Look good, play good: The best jerseys in the 2018 World Cup

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The biggest spectacle of football (or soccer if you’re one of those people) is upon us.

The most anticipated stage in world football at the national level will be held in Russia this year — the 2018 men’s FIFA World Cup. There will be no shortage of visually delightful and extravagant performances from the likes of Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Neymar and many more, as well as unforgettable fan moments such as the Icelanders’ “skol chant” that marked its place in history in the 2016 UEFA European Championship in France.

When millions of people are watching, either in attendance or in front of a TV, what they see is important and performance is not everything. Costumes also need to be memorable.

Now, let’s look at the best (and worst) jerseys that national teams will sport in Russia.

Before starting the list, it’s important to point out that even though some designs will make the list of worst jerseys with their bizarre styles, they are still well-appreciated for trying something new compared to the plain-old and simple monochrome jerseys that some countries choose to put on.

Home and away jerseys will be differentiated in the list, as it is apparent that creating two good jerseys for the same team is not easy (hard to say why though).

10) Uruguay (home kit)

In general, this is nothing unexpected: a sky blue jersey. But there is a twist — the huge sun-like design woven into the front of the jersey is inspired by the “Un sol para Atlántida” monument in southern Uruguay. This is a good example of small details making a big difference and is the only reason Uruguay makes this list.

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9) Senegal (home kit)

Puma made this plain white jersey with a printed cultural design concept to help Senegal make the list at the ninth spot. The away kit is the same jersey with green as the predominant color, but white looks better, at least online. The design is a lion with crafty lines symbolizing the team’s “Lions of Teranga” nickname.

 

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8) Australia (home kit)

Australia’s jersey might not be the easiest pick for this list but it deserves a spot — not because of the template, but because of the logo. The details are everything in sports and a plain yellow shirt with fancy sleeves is already better than a plain yellow shirt. The unique graphic print on the sleeves already adds to the fun and excitement of the World Cup. The logo, however, is very well-matched to the jersey with a kangaroo and an ostrich looking good for the Socceroos, the nickname of the Australian national team.

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7) South Korea (away kit)

South Korea may not be the most interesting team to watch in the World Cup but the team has quite an interesting away jersey. A white base is an easy go for any national team but the bold red and blue graphic defines this jersey. It is supposed to be a tiger figure, which is also featured on the stylishly black-and-white logo. However, it is safe to say that the bold figure better resembles Korea’s geography. That’s probably not what Nike thought of, as making the South blue and the North red would be awfully political, but if the designer pulled this off, “KUDOS!”

6) Serbia (away kit)

A very nice jersey from Puma for the Serbian team that will try to pull off some upsets in the tournament. What defines this jersey is the country’s flag running down the center front with the blank in the middle reserved for the number. It is a simple design but definitely one that will look good on the field.

5) Brazil (away kit)

The away jersey for Brazil is definitely futuristic and stylish, covered with large stars in tones of blue. The stars lay over each other, giving the jersey tonal differences. It is one of the many Nike AeroSwift designs in the World Cup. It features lines on the sleeves, which is the trademark of the template, but fortunately the lines are subtle.

The jersey resembles what Brazil will try to achieve in Russia. A bunch of stars broken into pieces at home four years ago trying to come back together and pull it off on the field. The jersey looks good on paper, as the Brazil national team does, but everything will be decided on the pitch.

4) France (away kit )

Traditionally France’s away jersey is predominantly white, but this year Nike outdid itself by incorporating randomly patterned lines in the colors of the French flag. It is definitely an impressive style that compels fans to wear the uniform possibly during daily life as well.

The red and blue stripes on the back collar also look stylish, and a hexagon inside the collar has the phrase “nos differences nous unissent,” which means “our differences unite us.”

France’s home jersey is also worth mentioning, as it is one of the best Nike AeroSwift templates, with a dark and light blue combination.

3) Japan (home kit)

Most of Adidas’ World Cup jerseys bring back tradition with modernized versions of past jerseys from the ‘80s and ‘90s. That might be why these jerseys were only made for Japan, as they are not eye-catching. This home kit is very special and it also brings back tradition, but not from past jerseys. Instead it is inspired by traditional samurai armor. Nothing more to say here. That is enough to make it to the top three. Let’s see how the players will fight in Russia.

2) England (away kit)

England got the best Nike AeroSwift jersey, with red and a subtle cross pattern that matches the trademark lines on the sleeves. It’s a nice version of England’s traditional red away kit. The cross emphasizes the flag and is just stylish enough to be the runner-up on this list.

1) Nigeria (home kit)

Definitely the most outstanding jersey in the tournament, and one that will mark itself in history — a chevron print design with light green, white and black as the colors. It is colorful, fun and a little bit crazy — exactly what the World Cup offers every four years. Expect people to buy this jersey even if they don’t know anything about the team (this is a reminder that they should). It is a no-brainer.

Stay tuned for the worst jerseys list, but for now, let’s just hype up the World Cup with these good ones.

Can Sariöz covers rugby. Contact him at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @can_sarioz