Ahhh Croatia. The amethyst of the Adriatic. From the dreamy Dinaric’s, to the isles of Istria and the damask of Dalmatia, Croatia is a stunning, beautiful and unique country with a history of stunning, beautiful and unique football shirts. Possibly the most recognisable and certainly the most striking national shirt in European football, Croatia’s shirts for the first ever international tournament, Euro 96 in England, were made from stitching together bunting from a Dubrovnik rave.
Updating Croatia’s home shirt must be one of the toughest gigs in the football shirt game. It simply has to be a red-and-white all-over checked number and there is only so much you can do with that brief. To be fair to Nike (who took over the gig from Lotto when Bosnia was still Serbian) they’ve always produced and this time round they’ve excelled themselves.
The idea for the stretched pattern clearly came to a designer one morning when his partner dragged the gingham duvet over to their half of the bed. We’ve all been there when the heave-ho of a duvet struggle makes a bugger of the pattern but in this case Nike and the Croats are clear beneficiaries.
One possible sporting downside is that Luka Modric and co. could struggle to win free-kicks for shirt-pulling when it looks that way before kick-off. Worth it though, results hardly matter when you’re strutting about like a medieval Pannonian peacock.
(Just look at at ffs. Stunning. Them socks!)
The away kit for this summer’s French invasion is if anything even more spectacular than the red-and-white offering. The checkerboard pattern is picked out in differing shades of blue. In their marketing blurb both Nike and the Hrvatska FA witter on about some sort of representation of Croatia’s islands but balls to all that…just look at it. Fit!