As lovers of the game and the world around us, Slovakia’s topographical tops were right up there among our pre-tournament favourites.
The Repre (short for Reprezentácia of course) went back to blue home shirts for this summer’s European Championships and this heavily-patterned design takes a little explanation to fully appreciate its quality.
On first inspection, this is another grand, geometric print applied to the familiar chassis of a Nike football shirt with all the lightning bolts and collar features we’ve seen before.
The stroke of genius comes when you realise that the pattern itself serves as a neat little lesson in Slovak geography.
Now, we don’t need to tell you that Slovakia’s landscape is rugged and mountainous by its nature.
The Carpathian Mountains, including the Tatras and Fatras define much of the northern half of the country and it’s those jagged peaks that we see drawn across these shirts.
If you know your national anthems, then you’ll appreciate those bolts up the side of the ribs that probably only accidentally pay tribute to the Lightning Over the Tatras.
You hum it, we’ll sing it OK?
There are still those who are sniffy about Nike, as if they expect Admiral to come back and save us from the ills of “modern football.”
We think that a lot of that comes as a result of their particularly dull Euro 2016 collection, but since then, they have been right at the forefront of an exciting era for football shirts and this Slovakia shirt is further evidence of that.
Sadly, the Slovaks were eliminated at the group stage of Euro 2020 this week, after an error-strewn 5-0 defeat to Spain.
With a solitary victory over neighbours Poland to remember them by, it’s doubtful we’ll still be waxing lyrical about these by the time Euro 2024 comes around.
We only wish there were a few more footballing peaks to go along with the grand design, but for now, we’re just standing back and admiring the view.