With the final Euro 2016 group games taking place this week, it’s time to play fantasy football and see if football fashion can match reality. Over at the Copa Amèrica Centenario, there’s been a brutal lesson with kit design counting for nought<span id=”more-3300″> but will the fashion conscious French and Italians change that?
EURO 2016 GROUP A
As you would expect, the French are clear winners in the group. They have even made Nike’s awful template look good with their two shades of blue on the shirt. Romania‘s traditional yellow kit from Joma is adventurous and vivid whilst the Switzerland red and white from Puma is rather like the football – safe.
Albania though are the surprise package, sneaking through with their red and black but more for shirts which incorporate the wings of the eagle, the country’s national symbol, in the tonal stripes on the front.
Qualifiers: France, Albania, Romania
EURO 2016 GROUP B
You wouldn’t have thought that it was hard getting the England kit right but Nike and the FA have made a good go of it. It’s simply horrible in reality. The photo doesn’t look too bad but on the pitch? Ugh.
England are fortunate that the Adidas team which designed the Russian kit had one too many vodkas and decided that printing a tonal eagle on the shirt was a good idea. The reception for Chelsea’s lion print shows it wasn’t.
Thank goodness Puma and Adidas decided that a solid, football template was in order for Slovakia and Wales. The Slovakian is reminiscent of the kits worn in the late 70s and early 80s whilst the Welsh template is like mac ‘n’ cheese: a comfort food amongst football shirts
Qualifiers: Wales, Slovakia, England
EURO 2016 GROUP C
England take note. Adidas continued their long association with Germany and came up with a stylish white, crew-necked shirt. The reigning world champions are making a concerted effort for Euro 2016 glory with this shirt.
It might have gone wrong, like it has for the Ukrainians. The straightforward yellow shirt has been wrecked by the tonal check design on the front. Inches away from qualification!
Poland just about got away with their Nike swirls at the bottom of the shirt with the silvery effect almost lost in reality.
Northern Ireland meanwhile went for the ‘bluebottle’ look, similar to Arsenal’s early 1980s away kit which is fast becoming a favourite amongst modern gooners. The blue and white band across the chest though, has left the Irish waiting to see if they have sneaked into the knockout phase as one of the best third-placed teams.
Qualifiers: Germany, Poland
Euro 2016 Group D
Defending champions, Spain, found themselves in straightforward group and Adidas has provided two worthy designs. The home kit, the expected, stylish red shirt with yellow trim, is outshone by the clever white away design, with its yellow and red triangles creating a visual masterpiece.
Croatia pushed that hard but despite everything, the red and white square shirt is still to reminiscent of a bistro tablecloth to be a footballing classic. Which is a shame since the football the team plays on the pitch is so pleasing on the eye.
Fortunately, the Czech Republic have a no-nonsense design for their away shirt, very much like the Slovaks, which isn’t really that surprising given their shared history and kit manufacturers. The home kit is another matter, almost costing them qualification with the lighter inverted chevrons on the front of the shirt. It’s the unusual nature of the pattern that saw them over the line.
Turkey‘s unusual mesh pattern on the front of the red shirt is certainly very different. Perhaps a lighter colour would have made the shirt stand out more but it’s a tricky balance between that and garishness. That lack of adventure may prove however, decisive!
Qualifiers: Spain, Czech Republic
Belgium were many people’s dark horses before the tournament began but they’ve succumbed to Italian style on and off the pitch. The red and black combination is certainly eye-catching and as an idea seems to work but the reality is somewhat different with perhaps a black body and red chest working better?
The Italians can be relied on with their innate fashion sense and once again the blue shirt is a simple design classic; a shirt to fall in love with. As was their football against Belgium. Italy to reign once more? It will a tough job to stop them in the fashion stakes.
Sweden‘s yellow and blue colours will give them a run for their money. With Zlatan in his final European Championships, few would begrudge them qualifying for the knockout phase and who are we to disappoint?
Which just leaves the Republic of Ireland, the competition’s party team. Umbro’s kit keeps faith with the Irish green, resisting the temptation to put a lucky shamrock print in the design and so earning themselves a place in the knockout stages.
Qualifiers: Italy, Sweden, Republic of Ireland
Euro 2016 Group F
If Iceland are a refreshing presence on the pitch, their kit design takes it one higher. It reminds us of those worn in the film, Escape To Victory, and their opening draw against Portugal means they surely escape to the knockout rounds!
Hungary are also back in the big time, featuring at their first European Championships since 1972. The Magyars are no longer Mighty but the red, white and green home kit is respectful nod to the past and a classic Adidas design.
Portugal, Cristiano Ronaldo and all, managed to get the red Nike international template right. It looks better than the England interpretation, with the red shorts a refreshing green which they have worn previously.
Finishing the competition off, Austria have their traditional red design from Puma, replete with the expected broad white shoulder panel. It’s a familiar look but they miss out on qualifying with the tonal stripes just succumbing to the Portuguese less showy design in the toughest group of all to decide.
Qualifiers: Iceland, Hungary, Portugal.
Whether the fashion gods have got their choices to bear any resemblance to reality, we shall see this week as the group stages are decided!