If you're in agreement with FFT, you'll be nodding your head when we say Brazil 2014 is perhaps the greatest World Cup for kits since France 1998 – and dare we say it... ever?
Whether trickling steadily through to the last 16, or heading home under a cloud of disappointment, most nations can say they've looked the part along the way (even England, for whom there is good news below).
So we decided to stage a World Cup of Kits to see which tops are the tops. Read on to find out who makes it through the group stage and beats off all in their path to claim our completely pointless gong (come on though, it's fun right?)...
Storming to the top of Group A are on-pitch disasters Cameroon, who momentarily remember their big-cat status by tearing the shirt off Neymar’s back before calling him names and whipping him until he cries (about eight seconds, we made it). Those Indomitable Lions know how to pull off a good kit – see their 2002 effort, in which they won the Africa Cup of Nations with no sleeves. The mavericks.
Brazil should have history on their side: despite heavy defeat to Cameroon, the famous yellow picked by a Uruguayan in a colouring competition is good enough to see off Croatia’s tedious efforts. Red-and-white checks lads, we get it.
Still, neither are a match for Mexico and their AC/DC-inspired lightning bolt (note: it probably wasn’t AC/DC-inspired). You’ve been Thunderstruck, fools.
Spain have got to win something, right? Their pinstripe pick earns them top spot here, edging out the Netherlands and their minimalistic orange creation. Judges were said to have been “dazzled” by the Oranje’s effort, so much so that scoring was temporarily abandoned while officials had a lie down. Health and safety, and all that.
The collared Aussies go out on account of having a collar (what do they think this is, 1998?), while the party-hard Chileans finish bottom with an uninspiring mass of red (and a collar).
Cool diagonal stripes on yellow give the Colombians an easy pass to the last 16 – even without ‘Le Tigre’ Radamel Falcao to don the Tricolor gear this summer.
Greece’s smart white effort with blue trim is tidy enough (despite having... y'know), but it’s just not quite good enough to outmuscle Japan and their sharp traditional blue strip. Complete with patterned sun spray on the front and a splash of paint on the back (bit weird, we know), the Samurai Warriors’ clobber is good enough to make it through Group C. The less said about the Ivory Coast’s, the better. It’s just... sigh.
4. Ivory Coast
It’s tighter than Arsene Wenger in a recession, but Uruguay’s sky blue nabs a safe passage to the knockouts. England fans won’t like it, having seen enough of Luis Suarez's nipples before he took three points off them, but the Three Lions’ classic white number is good enough to make sure they aren't back home before the postcards.
Italy’s sleeve flags are smart, sure, but we wanted to make sure England won something. And that means bad news for Costa Rica, whose bargain bin-pilfered effort isn't getting past us. Minus points for that skulduggery.
4. Costa Rica
Right, forget what we said OK? France’s (collared) kit is ruddy excellent. Perhaps it’s the seductive shade of blue… or its simplicity… or just that the FFF badge looks pretty swish. Through a combination of all three it wipes the floor with the rest of the group, much like les Bleus' on-pitch showings at this World Cup.
The real battle comes for second place, where Honduras and their blue-trimmed white kit nudge out the Swiss. There’s not much separating the pair, other than the former’s gigantic ‘H’ with five stars. Most nations have to win stuff to get them, but we admire the North Americans’ put-‘em-there-like-you-just-don’t-care policy. If the United States did it they’d be laughing.
Oh yeah, there’s Ecuador too. Meh.
Argentina bag an easy top spot here on account of most other teams' kits being a bit crap. There’s nowt wrong with the Albiceleste effort mind, which combines those classic blue-and-white stripes with classy black and gold trim. Iran have a lion (or something like that) on theirs, however, which is awesome.
Nigeria decided to go all Seattle Sounders on us this World Cup, ditching the dark green of old for a lighter shade intended to annoy former Super Eagle Obafemi Martins (now of Sounders fame and still only 29, says Wiki. Who are we to argue?).
They called it the Group of Death for its football, but where kits are concerned this one really is a proper scrap. Germany’s shirt was greeted with widespread approval upon its release (HAHAHA, LOOK HOW EFFICIENT THEY ARE LOL) – an entirely fair reaction given that it’s effin' great.
Dark horses Portugal have turned heads with their futuristic stripes, even if Cristiano Ronaldo has spent the majority of the tournament sulking in them. Then there’s the USA’s effort, which at first looks pretty nice until you realise you're basically just watching 10 Firecracker Popsicles running around a pitch. Plus, they’re deducted points anyway for making a crap joke about Germany’s (“hey, the freeway called - they want their chevrons back!!!”) before engaging in a pally back-slap session.
At the bottom are Ghana. If only their collar region matched the rest of their shirt. Although it would probably look something like this. Jazzy.
They saved the toughest one till last. Belgium’s status as top dogs goes without question: the Red Devils’ shirt befits the exciting whippersnappers wearing it, with its sprayed-on crown and delightful yellow-black furnishings making it a tournament favourite.
It’s spot No.2 that takes some deciding. We really couldn’t choose, though, so had a thought: who would win in a fight between Vladimir Putin, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Zinedine Zidane? You can't bet against the man who goes horse riding bare chested, likes judo and could probably destroy us all at the push of a button. Sure, Zidane could just headbutt him in the chest but we’re past that now. Ki-moon might just run away.
4. South Korea
To the knockouts we go!
Cameroon vs Netherlands
You're going to need more than shining day-glo to beat the Africans' intricately-patterned masterpiece. The Oranje isn't quite that brilliant.
Spain vs Mexico
You've got to give the Mexicans credit for going off-template, which unfortunately can't be said for the Spaniards. Originality and excitement trumps polished work here.
Colombia vs England
The clash we thought might happen on the pitch has been reduced to this *sob*. You can't knock England's all-white simplicity, but they're just a last-16 team for that reason, Gary. Colombia's animalistic effort sends them through.
Uruguay vs Japan
Edinson Cavani exhales too much and shreds his Celeste shirt. Japan awarded a 3-0 walkover.
France vs Iran
It's an absolute trouncing from our friends across the Channel. France's pristine predator powers its way to the quarters.
Argentina vs Honduras
FFT is a fan of the Hondurans' gear, but does it quite brag the brilliance to knock out stylish Argentina? It's a no from us. They and their big 'H' are on their way home.
Germany vs Russia
Putin's not going to be happy with this one – a comprehensive win for the Germans and their 1990-inspired masterpiece.
Belgium vs Portugal
It's the early heavyweight knockout clash we all wanted – but only one of these beauties can make it to the last eight. FFT loves Belgium and all its bells and whistles, it really does, but anyone who isn't mightily impressed by the dreamy burgundy of Portugal is dead inside... DEAD, YOU HEAR US?
To the quarter-finals!
Cameroon vs Colombia
Lions vs tigers (well sort of, they've got stripes) – and there's only one winner. Cameroon's shirt might look like a Topman knock-off, but as far as football shirts go it's the bees' knees.
France vs Germany
FFT really didn't want to have to do this, but such is life that we must. These two efforts are worthy of a final showdown, but in the end we're plumping for the sheer class of France. Karim Benzema has never looked so good in front of goal.
Mexico vs Japan
Japan's well-designed get-up was enough to get them this far, but now it's the end of the line. The pizazz of the lean green Mexican machine is too hot for them to handle.
Argentina vs Portugal
Lionel Messi has shone in Argentina's smart summer strip – but to make it through to the semi-finals you need more than just your traditional colours. Sure, the gold-and-black trimmings are nice but they're no match for the Portuguese trend-setter (no, definitely not Raul Meireles).
Hi-ho, hi-ho, it's off to the semi-finals we go...
Cameroon vs France
France couldn't have picked a tougher route to the final if they'd tried – and it's for this reason only that les Bleus are falling at the penultimate hurdle. Their shirt is worthy of a World Cup victory, in FFT's humble opinion, but nobody has pulled it out of the bag quite like Cameroon this summer.
Mexico vs Portugal
Portugal's kit had enough about it to see off Belgium and Argentina, but it's the jazzy, rough-and-ready product that FFT is endorsing here. Clearly the design bods of Mexico knew they were on to something when they combined pinstripes with a lightning bolt. Even we realise that this shirt getting to the final is like the Mexicans doing it in real life, mind.
Drum roll please... who's our winner?
Cameroon vs Mexico
They started life together in Group A, and end it showered in the glory of being FFT's 2014 World Cup of Kits finalists. But there can only be one winner, and it's an easy decision. We congratulate Cameroon and their masterful effort in Brazil; it's got pictures of lions on it, words, and even a cracking little badge. The Indomitable Lions might be utter failures on the pitch, but go out knowing the fashion police won't be on their case. Except for maybe Benoit Assou-Ekotto.
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