After days of research, debate, and several fights over the merits of different variations on shiny polyester, we've come up with the definitive countdown of the 12 most stylish World Cup kits ever. Enjoy part one, check out part two here, and hit us up on @ASOS_Menswear if you violently disagree with our rankings. As a bonus, you can also read our take on the 2014 shirts.
Coolest Kits: Part One
By Matt Glazebrook, 1 June 2014
In 1990, Costa Rica turned up for their first round match in Turin, Italy, dressed as Juventus. A smart move – hosts always appreciate a gesture of gratitude from their guests, and Juve's black and white striped kit (originally borrowed from Notts County, footy fact fans) is an all-time classic.
Nigeria created a stir at their first World Cup appearance in 1994, and not just with their barnstorming run to the second round after topping their group. The Super Eagles lined up in a strikingly modern kit: white with a green and black, kente cloth-style, checkerboard pattern that will forever be associated with Rashidi Yekini screaming into the back of a goal net.
Team America have generally done their darndest to portray themselves as a serious football nation, favouring hardworking midfielders and European-style supporter culture over U! S! A! razzmatazz. The exception was their 1994 away kit, which embraced all-American stars and a blue jean-inspired denim effect. Yankee doodle dandy.
It's not always a good idea to style your kit after your country's leading export (who could forget the Swiss 'cuckoo clock' fiasco of 1954?) but Denmark's bacon-flavoured 1986 effort was a triumph. Designed by Danish brand Hummel, its mixture of pinstripes, halves and streetwear flourishes was a fittingly quirky and modern accompaniment to the free-flowing 'Danish Dynamite' style of play supplied by Michael Laudrup and co.
Unsurprisingly, as the undisputed daddies of World Cup football, Brazil tend to keep things traditional with their kits – well, as traditional as you can with a slightly jarring colour palette of canary yellow, blue and green. Consequently we could have chosen almost any iteration. 1982's short-shorts version was tempting, but it's hard to argue with the timeless 1970 edition – in the 90s, you couldn't walk into a pub without seeing a sea of them.
England tend to be a bit po-faced in their World Cup shirt choices, going out on penalties in a succession of austere, all-white numbers. Top marks to kit makers Admiral, then, for bucking the trend and throwing absolutely everything at the 1982 top: mesh effect, bold red and blue shoulder panels, stripes of varying widths, compulsory moustaches...