There are only two weeks left until the World Cup begins! Let’s talk about it.
Ramble of the Day
Many have ranked World Cup kits, so I figured I’d do the same. I’ve actually been working on these rankings for quite some time, but I finalized them right before I started writing this. I won’t share the whole list, since it’s a list of 64 jerseys and putting them all in one Hoddle is a bit much. I will reveal my top three and bottom three today instead, and if you’re genuinely curious where some of the others fall on the list, feel free to ask.
I ranked them on creativity and on how willing I am to wear them, though I imagine that differs from person to person. The top and bottom, though, are mostly a reflection of the design; for what it’s worth, I am very willing to wear uniquely designed jerseys.
A few observations before I get started. For starters, there are way too many plain white or red jerseys. Some are better than others, but many of them are very simple, and not in a good way. Additionally, Puma as a whole did a terrible job in away kit design, making almost all of their kits almost entirely white. Finally, special credit must be given to Adidas, who genuinely did a terrific job designing a lot of the kits.
Dishonorable mentions: Iran away, Panama home
3. Panama away
This may be harsh, but I genuinely dislike the pattern on the Panama away jersey. That break in the middle of the pattern is not pleasing to my eyes, especially since it continues in a corner of the shirt that seems a bit random. Additionally, I really do not like that neckline at all. Get creative with football jerseys all you like, but do not do anything with those necklines. That almost never works out in your favor.
2. Morocco home
Many of the lower ranked jerseys are where they are because they attempt to be classy, but come off boring. Here is Morocco’s home strip, a classic example of when classic goes wrong. Other than the piping on the neckline and sleeves, there’s absolutely nothing to it. Even that particular shade of red doesn’t seem dynamic enough. It is quite the snoozer.
1. Uruguay away
The worst jersey is not something genuinely ugly; there were not a lot of those this time around. Instead, the worst of the worst is this Uruguay option, which had the same failures as Morocco’s home jersey, but is somehow worse. To begin, there is no piping on the sleeves, which really makes it seem like the designers realized they had to do this about five minutes before deadline. My biggest complaint, though, is that it photographs like a t-shirt.
Honorable mentions: Belgium home, Belgium away
3. Germany home
It was incredibly difficult ranking about 15 of these jerseys, since many of them were really nice. Ultimately, the Germany home shirt cracked the top three as the best of the simple white kits. The design across the top is very well crafted and interesting enough to entertain the eye while still keeping the crispness a classic white shirt has. It’s very well done.
2. Spain home
Getting over the fact that Alvaro Morata won’t be at the World Cup despite modeling Spain’s kit, that is one very nice kit. The colors are incredibly rich, and there are a few of them that contrast in just the right ways. Like the Germany home jersey, it has enough visual interest without being too busy. Additionally, that shade of red is what the Morocco home jersey wasn’t: vivid. Another strong effort.
1. Nigeria home
Nike is known for their monochromatic templates, but they went in a different direction for this Nigeria home jersey, and they nailed it. It is still true to Nike’s choice of a plain backdrop with detailed sleeves, but has pattern and color to bring out the best in their simple base. The contrast of the sleeve with the rest of the shirt is sublime, and the color is a fantastic choice. This may be the best World Cup jersey in recent memory. It is simply stunning.
Links of the Day
Research conducted by the Fare Network and Sova Center reveals that the number of discriminatory chants has gone up in Russia in the buildup to the World Cup.
Video assistant referees will have the ability to issue retroactive red cards to players at the World Cup.
Egypt expect Mohamed Salah to play during the group stage at the World Cup, but he might miss a match or two with a shoulder injury.
David Wagner has signed a contract extension at Huddersfield, keeping him around until 2021.
A mini-transfer roundup: former Tottenham captain Michael Dawson has returned to Nottingham Forest; Newcastle have signed goalkeeper Martin Dubravka on a permanent basis; John Terry is leaving Aston Villa after only one season
Reuters photographers have been taking a look at the unique sights in between goalposts in Russia before the World Cup begins.
Today’s longer read: Will Unwin interviews former Tottenham academy player Will Troost-Ekong ahead of his World Cup debut with Nigeria next month for The Guardian