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Iconic World Cup Jerseys: The France 1998 Shirt

After failing to qualify to the 1990 and 1994 tournaments, and having the immense responsibility of holding the 98 World Cup in their country, the France National Team players were ready to prove themselves on the biggest stage and silence their critics altogether. And they were set to do it style, with an Adidas shirt that took inspiration from the one used in the 1984 Euro, also set in France, that meant their first continental title. One horizontal red bar and three white ones on a blue jersey became somewhat of a talisman for the French.

The road to the championship began with a convincing 3-0 victory against South Africa, followed by another convincing win against Saudi Arabia, this time 4-0, with a young Thierry Henry scoring two goals. But this time the win came with a casualty: French superstar Zinedine Zidane got a red card and a two match suspension, that would mean for Les Bleus playing their round of 16 game without their best player. The last match of the group round was a 2-1 victory versus Denmark, completing a perfect 9 points total.

 

Then, Les Bleus, without their biggest star, faced what was probably their toughest match in the tournament, the rocky Paraguay, led by the great José Luis Chilavert, and two of the strongest CB’s of the era, Celso Ayala and Carlos Gamarra. The South Americans held their own for 114 minutes that seemed eternal to the French, and seemed poised to win it on penalties under the guide of PK scorer/stopper Chilavert, but then Laurent Blanc managed to score and save the day.

Blanc goal Paraguay

On quarter-finals, they were matched with Italy, runner-up of the 94 cup, and the match went scoreless for 120 minutes, and was to be decided on penalties. Roberto Baggio took the first one, with the large shadow of 94 looming behind him, but this time he managed to beat the keeper, Fabien Barthez. Albertini and Lizarazu missed consecutively, and with the shootout tied, Di Biagio missed. Laurent Blanc was tasked for the final one, and again, he delivered. France won.

Finally, semifinals arrived, and the French had to face the up-and-coming Croatian team. After the collapse of Yugoslavia, Croatia emerged from the ashes and managed to take a spot in both Basketball and Football in the European elite. A team packed with stars like Real Madrid’s Davor Suker and AC Milan’s Zvonimir Boban, had a great run on the tournament, demolishing Germany 3-0 on quarter-finals. The Stade de France at Saint Denis was the stage, and the French once again delivered. After an initial goal from Suker starting the second half, the french ended up with an unusual hero. One of the best defenders in the world, Lilian Thuram, playing RB that day, managed to score his only two goals with the national team in his career, exactly when they needed it the most. That day he left the field swarmed by chants from the fans enshrining him as the new President of France.

Only one more army stood between the french and the trophy. The current champions, Brazil, led by the best player in the world, O Fenômeno, Ronaldo, were favorites to win it again. The night before the match, the South American superstar fell mysteriously ill. Circumstances of the whole affair remain murky even today, filled with conspiracy theories about what could have happened. The team doctor reported that the striker suffered convulsions that night and was rushed to the hospital. He was not on the lineup coach Mario Zagallo initially submitted in the day of the match, but slightly over an hour before kick-off the new teamsheet showed Ronaldo as the starting forward.

The game was dominated by the French side from the get go, and by the end of the first half, Les Bleus were two nill up, with two header goals from Zidane, coming from corner kicks. Ronaldo’s performance was underwhelming.

In the 68th minute central defender Marcel Desailly saw a red card, and the Canarinha pushed for a comeback, but couldn’t manage to score. On aggregate time, in a counter-attack, Petit put the final nail on the coffin on a blazing counter attack. 3-0 and the cup stayed in France.

The legacy of the 1998 France shirt lives on, and the template has been reused several times, more famously by the 1999-2000 Bayer Leverkusen, led by Michael Ballack. FC Gueugnon also used the same template that season, when they unexpectedly won the Coupe de la Ligue, but sadly that sponsor sure wrecks the design, in our opinion. Other teams used it to, and there are even random templates from that era floating around thrift shops all over Europe, like the one pictured below.

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Great Football Anthems: Seven Nation Army

The first time I heard The White Stripes’ Seven Nation Army, something clicked in my head. It was Spring in 2003, and I was already a fan of the band. Fell in Love With a Girl, with it’s Lego inspired video had already won me over, so I bought their previous album, White Blood Cells, or maybe downloaded it from one of the early pioneers of P2P software, but I don’t wan to remember that. 

But then, Elephant dropped, and with it Seven Nation Army. The simplicity of it’s guitar riff (yes, guitar. It’s not bass) was just hypnotizing, the kind of riff that just gets stuck in your head and you can’t get it out even with a drill into your forehead. Yes, this song not only was great, but it was more than a song, it had something else. It was a meme, in the sense that was coined by evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins in his 1976 book “The Selfish Gene”. An idea so powerful that spreads like a virus, person to person, even across different cultures, countries or even continents, becoming a mass phenomenon.

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And that is exactly what happened on October 22, 2003, when Club Brugge fans visited San Siro for a Champions League match against AC Milan. According to legend, the visiting Belgian fans were pre-gaming at a bar near the stadium and the song started blasting. Fans were pumped, and left the bar singing and jumping to it, all the way to the game. Brugge won 0-1 and the song became a staple in the Belgian fans repertoire.

Three years went by, and on February 15, 2006, Brugge played Rome at home for a UEFA Cup fixture against AS Roma. The Italians went ahead in the score in the 44th minute, but when Javier Portillo scored the equalizer for the Flemish in the 61st, the stadium exploded to the tune. The Roman fans were blown away, and loved the song. So it was natural that when Perrotta scored the game winner, they started blasting the tune too.

And then they brought the chant back to Italy, where it was born, and ended up spreading to every stadium of Serie A. By the time the 2006 World Cup was around the corner, the tune was already being sang all over the country, even if a lot of the fans had no idea of it’s origin.

And then, it happened. The Azzurri went the distance, claiming the World Cup for themselves coming as underdogs, while the fans rocked the chant at every single game, and then at the celebrations, now changing the already classic “po po po po po po po” to “siamo campioni del mondo”, turning it into their own anthem. And from there, it just went to become a regular in the song collection of fans all over the globe.

Now days, the song is a staple in many different stadiums around the world. In Spain, Atlético de Madrid, U.D. Las Palmas, Sporting de Gijón and Real Madrid are known for their blasting the song after scoring a goal and in title celebrations, and in Serie A it is still the most popular chant all across the league.

Although the lyrics are not really football related, the synchronicity must be strong on a song named Seven Nation Army, when a national team must beat the armies of seven different nations to be rewarded the cup. The song traveled a long way from America to Italy to Belgium, back to Italy, to Germany, before taking over all the footballing planet and entering the pantheon of sports folk. So, Jack and Megan White, thank you for that.

Iconic World Cup Jerseys: Germany 1990

For both casual and hardcore football fans, each World Cup has the power to capture a special moment in time and engrave it in our memories. Not only on the sports side, but regarding a whole era, encapsulating culture and fashion and music, a perfect snapshot of a fleeting moment in history. And the 1990 Germany home jersey has the ability to bring back that nostalgia in every retro soccer fan.

Although the design made it’s debut in the 1988 Euro, where Germany lost to the Dutch champions in semifinals, the Germans made the unusual decision to keep the kit for the upcoming World Cup, at Franz Beckenbauer’s request according to the legend. A clean break from a long account of monochrome kits, the design created by the brilliant Ina Franzmann featured the black, red and yellow stripes of the German flag across the chest and sleeves, striking at both close and far.

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A design that good deserved a second shot. And the German national team delivered. After defeating resoundingly Yugoslavia and the United Arab Emirates (4-1 and 5-1 respectively), they met with the surprising Colombian squad, that managed to snatch a 1-1 tie from the future champs.

After that, the Mannschaft met their nemesis, the Netherlands, and the Germans were looking for revenge from the 88 Euros defeat. And they surely got it in San Siro, with a 2-1 victory with goals from Klinsmann and Brehme. That game is infamously remember for the image of Rijkaard spitting on Andreas Brehme. In quarterfinals, they met Czechoslovakia who put on a great fight, barely winning 1-0 with a penalty goal from Lothar Matthäus.

At semifinals, England awaited. After some solid performances, the English were sure that finally football was coming home. And the semis were indeed hard fought, with the Germans (playing in their away green kit this time) going ahead with Brehme’s goal in minute 60, but Lineker managed to score the equalizer in the 80th. Extra time went by with no changes, and then the penalty shootout came. What seemed like a nerve wrecking moment for both sides, became a show of German confidence. No German missed a penalty, and Pierce and Waddle failed to score.

And then, the final. Another revenge scenario, this time in front of Diego Maradona’s Argentina, who defeated them in the 1986 final 3-2 in a great display heart and football. The whole world was expecting for this game, and what we got, well… it was something. 

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What was expected to be an attractive attacking match from both sides, ended up being a dull show. While the German team dominated their rivals (they ended with 23 shots and 16 scoring chances, against only one shot on goal for the Argentinian side) they weren’t able to turn that into goals, until a controversial penalty was awarded to them on the 85th minute. Andreas Brehme then faced Sergio Goycochea from the penalty spot, the great goalkeeper that had kept Argentina alive on previous rounds saving key penalties in shootouts against Yugoslavia and Italy in quarter and semifinals.

But this time, Sergio couldn’t stop Brehme’s solid crossed strike, although he was close. By then the die was already cast, and the Argentinans couldn’t react. Germany was the new World Cup Champion. And just like that, with the image of Lothar Matthäus lifting the cup, the 1990 jersey became a cult icon in soccer history.

Our 1990 Germany collection re-imagines that iconic jersey design in modern canvases. From t-shirts to sweatshirts to hoodies, including Champion Brand garments, we aim to bring back that retro look with a casual streetwear twist.

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Cult Heroes – Carlos Valderrama (1990 FIFA World Cup)

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Valderrama vs. Germany in the 1990 World Cup

There are few players with a look so iconic that they are easily recognized all around the world by both fans and casuals. With his long blond curly hair, Carlos Valderrama is one of them. His image wearing the Colombia yellow jersey with blue and red stripes on the shoulders in 1990 is an unforgettable one for Latin American soccer fans.

The Colombian was a different kind of player, one of a kind. His pace was slow as a snail, he didn’t score a lot for an attacking midfielder. Physically, he didn’t look like a world class athlete. But his playmaking was way ahead of his times, with a passing ability and game vision that could rival with Xavi, Iniesta or Modric.

Valderrama had an outstanding career with his national team where he led the Cafeteros 3 times to the Copa America Semifinals and 3 World Cup participations, bringing them to the forefront of the international football scene.

El Pibe also had a long club career, playing in several teams in his native Colombia (Unión Magdalena, Millonarios FC, Deportivo Cali, Independiente de Medellín, and Atletico Junior de Barranquilla), Montpellier in France, Valladolid in Spain, Tampa Bay Mutiny, Miami Fusion and Colorado Rapids in the United States’ Major League Soccer. He was set to play once again in his first club Unión Magdalena at age 42 and close his playing days where they began, but after missing his first training session (was set at 6:30 AM and he woke up at 8:00 AM), he decided that it was better to call it quits and let go.

He was named twice “Best South American player of the Year”, in 1987 and 1993 and was part of the FIFA 100, a list of what they considered the best players in history up to 2004, made by the Football Association and Pele to celebrate the 100th year of the organization.

His 1990 World Cup game in the Giuseppe Meazza/San Siro Stadium against the German team, who ended up winning the competition, is the quintessential Valderrama performance. Even though the most remembered play was his brilliant through ball to Freddy Rincon for the goal that tied the match in the 91st minute, the complete game was a Colombian exhibition of beautiful passing and attacking game, totally controlling the pace and rhythm, and it could have easily ended with a victory for the South American side.

Long after his retirement, el Pibe Valderrama remains a cult icon for football followers all around the globe, and specially in Latin America.

Inspired by this Valderrama’s performance, we released our Retro 1990 Colombia Jersey Sweatshirt,  an homage to Carlos and his team with a contemporary streetwear twist.

Colombia 1990 Soccer Jersey Sweatshirt
Colombia 1990 Soccer Jersey Sweatshirt

1994 – Spain vs. Italy – The Bloody Jersey

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Luis Enrique and his Bloody Jersey.

July 9th, 1994 was a rough day for the Spanish Football fans. The “Red Fury” played their quarter-final match against the 3 times World Cup Champions, Italy, after a convincing 3-0 victory over Switzerland. A strong squad that packed their midfield with defensive minded players and one or no striker at all, a very different style than the usual Iberic team.

The Azurri scored first, with a brilliant long range strike from midfielder Dino Baggio (no relation to striker Roberto Baggio) that went pass Zubizarreta, one of the best goals of the 1994 World Cup no doubt.

Then, it happened. Minute 48, after a cross from Goikoetxea looking for Luis Enrique inside the box. The Asturian midfielder went for the ball and hell broke loose. The elbow of Mauro Tassotti went straight to his face, shattering his nose and making a bloody mess. Definitely a penalty should have been awarded, along with a red card for Tassotti, but neither the referee or the linesmen noticed the aggression.  

Later on the Spanish equalized the score with a goal from Caminero, but the damage was already done. Mentally, the Spaniards were thrown off and lost focus. Even though they had several opportunities to close the game, they weren’t able to turn them into goals. With the clock ticking and an extra time looming, in the 88th minute, Italy threw a great counter attack, finished by the brilliant striker Roberto Baggio after dribbling Zubizarreta.

Until 2010, this was one of the best shots of the Spanish Team to win the cup, and one of the most painful memories for the Iberian supporters and Luis Enrique himself.

Inspired by this iconic moment, we released our “Bloody Jersey”, a reimagined design that draws influence from the 1994 Spain away jersey, splattered with blood, that is still engraved in the minds of millions of spanish supporters around the globe.

Bloody Jersey - Spain 1994 Football Jersey
Bloody Jersey – Spain 1994 Football Jersey