The Croatia 2022 World Cup home kit is here… and unlike Nikola Kalinic's 2018 tournament – Kalinic was sent home from Russia after refusing to come on as a sub -there are no surprises here.
By now, the red squares on white have become synonymous with Luka Modric and co., with Nike not really deviating too much from tradition since picking up the reins from Lotto in 2000. This time around though, there are fewer red squares. Shock!
Adidas and Puma have already released their World Cup kits, with the Swoosh now following – the Nike away shirt for the Croatians has dropped, too. Almost all World Cup shirts have now been released ahead of November's tournament.
The Croatia 2022 World Cup home kit is a fresh update without reinventing anything
There's only so much you can do with this design, after all. Nike have made the checkers really big and really small. They've made red more prominent and white more prominent. They've made the pattern wavy and made it straight again. Now, this one feels like a reference to the iconic 1998 top.
There are clear differences but this new effort has more white in it than perhaps Nike have ever gone, recalling the look of the France '98 vintage that Davor Suker top-scored in and led Croatia to the semi-finals wearing. Despite the potential for looking quite silly, this shirt actually doesn't – and it's a fine update on an icon.
The back, as you can imagine omits a few more squares, crossing the bridge nicely for how to leave a plain back for the numbers without ruining the design. Then there's the central badge and Swoosh – which makes sense, here.
That's it, though. No icon on the back of the neck, no gold, blue or even purple embellishments. No cuff and not even a collar of any kind: this is a particularly stripped down effort.
It's a beautiful shirt – but so are all of Croatia's other home jerseys. There's nothing that separates this one from the backcatalogue. Sure, it might even be the nicest at the entire tournament: it's sure to be someone's favourite, right? But it's unlikely to stick in the mind beyond December.
Still, this will become iconic, should Modric and co. go one better than last time. Maybe we love that Suker shirt because it's associated with the good times? This one is certainly fitting enough for a world champion.
Buy the shirt
Nike Croatia 2022 World Cup home shirt
Our expert review:
Reasons to buy
Reasons to avoid
What is the sizing like with the Nike Croatia 2022 World Cup home kit?
The sizing with all Nike football kits is natural enough for your size – though the cuffs and collar might be a little tight if you're looking for a slimmer fit.
Nike have a full size guide here.
What is the difference between the match and regular versions of the Nike Croatia 2022 World Cup home kit?
The match version of the shirt is the official jersey that the players will wear for matches. The only differences are minimal, usually in the material being slightly different and the badges and logos being woven into the shirt rather than printed on.
"This one pairs authentic design details with lightweight, quick-drying fabric to help keep the world's biggest football stars cool and comfortable on the pitch. This product is made from 100% recycled polyester fibres," Nike says.
"Nike Dri-FIT ADV technology combines moisture-wicking fabric with advanced engineering and features to help you stay dry and comfortable. Informed by athlete testing, open-hole fabric in high-heat zones helps you stay cool when the game heats up."
If you want to pay extra for that added quality, you can buy the authentic shirt here. In terms of design or feel though, the regular version of the top is perfectly good and just the same to the naked eye.
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Mark White has been a staff writer on FourFourTwo since joining in January 2020, writing pieces for both online and the magazine. An encyclopedia of football shirts and boots knowledge – both past and present – Mark has also been to the FA Cup and League Cup finals for FFT and has written pieces for the mag ranging on subjects from Bobby Robson's season at Barcelona to Robinho's career. He once saw Tyrone Mings at a petrol station in Bournemouth but felt far too short to ask for a photo.