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The Best Adidas World Cup Shirts Of All Time

Forget all this 'sweat-wicking' nonsense, we remember back when shirts were one size, fit like a poncho and still looked awesome.

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I’m the type of footballer that wears Copa Mundials, sits deep, completes short, simple passes and shouts a lot, whilst wearing a hideously retro football top.

According to various online football hipster surveys, I’m heavily hipster.

In light of this heart-bruising news, I try to use this to my advantage and use my hipster status to write incredibly hipster football articles.

No heat-maps, pass completion rates or key passes per game, simply the deeper part of football people care about without having to give a toss about numbers and all that statistics shit.

The fact I’ve previously written for a well-known stats-based site and used various stats and heat-maps to convey some sort of ludicrous point, does make this slightly hypocritical, but we’ve all made mistakes, right?

Football, in general, is nowadays riddled with all types of shit, no more so than the hideous strips the likes of Nike, Under Armour (?) and Sondico churn out. However, there once was a time when kits needn’t be £90.00, vile and have various modern day holes under the armpits to increase ventilation. I’m talking about the 80’s and the 90’s, where kits were all one size, fit like a poncho, but looked pukka.

Adidas were (and still are) the crème de la crème of kit producers and have issued some blinding national strips in their time, here’s the very best of them.

(All images from:

Northern Ireland – Mexico 1986


Northern Ireland’s third (and last) appearance at a World Cup came at Mexico ’86, where they were cruelly thrown into a group with Brazil, Spain and Algeria. After loses to both Spain and Brazil and a 1-1 draw with Algeria, Billy Bingham’s (me either) men were sent packing in the group stages.

Despite the shoddy football the Northern Irish have always played, their World Cup 1986 home strip was something of a masterpiece. Bravo.

Canada – Mexico 1986


Sticking with Mexico ’86 and Canada made their first and only appearance at the World Cups finals in a Liverpool-esque jersey.

Again, much like Northern Ireland, their gear was a lot better than their football as they finished bottom of a group containing Soviet Union, France and Hungary, plus scoring no goals in the process.

The Canucks’ Paul Stalteri never got the chance to grace a World Cup, sad that.

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Germany – USA 1994


The Germans went into the 1994 American World Cup as reigning champions and favourites with Klinsmann, Voller, Hassler and Effenberg pulling on this wonderfully vulgar, Microsoft paint designed strip.

The hideousness of the design is what makes it so wonderful.

Despite topping their group, Berti Vogts’ Die Mannschaft were knocked out in the second round by Bulgaria, who went on to finish fourth overall.

Argentina – USA 1994

argentina 94

I’m not usually a fan of stripes, not just because I’m a bitter Portsmouth fan envious of the striped bastards down the road from us, but because there’s something superbly tacky about them, something very Sunday League or five-a-side.

However, Argentina’s 1994 strip, that was so beautifully modelled throughout by Gabriel Batistuta, is a rare exception.

The pure simplicity of the jersey and the Fred Perry-esque collar-button combo erased all prejudice I had towards stripes – until I saw Diego squeeze into one.

Argentina were knocked out in the last sixteen against our bleach blonde favourites the Romanians. This was pre-bleach blonde, mind.

USA –  1989 CONCACAF Gold Cup Qualifiers


I’ll be honest, I’d never even seen this jersey until recently and it was made merely for USA’s qualifying campaign for the 1989 Gold Cup and that alone.

It’s a shame no one cares about the Gold Cup, meaning it was basically unseen by the world, but being the football hipster I’ve become after completing various surveys, I’ve dug up a gem.

The Americans, to the shock of anybody that cared, came runners-up after (don’t laugh) Costa Rica nicked it on goal difference.

Germany – Italia 1990

germany 90

The single most fantastic football shirt of all time, worn by the World Cup winning German side of Italia ’90.

Italia ’90, of course, will be remembered by most England fans for Gazza’s teenage tears and yet another loss of penalties to ze Germans.

But for me, someone who wasn’t born at the time and has had to watch my dad’s Italia ’90 VHS, it was this beautiful bombshell of German colours thrown onto a plain white Adidas tee that made it for me. Their green away strip was marvellous too, by the way.

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image descriptionCOMMENTS

Jon 9:56 am, 6-Jun-2014

Never heard of Billy Bingham? fuck's sake!

Chester_Perry 10:14 am, 6-Jun-2014

He's a football hipster, enough said.

Les Roberts (@lesroberts77) 11:57 am, 6-Jun-2014

What Jon said - and the '94 Argentina shirt is shite. All about the '86 shirt!

yogavo 12:19 pm, 6-Jun-2014

the 94 argentina shirt is crap. their kits in 86 were le coq sportif. that canada shirt is the bollocks

Tayler Willson 2:26 pm, 6-Jun-2014

Apologies, Jon, I'm a young gun.

Daniel Pape 6:29 pm, 6-Jun-2014

All sorts of wrong, this list. I know it's opinion, but still... first of all, if you're picking an adidas Argentina effort then the home and away efforts worn at Italia '90 are the best. If you're looking at World Cup only then Holland home and away efforts are better efforts than any on your list. Mentions to France '82 and Belgium '86 and '90 are also better than any on your list. The Germany away worn in the semi-final in 1990 against England is a classic. Yugoslavia in 1990 (the blue one) and USSR 1986 are worthy of the list. Finally, I'd agree on one and go with West Germany 1990 home effort, although it shares greatest kit of all time with Denmark '86 world cup (Hummell) and the Holland Euro '88 kit, made by adidas. Glad I got that off my chest..

Jon 8:39 pm, 6-Jun-2014

Apology accepted Tayler Willson. If it gives some context, Bingham always reminds me,facially, of Tinker from Lovejoy- but I anticipate that's lost on you also?

Jon 8:41 pm, 6-Jun-2014

Actually, fuck that Tayler Willson, just read your profile, you're a fucking skate! Typical fucking Pompey not knowing their footy or antiques detectives

Doesn't matter 10:01 pm, 6-Jun-2014

Gazza wasn't a teenager at Italia 90, I was 20 then and he's at least 2 years older than me.

Wayne Farry 10:29 pm, 6-Jun-2014

Only one complaint; that the USA jersey from the 1994 World Cup isn't there. That was a beaut.

cheekyrees 9:27 pm, 8-Jun-2014

The Wales kits of the early to mid 80's are a thing of beauty, classic Adidas. Sadly never to grace the World Cup, same as all the other kits since 1958, sob!

Erik Mosbakk 8:52 am, 11-Jun-2014

Bulgaria finished 4th in 1994, not 3rd. They lost 4-0 to Sweden in the bronze final...

Chris B. 3:41 pm, 18-Jun-2014

What a great article. I actually had the Northern Ireland white shirt. Two things: 1. Bring back the old USSF badge, please! That 1994 cartoon soccerball US badge they're still wearing is terrible. 2. You are correct, the 1990 W Germany shirt is indeed best ever. This was the first time the World Cup was shown in its entirety in the US (if only in Spanish), and I had to have this shirt. My grandfather actually went to Germany later that summer and didn't get one for me. I was devastated.

Joe 12:20 pm, 22-Jun-2014

"Yet another loss on penalties to Ze Germans" Actually, that was the first one.

A jenkinson 5:25 pm, 7-Sep-2014

I have the canada white shirt from the Mexico 86 wc and I have that usa shirt from 1989 gold cup and many more including negredo Seville match worn shirt

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