World Cup 2018: The Schadenfreude Shirts

Despite their status as pre-tournament favourites, we have seen the last of Germany’s glorious retro-inspired shirts at this summer’s World Cup.

Across Planet Football, supporters took joy from the underdog upsets cast by Mexico and South Korea, and perhaps revelled a little in the anguish of Joachim Löw’s men as their grasp on the World Cup slipped through their fingers in Russia.

Taking pleasure from another man’s pain is not something we necessarily encourage, but few outside of Germany would not have punched the air as the defending champions exited the World Cup at the first stage for the first time in 80 years.

After all, football is built on the big boys getting bloody noses.

Maybe Adidas signalled things to come with their shirt designs for the summer? Whilst some loved the classic, clean German styling, others called them a lazy re-hash of something that worked before.

For football kit connoisseurs, the reinterpretation of the “Turin green” away shirts of Italia ’90 were a particularly beautiful affair, but Adidas’ re-work of those two classic 1990s kits will not carry their own history of triumph and will forever be associated with Germany’s worst World Cup performance in living memory.

Since Brazil 2014, Germany had failed to change, failed to adapt, and failed to replace big players. The world had taken four years to work out their weaknesses and as they squandered chance after chance in Russia, the old adage that “you can’t write off the Germans” had never seemed so far from the truth.

The Italia ’90 inspired Germany home kit

Watching Manuel Neuer morph into Rene Higuita before our eyes was like the Death Star collapsing at the hands of the plucky Rebel Alliance. We expected a last minute VAR decision to go in their favour yet instead, it was South Korea who prospered from new technology as the seemingly invincible Germany were toppled in revolutionary fashion.

Whilst rivals may see their routes through to Russian glory being a little easier to tread without the shadow of the Germans in the tournament, there are many of us a little sad to see the back of Thomas Müller and Co; if only for the absence of those beautiful pieces of German design from Adidas.

What did you think of Germany’s kits at this summer’s World Cup?

Please let us know in the comments section below!

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