: Zaire 1974

(Bob Thomas/Getty Images)

Zaire 1974: Perhaps not ugly so much as silly, featuring the least scary jungle cat since Tony the Tiger. Fittingly, the Zairian side was a bit of a joke, too, allowing 14 goals in three games (including nine from Yugoslavia) and giving us one of the World Cup’s most bafflingly absent-minded moments.

Next: Jamaica 1998

(Stu Forster/Getty Images)

Jamaica 1998: The Reggae Boys’ first World Cup experience is more noted for the shirt-to-shorts patterned motif than their results: they suffered a 5-0 loss to Argentina and crashed out at the group stage.

Next: Croatia 1998

(AP Photo/Darko Bandic)

Croatia 1998: The Croatians performed admirably in their first post-Yugoslavia World Cup, despite these checkerboard shirts. (Note: above photo is of 2006 jersey)

Next: Slovenia 2010

(AP Photo/Martin Mejia)

Slovenia 2010: Another for the silly column, Slovenia’s current shirt seems inspired by someone who was never really all that good at kicking a ball.

James Doyle writes for Some Canadian Guys Writing About Soccer, which takes a passionate (and often irreverent) look at the Canadian soccer scene, major international tournaments and all sorts of odds and ends related to the beautiful game.

Back to start


Uniforms that never should have made the World Cup

  1. that keeper was ahead of his time…. MIA is all over that ish.

  2. Love late 80's design.

    That triangle pattern is actually really great. I like it a lot. The German design in the background is pretty good too.

    Shoulderpads yah…could probably do without those.

  3. who comes up with this stuff? whoever it is needs to find a new job. some werent all that ugly… ivory coast ugly cuz its orange??.. mexico because of an aztec motif? im glad this guy is just a writer, and a poor one at that

    • The Ivory Coast away jersey is the ugly one (see the link smart guy)!

  4. Actually I think this Croation uniform is great, thought the same back

  5. CROATIA>>>number 10 is luka modric born in 1985, and facing him are darijo srna born in 1982, and ivan rakitic (with head down) born in 1988…must have been a good team if the had all teenagers and a 10 year old at the world cup. Didn't they finish 3rd at '98 cup? If they would have took older players they might have won the whole thing! LOL

  6. Cute article, but I liked many of the uniforms you are mocking, it's really just one opinion.

  7. Since when is a soccer uniform a fashion statement?

  8. Actually, this is the 2006 Croatian Team. Honestly, I know it's your opinion, but at least get your facts straight. Macleans isn't paying you minimum wage for nothing

  9. Who is this clown passing judgment on the uniforms. I really like the ivory coast, croatia, denmark uniforms. What do you expect from a Canadian soccer writer.

  10. The Colombian goalie's shoulder pads are probably part of an bulletproof vest…wasn't it at the next Cup that one was shot?

  11. A little harsh with the knock on the Croatian unis… The ''checkerboard'' has always been the Croatian motif (and part of their shield). To see Croatia in anything but that motif would be odd.

  12. The Slovenian uniform has one of the national symbols, mount Triglav .

  13. You neglected to mention the current US uniform. They look like a bunch of pageant contestants running around out there!

  14. Half these are just mocking countries (Mexico, Croatia, Slovenia) for putting national symbols and motifs something as Canadians with a national leaf we should be wary of. One could easily say about this http://image01.demandmade.com/IMGSRV/s/product_me… that it is a big leaf with a picture of what to do on it so as to remind lumbering hockey players what their up to after multiple concussions.

  15. Very nice. Why not green or brown uniforms? The public might mistake these officers for policemen. Or is it all intentional. I wonder how PDRM feels about this similarity at a glance? Embroidered Leisurewear

  16. Ummm… For the record that strip you have for Mexico is from 1998. And saying the Croatian kit is one of the worst is saying there flag and culture is on a same par, as the red and blue checkboard effect plays a big part of there customs and history. May want to check facts and do some research before posting things in future…