As the international break draws to a close, we head to Paris to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the French Football Federation and a classy tribute shirt for Les Bleus.
Nike presented France with special edition centenary shirts for their European Championships qualification win over Iceland on Monday night, as goals from Samuel Umtiti, Oliver Giroud, Kylian Mbappe and Antoine Griezmann gave the world champions a 4-0 victory at the Stade de France.
The simplicity of the classically cut shirts brought to mind the Tailored by Umbro kits worn by England at the 2010 World Cup, but sadly Nike’s clean aesthetic became criminally cluttered with the placement of the large golden FIFA World Cup Winners shield in the centre of the players’ chests.
That well-intentioned badge of honour ruined the look of two very fine Germany shirts in Russia last summer, and the sooner FIFA agrees to move it to the sleeves or allows to disappear entirely, the better it will be for football kit enthusiasts.
After all, if Les Bleus ever needed reminding of their achievements, they have two fairly subtle gold stars to help trigger memories of their mission to Moscow, as well as that night under a Parisien sunset 21 years ago.
We have to applaud Nike for bringing royal blue back to the French palette after Didier Deschamps men lifted the World Cup in a darker hue last year.
Nike completed the traditional French look with a smart, buttoned polo collar, white shorts and red socks to complete an elegant tricolore design.
The shirts were elevated further by the presence of those 2 gold stars above the famous French cockerel, and Nike’s decision to weave their own swoosh logo into the royal blue of the shirt deserves praise indeed.
The finishing touches of modern fabrics and a slimmer fitting but not skin-tight cut ensured the jerseys remained comfortable yet functional and helped Paul Pogba et al take one big step towards qualification for Euro 2020.
However, those wishing to say bon anniversaire to the FFF and part with their centimes will have to hurry as only 7,000 of the limited edition shirts will be sold.
What do you think of the French Centenary shirts and that cumbersome FIFA World Cup Winners badge?