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A Retro Kit Takeover for the 2018 Russia World Cup

Mark Simmonds

Digital Marketing Executive

Author Image: Mark Simmonds
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Now Thats What I Call Design – World Cup Kits Edition

Our weekly running series on Medium has made its debut appearance on the KIJO website.

The 2018 FIFA World Cup is almost upon us, and all eyes will turn to Russia where a month of high octane football action is set to unfold.

While plenty of hardcore fans will be completely transfixed by the drama on the pitch, people who love football are also known for obsessing over the kits.

Here’s a look at 10 national teams that have revamped their wardrobes for 2018, and the kits of the past that inspired these new designs.

A 1994 Inspiration for the ‘For Naija’ kit

nigeria world cup kit

Like all the best football kit designs, Nigeria’s 2018 effort blends historic call-backs with futuristic styling sensibilities.

Known as the ‘For Naja’ kit, it was crafted by Nike to offer double the vintage impact, referencing both the 1994 World Cup and 1996 Olympics at which the Nigerian team enjoyed unprecedented successes.

The electric green of the torso is offset by the black dashes of the sleeves, while the name of the kit is tied in which this ethos of forward-looking positivity, referencing the ‘new Nigeria’ that so many of its citizens are discussing today.

With more than three million replica kits already ordered by fans, it could be one of the important and impactful creations of the 2018 World Cup.

nigeria 1994 kit

Nigeria 1994 Kit

Shades of 1998 for England

england 2018 away kit

While the Nigerian kit is a riot of color, England has gone back to basics with a home kit that could best be described as unfussy.

The plain white shirt is adorned with nothing more than the three lions and the Nike swoosh, with a tiny flash of red piping on the collar being the only other feature. Plain blue shorts and white socks round off a kit that some will see as a return to form for England, at least in design terms.

There was an outcry amongst purists when in previous years some slight changes were made; just two years ago at Euro 2016 the fact that red socks had been chosen for the team was a talking point. Hopefully, this uncontroversial new offering will keep everyone happy and conjure memories of 1966. From analyzing closely we can also see shades of 1998 in the England away kit, with the red cross covering the front section of the kit. 

england world cup 1998 kit

England 1998 World Cup Kit

An inspiration of the 78-9 away shirt for Mexico

mexico world cup kit

Adidas has gone for a kit design that brings out a lot of the traditional colours of Mexico, from the green of the shirt to the white of the shorts and the red of the socks.

It is not an obvious boundary-pushing kit in many respects, featuring an underlying template that is common across a number of the manufacturer’s latest national team offerings.

Where things really get interesting are with the Mexico away kit, which has a lot more design flare on display. Horizontal stripes cut through a plain white shirt, while the rich red shorts and green-rimmed socks top the whole ensemble off a treat.

The inspiration for this away kit is derived from way back in 1978 when Levi’s was in charge of producing sportswear for Mexico. As such, retro football kit aficionados will be eager to snap up this future classic.

mexican 79 shirt

Late 80’s Throwback for Germany

germany 2018 awaty kit

Anyone who remembers Italia 90 will have immediate flashbacks to a time before the Berlin wall had fallen and West Germany walked away with their third victory when they see the all-new Adidas away kit design for 2018.

The fact that the team shares its first round group with Mexico means that this green shirt won’t get much of an outing. Thankfully it’s assumed that so many fans will spend their hard earned cash to get hold of a replica that the stands will be bristling with its subtly-patterned surface.

The white home top, with black detailing, is a little less awe-inspiring, but speaks to the stereotype of German efficiency and attention to detail, so it should find favour with supporters.

1988 World Cup Kit

1988 – 91 World Cup Kit

1993 Success for Argentina’s Home Kit

2018 Argentina World Cup Kit

Continuing Adidas’ battle to bring kits of the past back to life, Argentina gets a shirt that is designed to kindle memories of the 1993 Copa America, when the nation cemented its position as one of the leading powers in world football.

In a lot of ways, the Argentinean kit has remained the most resolutely retro of any national team over the years. The bright white and sky blue stripes are familiar to everyone, so a throwback like this isn’t as necessary as in some cases.

For fans who want something a little different, the design of the away kit is an all-new offering that doesn’t try to recreate past glories. It still uses blue as its core colour, but goes for a darker shade that some people might actually prefer over the home kit.

argentina 1993 home jersey

Argentina’s 1993 Home Kit

Throwback to the 1970 World Cup for Brazil

Unless you’re a colour nut, you might not realise that Brazil’s kit has gone through a number of different shades of yellow over the years.

In 2018 the yellow of its home kit has been selected by Nike to replicate the same tone as was used way back in 1970, when Brazil battled to victory in Mexico against a hungry Italy. Meanwhile the compact green collar matches the hue of Nike’s logo. The five green stars that sit above the team shield are a display of the country’s dominance of the sport over the decades.

The away kit is similarly nostalgic, with its star-patterned blue shirt set to remind fans of the 1958 World Cup Final in which Brazil claimed victory over Sweden and walked away with their first ever Jules Rimet Trophy.

=Brazil 2018 World Cup Kit

Brazil 1970 World Cup Kit

Brazil 1970 World Cup Kit

1994 exact replica for Spain home kit

spain 2018 kit

The 1990s is back with a vengeance once more thanks to Spain’s home kit, evoking USA 94 and bathing players in an intimidating red, with the right side mingling in jagged streaks of yellow and flashes of blue.

For the away kit the clock is turned back another 10 years to the 80s, and at first glance it’s not clear whether the shirt is plain white or light blue. In truth it’s a mixture of the two, with angular blue arrows formed from geometric shapes.

The home kit is definitely the better of the two, with some critics writing off the away offering as forgettable or even a straight-up failure. While it may be a little uninspired, it’s far from a travesty.

Spain 1994 World Cup Kit

1994 Inspiration for Saudia Arabia

Saudia Arabia 2018 World Cup Kit

The Saudi Arabia home kit has divided audiences. On the one hand, the simplicity of its white design and the positioning of the player number beneath the Nike logo have been praised. On the other, the lurid green detailing is seen as being a stain on an otherwise classically composed kit.

The away kit is much more appealing, with a deeper green defining the shirt, shorts, and socks in a calm and collected way. It looks almost velvet-like from a distance, like the baize of a billiard table, giving it a gentlemanly appearance and ensuring that Saudi Arabian players will fit in nicely with the vintage vibe of the entire tournament.

saudia arabia 1994

Saudia Arabia 1994

Colombia Resurrecting Italia ’90

World Cup 2018 Columbia Kit

Following in the footsteps of Germany, the Colombian team kit is pulled from the pages of the history books and builds on the heritage of Italia 90. Back then the country may not have made it to the final four, but its performance exceeded expectations and its kit became iconic.

The home kit is arguably the most desirable of the lot, with lemon yellow offset by red and blue panels slashing in from the sleeves. The away kit is also a head-turner, with blue shirt, bright orange shorts and blue socks proving to be yet another classic 90s combo.

However well Colombia manages to do during the 2018 World Cup, its kit designs are enough to make it a winner in our eyes.

1990's Italia Retro Kit

1990’s Italia Retro Kit for Columbia


Keeping to their two predominant colors Australia have opted for a trademark green and gold number for their home kit. With a blast from the past for the away kit. The sharp graphic on the away shirt is a reference to the sharp points on the kit worn on November 16, 2005,”.

Australia’s 2005 Kit

Have we missed one?

As we have only included 10 of this year’s World Cup kits, maybe you have spotted a throwback moment on another countries kit. Be sure to send it into and we will add it to the article!

Further Reading

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