Sunday, May 16, 2010

Les Bleus top 5 jerseys or strips

Amazing that 20 years ago club teams and national teams rarely changed their strip, today they seem to have new looks for every season or major tournament - add to this home and away strips as well as 3rd strips (thank you American sports leagues). Not to date myself, but I remember when you could only have a handful of kits and I would order my France strip from my Onze magazine (at the time there was Onze and Mondial as competing footie publications they then merged into what is now known as Onze Mondial).

So France will showcase a new strip in South Africa, the irony is had they lost the playoff to Ireland it would have been a kit worn for 2 official matches! I am not a huge fan of the look, I recognize it plays on a design that has served Les Bleus well through out the years. It is also the last time Adidas will kit out France until at least 2018 - Nike will pay 320 million Euros from 2011 to 2018 to provide the kit for Les Bleus. That will be some nice cash for the federation's coffers. I have bitter sweet feelings towards this move. Clearly it is a very rich contract for Les Bleus, Nike is spending 4 times as much as Adidas would have throw in the fact that Nike is a global powerhouse in terms of marketing and promotion (for some reason seem to be a little slicker than Adidas). Of course I have always been a fan of Adidas for my own usage. I have worn numerous Copa Mondials and Sambas during my footie career - I currently prefer the Adidas predator. The only other boots I have worn are Puma King for a season and Ligne 7 (see if you can find anyone who has worn Ligne 7!). However I am excited to see what Nike does for Les Bleus - hey my 2 favorite club teams are kitted by Nike - PSG and Arsenal!

With that here is my list of the best kits Les Bleus have worn -

Number 5: Ok I am little nostalgic but  I think the 1958 kit deserves to be a top kit for Les Bleus. Granted there was not much in terms of radical design during this era, however the blue three button kit with the crowing rooster is a classic. Worn during the 3rd place run for Les Bleus (they lost to Brazil and Pele in the semi finals) as well as by Just Fontaine who tallied 13 goals in the tournament, remains a single tournament record, one I am not sure will ever fall. Famous players that wore the kit - Fontaine, Kopa and Jonquet.

Number 4: Surprisingly this one is not ranked higher in my mind, but the 1998 kit was fabulous. Granted it was also the one they wore during the winning World Cup run. The reason it is not higher in my estimation is the fact that it is really a replica of the #1 kit to further. Clearly it will always hold a special place in my heart and all fans of Les Bleus since it marked the first time France would raise the World Cup. Notable players wearing the kit - Deschamps, Petit, Zidane, Blanc, Thuram, Henry, Dugarry and Lizarazu.

Number 3: The 2000 strip comes in at #3 due to its simplicity - blue strip with just one simple red line over the chest with white numbers and red piping. Clean and elegant. Matching the team that wore the kit during the Euros. With Trezegol capping off a great come back versus the Italians in the finals. The jersey was a nice continuation in design from the 1998 kit which had the red stripe across the chest. Will always be one of my favorites (the one I have has #10 Zidane...what a surprise). Notable players that wore the kit - Wiltord, Trezeguet, Zidane, Deschamps, Desailly, Blanc, Henry and Vieira.

Number 2: Okay this is technically the away strip, but I think it was fabulous for the fact it had a faded French flag as the center piece. Les Bleus wore this strip all the way to the finals and along the way defeated Spain, Brazil and Portugal (and should have done so to Italy!) What I like about the kit is that it is a unique design and not simply the white version of the home blue kit. Notable players that wore the kit - Zizou, Ribery, Vieira, Sagnol, Henry, Trezeguet and Thuram.

Number 1: This is my favorite due to the simplicity and the fact it influenced other France kits - see 1998, 2000, 2004, 2008 and current versions - the 1984 kit remains my favorite. With the prominent red band over the chest and 3 thin white lines below, it was sharp and had clean lines. It was also worn during France's Euro 1984 triumph as well as their gold medal winning team in the Summer Olympics in Los Angeles. It also did not hurt that wearing that kit Platini had, arguably, the most dominating performance of a player in a major tournament - scoring 9 goals (in 5 matches), including 2 hat tricks, scored the last minute winner in the semi final versus Portugal, scored the opener in the finals and scored on a penalty kick, 2 free kicks, with his head and in from open play. Notable players that wore the kit - Platini, Giresse, Tigana, Fernandez and Battiston.

Honorable mentions - 2002 kit (yes the one where France crashed out of the Japan/South Korean World Cup), 1982 strip and the away 2010 strip. Interesting note, I do like the 1978 story when they played Hungary and had to borrow the local clubs kit for the match since both teams had only brought their white kit, the only time France has worn green...and stripes on the pitch (hey they are 1-0 with that strip, maybe they should break it out again!)


Anonymous said...

Thanks Boss... Good post... i think 1998 and 1984 jersey type is same and u like those kit when France got success.
plz say something abt 86, 88, 90, 94, 2008 when France did not get success but kit was great.
*** Plz report in regular basis

GFC said...

Hmmm, the 1986 kit was simple. Not sure I liked the detailing on the sleeve of white piping.

The 1988 team did not make the Euros in Germany so no new kit unveiled! can we skip that...kit had some geometric shapes on the sleeves, was worn by the likes of Ginola, Cantona, Blanc and Papin...great team on paper...but crashed out spectacularly of the World Cup qualifiers....ugh.

1994 kit looked like it was attacked by a bird of prey with what appeared to be talon marks coming down from both shoulders. the home kit also had a retro laces under the neck line...interesting.

2008 was another version of the 98, 00 and 84 kit with a red band over the chest, this time a curved band. But the terrible showing at the Euros leaves a bad taste in the mouth.

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