Qatar World Cup 2022: the national team kits and the stories behind them, from Denmark’s protest shirts to Mexico’s ancient art
- The teams who qualified for football’s World Cup are all decked out in fancy new kits – except Canada, who weren’t expected to qualify
- Apart from the Swiss away kit, and Denmark’s ‘protest’ kit, they are well designed and reflect the nations’ cultures
The Qatar 2022 Fifa World Cup is just days away, and as anticipation for the tournament reaches fever pitch, fans have been checking out their kits, which have almost all been confirmed ahead of the tournament.
Even the local organisers appear keen to get in on the action as the Qatari authorities unveiled their various security uniforms in the same manner as the football teams.
All nations will be decked out in brand new home and away kits, with the exception of Canada, who was seen as so unlikely to qualify 18 months ago, that Nike did not create a kit. The Canadians will be playing in their first World Cup since 1986 in the same designs they wore during qualifying.
It takes around 18 months to design and make these kits.
Denmark – home, away and third kits
The Danish kits for the tournament have garnered the most attention after manufacturers Hummel revealed the thinking behind the look.
Denmark’s trio of Euro ’92-inspired kits are all monochrome – red for home, white for away and an all-black third shirt – each in the “blackout” style, so they look plain from a distance.
Kit manufacturers Hummel explained in a statement: “We don’t wish to be visible during a tournament that has cost thousands of people their lives.”
Black according to Hummel reflects the “colour of mourning”, as they look to distance themselves from host Qatar’s alleged human rights violations. The hosts have denied any such accusations.
France – away kit
The World Cup holders have a second star over their crest after triumphing in Russia four years ago, but it is their second strip that deserves the awards this time around. France’s white away jersey channels the French fabric technique of toile du Jouy to embed iconic imagery into the all-over graphic print.
These include the cockerel of the French Football Federation, the Arc de Triomphe in Paris and the famed Clairefontaine youth football academy.
Mexico – home and away kits
If the World Cup was handed out for kit design, then El Tri would stand a strong chance. A green home shirt, featuring the feathered headdress of the Aztec deity Quetzalcoatl, is paired with an off-white away kit with both featuring Miztec art to “summon the fighting spirit of the nation”, according to Adidas.
The change shirt is even more eye-catching, with an all-over red print using five ancient symbols and detailing from the serpent-god Quetzalcoatl on the collar.
Ecuador – away kit
An ongoing legal challenge from the Chilean Football Association over the eligibility of Byron Castillo hangs over the Ecuadorians, but they should be playing in the opening game against the hosts on November 20.
If they are in Qatar, then their blue away jersey is one of the stand-outs, featuring an Inca-inspired geometric design with flag detailing on the sleeves. Should Chile win their appeal, the kit stands to develop cult status.
Argentina – away kit
The home shirt continues a fine tradition, but it is the change shirt that might live long in the memory, especially if star player Lionel Messi can go one better than in 2014 and finally lift the World Cup. The purple design has big ideas behind it.
“Its vibrant purple hues, representing gender equality, combine with fiery graphics in reference to the national flag’s iconic Sun of May,” says Adidas.
England – away kit
The Three Lions’ change jersey riffs off the red shirts worn at the Italia ’90 World Cup – but with a blue twist to contrast Nike’s Challenge Red.
The devil is in the details and in England’s away kit it manifests as a bold knitted Three Lions graphic on the underside of the collar that can be seen when it is popped up.
Brazil – home kit
The record five-time World Cup champions have one of the most iconic looks in football and Nike has not disappointed fans of the selecao for Qatar 2022.
The yellow canarinha features a subtle jaguar – or onça-pintada – pattern alongside detailing on the button collar that reflects the South American nation’s flag.
South Korea – home and away kits
The “Red Devils” have a stand-out home kit. “Brash, bold and energetic, the South Korea home kit centres on the motif of Dokkaebi,” Nike says of the coral red home shirt inspired by “Korean goblins”.
The instant-classic away may live even longer in the memory. It “highlights Taegeuk, the symbol found on the Korean flag that represents national pride and balance between heaven (blue) and earth (red),” the US sports giant says.
Senegal – home kit
Of all the Puma-bedecked nations on show, the Senegalese have a low-key classic. Inspired, albeit indirectly, by the kits worn by the team that reached the quarter-finals of the 2002 World Cup in Japan and South Korea, the home jersey features a chevron and trim details reflecting the country’s flag.
Japan – home and away kits
The World Cup 2002 co-hosts have two of the best kits for Qatar 2022, inspired by traditional paper folding and Yatagarasu, the mythological three-legged-crow that appears on the Japan Football Federation crest.
“Representing self-expression, Japan’s home jersey features a bold origami three-legged-crow-inspired design, and its away jersey is crafted to reflect the flowing style of Japan’s play: the blurred graphics are also inspired by origami, brought to life through a design that illustrates speed,” say Adidas.
Switzerland – away kit
All six of the Puma-designed nations have been treated to a similar format for their away shirts, which features a central box outline on the chest for player numbers to go inside. The problem is that shirts are sold to fans without numbers as standard and the look has been ridiculed online.
No shirt has received as much distain as Switzerland’s away jersey with the box being likened to a “Hello, my name is …” sticker – and not unfairly. If there were a World Cup of kits then the Swiss would be on the first plane home. Goodbye and good riddance.