Coolest kits: 2014
By Matt Glazebrook, 4 June 2014
We've shown you our pick of the most stylish kits ever, but now it's time to see how 2014's versions stack up. As ever, it's a bit of a mixed bag: England's dull all-white effort is reminiscent of a 50s public school PE kit; Japan are offering an eye-wateringly high-vis away top; and Colombia have leapt aboard the social-media bandwagon with an on-shirt hashtag.
On the plus side, there's Mexico, with its retro 80s zig-zags making it the hipster's choice. Italy have gone all sharp and sophisticated with a cheeky Italian flag detail on the inner collar, while Iran have stuck a bloody great cheetah on their shirts. Grrr!
But, we hear you ask, which tops are the very best? Well, we've only gone and ranked them.
Their home top stays classic with early 80s three-stripe Adidas styling and a nice black colour contrasting with the lovely pale blue stripes. But Argentina's away top is a real beauty: horizontal stripes of varying shades of progressively deeper blue, like an upside-down swimming pool.
Ghana's plain white first choice kit isn't much to write home about, but their brilliant red change strip is a whole different ball game. As a rule, shiny watermarks on footy tops are a bit naff and early 90s, but the Black Stars have thrown so much at theirs – zig-zags, stars, team names, nicknames – that they've elevated the humble footy top to an exciting new level of ravey, summery fun.
So, which country do you support? I don’t know – shall we have a look at the great big H on the breast pocket of your shirt and have a guess? Honduras' alphabet-inspired design is so gloriously simple yet effective, it’s a wonder no one else thought to try it.
As with all Nike kits at this tournament, France's follows a template of big block colours and oh-so-tasteful traditional styling. What elevates les Bleus’ version is the lush, vintage-feeling dark blue of the shirt, contrasting elegantly with white shorts and red socks.
Gone are the days when Germany were a ruthlessly efficient major tournament-winning machine (lately they're more apt to make a relaxed, freewheeling journey to the semi-finals) but they've already secured one major trophy in 2014: best kit at the World Cup. The home version is classic white, with a funky, geometric arrow design in shades of red, orange and gold. The away kit veers more classical, with red and black hoops that evoke Brazilian club giants Flamengo. Sehr gut.