They're an essential part of any tournament. A good one can shape how your team is remembered, a bad one can put a dampener on the whole thing. In light of the number of great kits on show in Russia this year, we've looked back through the archives to unearth some corkers. From bold patterns to iconic simplicity, here are the coolest
World Cup shirts of all time...
England (away) 1966
An easy one to start with; Bobby lifting the trophy, Geoff hitting a hat-trick, Nobby dancing. Are we biased? Yes. Is it cool? Definitely.
Peru (home) 1970
Effortlessly cool. The thick red sash on a plain white shirt is so simple but so bold. Bonus points for the deep v-neck that let Peru players show off their chest hair. You certainly don’t get that these days.
Italy (home) 2002
A pioneer of cool. Released at a time when the majority of football kits were baggy fitting and quite samey, Italy and Kappa teamed up to deliver a super sleek, skin-tight number that was years ahead of its time. Admittedly, it helped that everyone in the 2002 World Cup team had the hair of a Roman god, but it changed the kit game drastically. And that’s why it’s so cool.
Germany (home) 1990
Arguably one of the most iconic football shirts of all time. Germany succeed here where so many have failed; trying to incorporate your flag into your shirt. Even 28 years later, this design looks fresh - so much so that the 2018 World Cup kit is based on it. Uber cool.
Brazil (home) 1970
Maybe it’s the fact that it was worn by what is widely regarded as the greatest World Cup team of all time, but if it’s good enough for Pele, Carlos Alberto and Jairzinho, it’s certainly good enough for us. Looks as cool now as it did then.
Zaire (home) 1974
A great shirt by any one's standards, but it's the complete lack of respect for football kit convention that makes this one so cool. A home and away kit that share the same colour scheme? A badge that takes up the majority of the front of the shirt? Now that’s cool.
France (home) 1978
It’s all about the details here. The bold collar, gold emblem and French flag detailing between the Adidas stripes are all top drawer. Genuinely hard to believe it’s 40 years old.
Argentina (home) 1982
There are a number of Argentina kits to choose from, including the 2018 version, which is a beautifully modern take on the classic pale blue stripes. But we can't look past the Le Coq Sportif 1982 version in terms of coolness. It just works.
Colombia (away) 1990
A beautifully retro graphic design and another kit design that has been resurrected for this year’s tournament. If part of the criteria is “can you picture it being on the cover of an early 90s video game?” then this one tops the list. Fortunately enough we've just decided that it is, so it’s in.
Croatia (home) 1998
1998 was a good tournament, wasn’t it? Especially for the Croatians who, in their first ever World Cup appearance, romped to a third place finish. Their debut attire was equally as impressive, launching a pattern that is now synonymous with the Croatian national team. This one remains the coolest, though.
Nigeria (home) 2018
Is it too early to include it in all-time list? Perhaps. But this kit made jaws hit the floor when it was released earlier this year. Five million pre-orders tell you everything you need to know – this is already a kit for the ages.