Uniforms that never should have made the World Cup

The 10 worst uniforms in the tournament’s history (photo gallery)
James Doyle

USA 1994: These two efforts from the host of perhaps the ugliest World Cup in history are symbolic of an age when the U.S. really just didn’t “get” soccer.

Next: Mexico 1994

(REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson)

Mexico 1994: With a keeper that’s more optical illusion than athlete, and outfield players sporting an ill-advised Aztec motif, Mexico fell victim to the ugly uniform mania of the mid-‘90s.

Next: South Africa 1998

(REUTERS/Juda Ngwenya)

South Africa 1998: This year’s hosts may look smart now, but they have an ugly history with this memorable number.

Next: Denmark 1986

(Bongarts/Getty Images)

Denmark 1986: This number was reminiscent of a bad set of kid’s pyjamas, but Denmark was anything but sleepy, winning all three group games.

Next: Ivory Coast 2010

(AP/Armando Franca)

Ivory Coast 2010 (Third uniform): We actually love their orange uniforms (above), but we hope they aren’t forced to bring this Hamburgler-inspired get-up out of the kit bag.

Next: Colombia 1990

(David Cannon/Staff/Getty Images)

Colombia 1990 (Goalkeeper): The Colombian keeper at Italia ’90 seemed determined to distract opposing strikers with his poorly-chosen shirts. And, for the record: yes, those appear to be shoulder pads. Yikes.

Next: Zaire 1974

(Bob Thomas/Getty Images)

Zaire 1974: Perhaps not ugly so much as silly, featuring the least scary jungle cat since Tony the Tiger. Fittingly, the Zairian side was a bit of a joke, too, allowing 14 goals in three games (including nine from Yugoslavia) and giving us one of the World Cup’s most bafflingly absent-minded moments.

Next: Jamaica 1998

(Stu Forster/Getty Images)

Jamaica 1998: The Reggae Boys’ first World Cup experience is more noted for the shirt-to-shorts patterned motif than their results: they suffered a 5-0 loss to Argentina and crashed out at the group stage.

Next: Croatia 1998

(AP Photo/Darko Bandic)

Croatia 1998: The Croatians performed admirably in their first post-Yugoslavia World Cup, despite these checkerboard shirts. (Note: above photo is of 2006 jersey)

Next: Slovenia 2010

(AP Photo/Martin Mejia)

Slovenia 2010: Another for the silly column, Slovenia’s current shirt seems inspired by someone who was never really all that good at kicking a ball.

James Doyle writes for Some Canadian Guys Writing About Soccer, which takes a passionate (and often irreverent) look at the Canadian soccer scene, major international tournaments and all sorts of odds and ends related to the beautiful game.

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