Euro 2016 has reached the business end of the tournament: the last four will be whittled down to the finalists and then, as in Highlander, there can be only one. Winner, that is.
But first we look at the last four.
Portugal v Wales
Red, a hugely symbolic colour. Pride, passion; everything which has been missing from Portugal‘s play since they reached the knockout stage with the fortuitous 3 – 3 draw against Hungary. Using Nike’s template for the summer and next season, the red of the body gives way to the darker shoulder panels. Red shorts and dark red socks; is it a signal to stop them in their tracks?
The Welsh, in their black away kit with its tonal horizontal stripes, represent Adidas in this match. The German kit manufacturer taking on rivals Nike in both fixtures should enjoy victory with the variety Wales kit design better the bland and uninspiring Portuguese.
Result: Wales in the black as they leave Portugal in mourning.
France v Germany
The footballing heavyweights and in kit design as well. Euro 2016 offers Germany the chance to emulate Spain’s achievement of being World Champions as well as reigning over Europe. But this is France, home soil and whilst no other country has made the Nike template, Les Bleus have, and with some aplomb as well.
The French blue is stylish, the darker contrasting sleeves and shoulders work wonderfully in their kit. Not that the Germany are slouches either. The white shirt is a footballing classic, mainly thanks to their success down the years. Adidas eschewed patterns for this kit. There are no diamonds or chevrons, not even a tonal white pattern. It’s simple and a footballing classic because of it.
Result: France win on a penalty shootout
All of which means that the final of Euro 2016 will be:
France v Wales
Two worthy kits; football style served up in Paris.
France, all in blue, face Wales, returning to their traditional red and white. The fire-breathing dragon. Whilst everyone was caught up in Iceland‘s drama or England‘s misfortune, the Welsh despatch the Belgians with ease to make the last four, reaching the final over the lacklustre Portuguese. On these pages at least!
The French? What can you say about the only country to have made the home and away Nike template, even throwing in the surprise of dark navy shorts for their match against Albania. And it’s that sophistication which will win the day for them.
Home advantage over the visitors’ passion. Panache over pragmatism: Les Bleus won’t be red-faced at the final whistle.
All kits featured in this series of posts are available in our online store here.