Friday, 30 May 2014

Unofficial, Unscientific Ranking of the 2014 World Cup Kits. Where do you Think Nigeria's Kit Lies in the Ranking?

When the 2014 World Cup in Brazil kicks off on June 12, we'll be treated to one month of the world's best and most exciting football. But sports nerds of a certain stripe are also in for an added bonus: World Cup uniforms ("kits" in football parlance), which by many estimations represent the coolest gear the entire sports world has to offer.

The World Cup of style is dominated by football’s big-boy brands: Nike sponsors 10 of the World Cup's 32 teams; Adidas sponsors nine; Puma sponsors eight; Burrda, Marathon, Uhlsport, Joma and Lotto sponsor one apiece. But each company is busting out the best it has to offer for the millions of football fans (and apparel consumers) who will tune into the World Cup from points around the globe this summer.
We've been nerding out over World Cup kits all spring, so now it's time to gather them all together in one place. What follows is our very unscientific ranking of all 32 outfits (Okay, 31; Bosnia and Herzegovina isn't expected to officially release its duds until early June) as done by We've ordered them from here from snazziest to meh-iest.
Check them out, and then tell me  in the comments section below.

which are your favourites and what position you think Nigeria's kit should have been ranked.

1. Brazil
When Brazil looks to win its sixth World Cup on its home soil this summer, it'll do so in the utmost style. The yellow and blue numbers above stick close to the blueprint for the Seleção's respective home and away kits. Meanwhile, the dark green alternate jersey provides a nice change of pace, right down those subtly striped shorts. To mix our sports metaphors, Brazil (with some help from Nike) knocks it out of the park. Final score: 10/10

2. Spain

Adidas does a top-notch job of balancing tradition with innovation. The red home numbers reflect the look you expect from Spain, while the away versions offer something else entirely: A black base with neon green trim. Not every nation could pull this off, but the look fits perfectly with Spain's stacked squad of fearsome attackers and creative ball-handlers. Final score 9.6/10

3. Portugal

Another excellent study in contrasts. Portugal's red home kit is all fire and strength, while the away kit features a clean blue and white look. The Portuguese Football Federation's excellent patch, meanwhile, is a welcome addition to any shirt. Final score: 9.5/10

4. Italy

Italy has one of the game's classic kits, year in and year out. Puma does that heritage justice here, with two equally excellent outfits. From the tiny collar on the blue home shirt to the light grey pinstripes on the white away kit, little details make a difference. Final score: 9.4/10

5. Germany

Another great contrasting look. The white home kit is clean, simple and traditional, while the away kit's deep red and black stripes give the attacking German squad some fearsome style. Final score: 9.2/10

6. Argentina

Argentina's vertically striped home kits are among the most iconic in soccer. Adidas does good job of not messing with tradition here, while the Albiceleste's darker away duds look sharp too. Final score: 9.1/10

7. Netherlands

The Netherlands signature orange home shirts and excellent lion crest give Nike plenty to work with here. But it's the subtle designs on the blue away kit that really win us over. Final score: 9/10

8. Mexico

Adidas does El Tri justice here with a killer green home kit (moving the Federación Mexicana de Fútbol Asociación's crest to the middle of the shirt is a nice touch). The blood-red away kits should look awesome in Brazil as well. Final score: 8.8/10

9. France

Less is more with France's 2014 kits from Nike. The blue home kit is classic and timeless, while horizontal grey striping takes the white away shirt to another level. Final score: 8.7/10

10. Cameroon

Puma pulled out all the stops for Cameroon's green home jersey. The relief designs, vivid colouring and traditional lion crest (the squad's amazing nickname is the Indomitable Lions) add up to a classic. That gold away number isn't shabby either. Final score: 8.5/10.

11. Japan

Another excellent balancing act between tradition and boldness. Japan's blue home kits don't contain any huge surprises, but that neon away kit is something else entirely. Both look mighty fine, however. Final score: 8.4/10

12. England

Nike goes for a classic look on both England's home and away kits. Neither takes any real risks, but they both look pretty sweet. That yellow goalie shirt isn't bad either. Final score: 8.2/10

13. Croatia

Those checkers! We have a feeling you'll either love or hate Croatia's unique national team kits, but we are definitely in the pro-check camp. The red and white checks look even better when used as trim on Croatia's blue away shirts. Final score: 8/10
14. Belgium
Belgium's three looks offer plenty of variety but it's the big crown in-lay that goes a long way for us. Final score: 7.8/10

15. Cote D'Ivoire

Puma deserves credit for letting the Ivory Coast's lovely green and orange colours do the heavy lifting here. The country's elephant crest is also among the coolest in soccer. Final score: 7.6/10

16. Ghana

Ghana's red away kits are sharp, but it's the creative trim around the collar of the home whites that will have the Black Stars looking extra-super in Brazil. Final score: 7.4/10

17. Greece

Nike stuck to simplicity for Greece, and the result is a smooth look. Then again, that simplicity doesn't offer anything far out of the ordinary, landing these uniforms in the middle of our power rankings. Final score: 7.2/10

18. United States

When Nike unveiled the multi-coloured USA away kits this spring, many snarkily denigrated them for looking like a summer popsicle. We think they look mighty fine -- but those home white jerseys look too much like something you'd see at a Florida retirement village. Final score: 7/10

19. Russia

Not bad, but far from transcendent. The white away kits do feature a unique design that we like. Final score: 6.7/10

20. Australia

Points for simplicity -- but not too many points. Final score: 6.6/10

21. Switzerland

These are ... fine. Final score: 6.3/10

22. Uruguay

The blue-on-black home kits are kind of sweet, but this is the World Cup -- we're looking for greatness, not goodness. Final score: 6.2/10

23. Colombia

Again, good but not great (in our humble opinion, of course). Final score: 6/10

24. Algeria

Some nice touches -- the crescent moon and light green color give a good starting point -- but, overall, not a lot going on. Final score: 5.8/10

25. Chile

Chile is an interesting dark-horse contender in Brazil, but its uniforms won't be generating a ton of buzz. We do like the red home kit's blue collar though. Final score: 5.7/10

26. Costa Rica

Ehhhh, these are okay. Final score: 5.6/10

27. Ecuador

They definitely don't suck. But they definitely aren't that memorable, either. Final score: 5.5/10

28. Nigeria

Nigeria's green and white flag offers a rich starting point, but we wish there was more going on here. Final score: 5.4

29. Honduras

Cool T-shirt? Yes. Cool World Cup jersey? Less so. Final score: 5.3/10

30. South Korea

Pretty pedestrian, plus those differently-colored shoulder stripes on the white away kits look a little odd. Final score: 5.1/10

31. Iran

That's a cool in-lay, but these are otherwise pretty meh. Final score: 5/10

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