Monday 19 August 2019

England v Germany: Who wins the battle of the classic kits?

The friendly between these two teams will be decided on goals, but this competition is all about style and memories.

An England kit and a Germany kit, both from the 1980s
An England kit and a Germany kit, both from the 1980s

By Max McLean

England and Germany can point to a history of impressive football teams, but both sides also have a catalogue of great shirts to be proud of too.

From England’s 1996 European Championship top, to Germany’s flag-inspired effort in 1990, there are classics to be found everywhere you look.

Classic Football Shirts have picked out three of their favourite tops from each country’s collection, and pitted them against one another, with points awarded for style and memories – but who wins?

Game one

England: Home (released 1995)

England's 1995 home shirt

“In the summer of 1996, football came home when England hosted the European Championships, and for the Three Lions, Umbro once again created a classic but simple design,” said Classic Football Shirts.

“The team didn’t disappoint either, with Paul Gascoigne scoring a wonder-goal against Scotland, as well as a 4-1 win against the Dutch and even more surprisingly a penalty shoot-out win against Spain.

“Alan Shearer topped the goal-scoring charts at the tournament and, while England failed to win the trophy, the Three Lions surely won the accolade of being the best dressed at Euro 96.”

Germany: Home (2014)

Germany's 2014 home shirt

“The Germany 2014 home shirt makes the all-time top three not only for its clean and stylish chevron design, but also for the team’s achievements on the pitch, with Joachim Loew’s side lifting the World Cup for the fourth time in Brazil,” said Classic Football Shirts.

“Germany began the tournament impressively with a 4-0 thrashing of Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal, before Miroslav Klose equalled, and then broke, the all-time goal-scoring record in the famous 7-1 demolition of hosts Brazil.

“The legends that wore this shirt include Thomas Muller, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Philipp Lahm.”

The verdict: It’s a goal for the Three Lions, with England scoring 16/20 to Germany’s 15/20.

Game two

England: Away (1980)

England's 1980 away kit

“The highly popular change shirt designed by Admiral was a huge hit with fans in the early 1980s and remains in demand today,” said Classic Football Shirts.

“The bright bold colours take inspiration from the Union Jack which was a prominent sight on the terraces in those days as opposed to the St George’s Cross flags seen today.

“Making two appearances at the 1982 World Cup Finals in Spain, it was worn when Bryan Robson scored after just 27 seconds as England beat France 3-1, which is still the fourth fastest goal in World cup history. This shirt definitely deserves its place in England’s football shirt hall of fame.”

West Germany: Away (1988)

Germany's 1988 away shirt

“Adidas certainly excelled themselves in 1988, not only releasing one of the greatest football shirts ever created with the West Germany home kit, but also backing that up with a change strip that was equally as impressive,” said Classic Football Shirts.

“Worn by some of Germany’s greatest ever players, such as Lothar Matthaus, Andreas Brehme, Pierre Littbarski and Rudi Voller, they coolly beat England on penalties in the semi-finals of Italia 90 in this great strip to earn a place in the final.

“Without doubt, the West Germany 1988 home and away kits take pole position when it comes to kit design.”

The verdict: England get 14/20 on this one, but Germany level the scores with 15/20 – was it the Adidas badge that swung it?

Game three

England: Home (1990)

England's 1990 home shirt

“The unique off-pitch styling by Umbro matched the impressive performances on the pitch at Italia 90, as the Three Lions roared to the semi-finals, narrowly beaten by West Germany,” said Classic Football Shirts.

“This shirt will always be fondly remembered as the shirt Gazza wiped his tears away on, after shining on the pitch that summer.

“The sky blue third shirt and red away top deserve a special mention too, complementing a great Umbro collection that surely makes this England’s all-time best kit by a country mile.”

West Germany: Home (1988)

Germany's 1988 home shirt

“Widely regarded as the greatest football shirt of all-time, the 1988 West Germany home shirt created by Adidas is a true thing of beauty,” said Classic Football Shirts.

“Pioneering the unique zig-zag pattern of the German national flag running across the chest was a real piece of innovation in terms of shirt design for the time.

“Made for the host nation at Euro 88, unfortunately the side couldn’t channel their impressive look on the pitch into results, and eventually exited to fierce rivals Holland in the semi-finals.

“However, two years later the team lived up to the shirt, lifting the World Cup at Italia 90, famously beating England on penalties in the semi-final before seeing off Diego Maradona’s Argentina in the final. A world champion shirt in more ways than one!”

The verdict: A very strong match-up between these two, but Germany’s 19/20 is unassailable, with England trailing on 17/20, beaten on penalties again.

If all that talk of tops has you in the mood for a Germany or England shirt, click here to browse Classic Football Shirts’ collection.

PA Media

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