Donning Some World Cup Threads

There is always a run on World Cup jerseys during and after the tournament.

For the savvy soccer fan looking to augment their ensemble with something not “Made In The USA,” which international kits should you be checking out?

The suggestions below are based upon weighting the following factors: uniqueness/hipness, team jersey look and feel (Cameroon won’t be winning awards), team success (somewhat hard to suggest a Felipe Melo jersey), future club success in 2010 (I just can’t predict how Italy will recover right now), and player longevity (sadly, despite his semifinal strike, this is not the  year to get your Giovanni Van Bronckhorst kit).

Make sure you get both the name on the back when purchasing your jersey as well, lest John Harkes refers to you continually as “The #27.”

All scores below out of a possible 50 points.

Don't get the short-shorts, just get the red, not white, #7 kit.

10. Alexis Sánchez, Chile, #7

Sanchez was already a known quantity heading into World Cup 2010. He didn’t dazzle like most, myself included, thought he would. Yet, he flashed brilliance here and there to outwit the typically two defenders assigned to him.

With a Chile jersey as well, you’re getting traditional soccer colors. There is an air of regality to the Chile kit in 2010 as oppose to Italy and Spain’s equipment which flashed a little more sheen.

…and Sanchez has longevity as well, all of 21-years-old right now–wow–and he’ll likely move sometime in the next year or two from Udinese to a Champ’s League squad that will make his name bigger on the map.

Uniqueness: 9

Distinction: 5

Look-and-feel: 6 (If you like traditional….)

Team Success: 4 (Chile was exciting, but ultimately unsuccessful)

Longevity: 5 (Sanchez will be around, but will Chile be around and survive a group stage during his tenure?)

Jersey rating: 29

———-

9. Lawrence Siphiwe……TSHABALALA, South Africa #11

C’mon didn’t your pulse bump just a little bit when you read that name and watched the clip?

This is “the” World Cup 2010 jersey. If you want a kit that uniquely celebrates South Africa, you obviously can’t do better.

That said, you’re duds are probably a one-hit wonder with some faint reverberations in 2014 when Brazil takes the field for the first time.

You’re unique, but while some may see you as clever, you’re likely nothing more than a gag if you don’t have game (on the pitch, or with the lady that the jersey breaks the ice with).

Uniqueness: 10 (About 127 were sold on June 12th, none have been sold since.)

Distinction: 9 (Uniquely World Cup 2010….is that a good thing?)

Look-and-feel: 5 (The South African jersey is ho-hum)

Team Success: 4 (The South African team was ho-hum)

Longevity: 2 (We’re talking trivia question obscurity.)

Jersey rating: 30

———-

Not the 2010 World Cup history that Messi was looking to write unfortunately....

8. Lionel Messi, Argentina, #10

With Messi, unfortunately, you’re betting your ensemble on the future, incredulous as that may sound.

A tired Messi bowed out in the quarters to Germany without a goal to his name. While manager Diego Maradona let Messi and the team shine during inferior competition during the group stage, the Brain of the Hand of God didn’t do one thing tactically to see Argentina’s Cup run continue.

Messi, is, of course, established already on the club scene and that jersey is going to look a lot better if Pep Guardiola can find a way to take Barcelona back to Champion’s League glory.

An Argentine jersey as well screams flair…and heading into 2014…promise.

Psst…if you want to be cagey here, get a Messi #18 jersey, that’s the digits he wore in 2006.

Uniqueness: 4 (Lots of these suckers floating around already)

Distinction: 8 (We’re talking about Messi here)

Look-and-feel: 6 (Timeless…)

Team Success: 6 (The quarters are a goal for some, for Argentina? Let’s just say not success.)

Longevity: 9 (Should be a great…)

Jersey rating: 33

———-

Quacking loud in 2014

7. Pato, Brazil, #8, #11, or #18

If you’re a Brazil fan or merely celebrate their team, hard to be happy or proud right now.

Here’s the way to do it.

It’s no question that Dunga made some questionable choices in team selection for South Africa. Further, with the way the team bowed out–Robinho diving and chasing around refs, Melo stomping on a country’s hope, Kaka, unfortunately, not converting–it’s hard to get on board with any of the players that were the lynch pins of the 2010 squad.

Select “The Duck,” or Alexandre Pato as is his formal name. (Up-and-coming youngster Neymar is also an option worth considering.)

Immediately, you’re choosing a jersey filled with what can be in 2014. And you’re making a statement on why Brazil didn’t go further. Dunga should have taken The Duck.

Best part? Wear a 2010 Pato jersey to Brazil in a few years and you, my friend, will strike up conversation–since you learned Portugese–with the natives and single yourself out with the women from the hordes of interlopers sporting their Adam Johnson and Benzema jerseys.

Note: Pato has worn all three numbers above for international duty (it’s the name that matters here though).

Uniqueness: 10 (There is a good chance you may be on of a handful)

Distinction: 2 (Pato shows well for A.C. Milan, but didn’t sniff the national team in qualifying)

Look-and-feel: 7 (An average signature jersey, however it’s the home jersey in 2014)

Team Success: 6 (It’s all about the next one–put the children away come World Cup 2014)

Longevity: 8

Jersey rating: 33

———-

6. Kevin Prince Boateng, Ghana, #23

Ain't nothing to mess with...

The neck tattoos, the pre-June cripple job pulled on Michael Ballack to relegate the German captain to the stands for World Cup 2010, the cursing at Clint Dempsey on a legitimate foul in the second round.

This is the jersey for you…if you’re a wannabe bad-ass or looking for new colors for your Friday night drive-by. Boateng makes Kenyon Martin look like Kyle Korver.

Then again, a friend may ask you who Boateng is and you’ll fumble as you try to explain to them how “Boateng is one nasty son-of-a-b*tch….on the soccer pitch.” Actually, say field, if you say “pitch” and rhyme the above statement, you’ll sound ridiculous.

Uniqueness: 9 (The guy taking the order will say “who” or “what” at least once.)

Distinction: 3 (Only soccer’s inner circle of fans here in the States will see the name and identify.)

Look-and 5-feel: 7 (The Black Stars black jersey is phenomenal…I should know…I have a rather mundane white Essien jersey from 2006.)

Team Success: 7 (2010 was a revelation. Expectations will be higher in 2014, but Uruguay should be up for it.)

Longevity: 5

Jersey rating: 33

———-

5. Mesut Özil, Germany, #8

Semifinal match non-withstanding, don’t even think about going Thomas Muller if they’re sold out of “Ozil.” Muller–more of a hockey name on your back anyway–will be good, but Ozil has a chance well to be Ozil, not Mesut Ozil.

Already rumors are swirling of a Barca heist for the Werder Bremen man. Ozil is the real deal, a true #10 for Germany who will be on everyone’s “Players To Watch” list in 2014.

Only knock is…and I’m just letting you know what the grapevine produced…Ozil may not be the easiest on the eyes so make sure the women identify with the talent in a non-Beckham way.

Uniqueness: 9 (Most will go for Muller, Schweinsteiger or even Klose given the media….you’ll be a little more original)

Distinction: 6 (2014 is the breakout)

Look-and-feel: 7 (German machine black away jerseys are just scary.)

Team Success: 7 (Semifinals for an oft-finaled squad in what was to be a rebuilding year…not bad.)

Longevity: 6 (Assuming he doesn’t get Taylor’d or isn’t Shawcrossed, this is a very safe pick.)

Jersey rating: 34

———-

King Wesley kissed off Brazil in the quarters with a pair...of goals.

4. Wesley Sneijder, the Netherlands, #10

Donning a Sneijder jersey immediately screams to any soccer fan that you know you’re stuff. Sneijder is not the flashiest player, but he makes the Oranje engine fire…as well as the Inter Milan one. Could it be four championships in 2010 for King Wesley ?(Shouldn’t we really be calling Sniejder the King instead of LeBron at this point.)

Unfortunately, there are a few challenges with a Sniejder jersey. 1st, you know with the fantastic color there will be a run on them now through the start of the club season.

Secondly, that’s likely not the first jersey on the depth chart if you’re heading down to Brazil in 2014 or perhaps supporting Real Madrid on Mourinho’s quest to restore Los Galacticos to glory.

Other than that, good to go.

Uniqueness: 3 (Good chance yours is on back order right now…go Dirk Kuyt in that case…be a team player.)

Distinction: 9 (Hard to have more team success than Sneijder this year)

Look-and-feel: 7 (Hard to beat the gleam of a Dutch jersey, not even Ruud Gullit’s commentary can dull it.)

Team Success: 6 (It’s all about the next one–put the children away come World Cup 2014)

Longevity: 9 (Sneijder will be good for a very long time, and he doesn’t take a lot of knocks)

Jersey rating: 34

———-

They might call you bandwagon, but it may well be worth it....

3. Diego Forlan, Uruguay, #10

A Forlan jersey is a bit challenging. Chances are you didn’t hightail it to your favorite web-o-store after the Uruguayan talisman led Atletico Madrid to Europa Cup validation and get ready for Forlan to crash the 2010 party. And many folks are going to know that.

Forlan, unquestionably, was the name that “popped” more than any in South Africa–and with good reason as the striker found the net in a multitude of ways and Uruguay drove deeper into the tournament than anyone expected.

You’ve also got the nice powder blue of the kit and while your mates are chasing around Brazilian tail like so many others, you’ve got a reason to take a little excursion down to Punta Del Este with a Uruguayan lass who found your originality refreshing.

Uniqueness: 4 (A Forlan jersey, may….it just may….scream “poser” or “bandwagon.” Is the risk worth it?)

Distinction: 7 (A striker who’s scoring in big game? You’re set)

Look-and-feel: 9 (That pretty powder blue looks good on just about anyone not named “Ghana.”)

Team Success: 8 (2010 was a revelation. Expectations will be higher in 2014, but Uruguay should be up for it.)

Longevity: 6

Jersey rating: 34

———-

The reward will be greater than the risk...

2. Chicarito, Mexico, #9

You’re swinging for the fences with a Chicarito–Javier Hernandez–2010 World Cup jersey.  And it’s a really good bet.

Read any Mexican rag and their denouement of what happened in South Africa. They’ll all lead with how Hernandez didn’t get enough playing time and how Mexico would have progressed further if Hernandez was better integrated earlier in the campaign. (I don’t read them, but thank you to all that send them my way with translation and bullet points).

Hernandez is earmarked for Manchester United this year and with the debacle that is/was Dimitar Berbatov, the populace is starved for a #9 to come close in the star power category to Rooney. Manchester United failthful will also be looking for a new kit with Ryan Giggs sunsetting his career shortly.

Hernandez, may go out on loan and that’s a risk, but if he lives up to his billing your jersey says you predicted that success for Chicarito oh so long ago. Oh and watch the respect you get if you make it to a game at Old Trafford and Hernandez is firing.

Uniqueness: 10 (Outside of Mexico, these likely aren’t selling like hotcakes)

Distinction: 6 (You’re taking an educated, but well researched, guess here, but if you nail it Manchester and Mexico City are your oyster.)

Look-and-feel: 7 (The black or white Mexican jersey is the way to go here–both you’ll be able to wear in Manchester. Green? Not so much.)

Team Success: 6 (Mexico bowed out right after the groups, but they looked poised for a longer stay in 2014)

Longevity: 6

Jersey rating: 35

———-

Villa: All too appropriate imagery....

1. David Villa, Spain, #7

Is it about time that Torres offered up the #9 to the former Valencia striker?

Villa, who will take the pitch for the home side at Camp Nou next year, has been an underrated striker for a long time.

Not anymore, in the lead for the Golden Ball award, firing Spain through the tournament, and likely to push Ibrahimovic out of the starting line-up for Barca next year, Villa coverage should be saturating….

….especially if Spain win their first ever World Cup. And you, my friend, will have the timeless piece on your back.

Uniqueness: 7 (Despite his success, Torres, Iniesta and Xavi kits are more prevalent.)

Distinction: 9 (Villa should hoist the chalice and in the grandest of fashions this year)

Look-and-feel: 8 (La Furio Roja always look classy whether they are donning their red or blue kit–white is little second fiddle.)

Team Success: 9 (That number becomes a “10″ if Spain win on Sunday.)

Longevity: 6 (At 28, Villa may not see another World Cup, but his jersey will still signify the Spanish run in World Cup 2010.)

Jersey rating: 39

———-

Honorable mention: (remember, this is a kit beyond the USMNT)

Luis Suarez Maybe if you’re attending England’s next goalkeeper camp

Jong Tae-Se: Shaun and I had the following exchange here…

Shaun: I would add for the hipster, Jong Tae-se. The North Korean forward and best player. Has to be hard to get and will make you seem like you know what’s going on.

Matthew: Shaun, number 1, no one knows what’s going on in North Korea and two who the h*ll wants to root for them.

Eljero Elia (Still a game left, but he’s been sitting for the Oranje as they navigated their way to the Final. The winger excites with potential nearly every time he touches the ball.)

Fabio Quagliarella (About the only Italian player you could emphathize with–should effort, heart and grit in Italy’s final game against Slovakia. Most Italians are going to want to forget 2010 though.)

Keisuke Honda (Just about put himself on the map as a superstar for Japan. Honda will need to get out of CSKA, and should, for a little more international exposure.)

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30 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by s44 on 2010/07/08 at 12:37 AM

    Rating comments need cleaning up — among other things, the bit about Sanchez’s longevity is repeated a bunch of times.

    I liked Vittek more than most of these guys.

    Reply

  2. Posted by s44 on 2010/07/08 at 12:45 AM

    Sorry, feel free to delete then.

    Reply

  3. Posted by Antonio H. on 2010/07/08 at 1:10 AM

    Do you know where can find those adidas Techfit jerseys with name/number? Think bigsoccer sells them but only for Germany/Spain/SA and no name/number

    The first jersey I thought about getting was the Tshababallin’(like literally putting “TSHABABALLIN” on the back).

    The next was a Beasejour & Sanchez

    The last…a Nasri

    Honorable mention: the one and only CLAUDE MAKELELE

    Reply

  4. Posted by Sam on 2010/07/08 at 3:13 AM

    CD9 away jersey, 50/50

    Reply

  5. Posted by Matti on 2010/07/08 at 3:41 AM

    What about a Nelson Haedo Valdez for Paraguay kit? thought he could of made the honorable mention and I love the red and whites. But I might have to lean in getting a Forlan kit, love the collars with the stripes underneath and light blue. Not many teams have the collars anymore.

    Reply

  6. Posted by GeorgeCross on 2010/07/08 at 3:54 AM

    Maybe a little too political – South Africa jersey with “Mandela” and #27 on the back.

    Reply

  7. KPB is a bitch and i would never wear his jersey. my top pick would be either a Holland Sneijder shirt (orange one) or the Villa Spin top (black one).

    Reply

  8. Posted by dude on 2010/07/08 at 4:51 AM

    Honda, please. That guy is cashing pretty sure, surely. If no one takes him, craziness.

    Reply

  9. The orange Ivory Coast jersey’s were the best of the World Cup, even though they fell at the first hurdle. May as well stick Drogba on the back of their as well – the man played with a broken arm.

    Reply

  10. Posted by Boom on 2010/07/08 at 9:05 AM

    I would argue that club jerseys are always a better choice, but then again my Sneijder Madrid and Villa Valencia jerseys aren’t doing me a whole lot of good at this point,

    Reply

  11. I don’t think I could ever wear another nation’s jersey. Club shirts (not your own) are OK, if you have some tie to a particular player.

    That said, I own an old, 80s-vintage, Argentina jersey (always loved the blue and white stripes) and a 1994-vintage Mexico jersey – I loved the sublimated Maya head design.

    When I go to soccer matches that don’t feature DC United or the USMNT, I wear ‘civilian’ clothes.

    Still have to buy my USA WC2010 jersey. I think it’s going to be a Bradley.

    Reply

    • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2010/07/08 at 11:03 AM

      I agree 100% with your first sentence Matt. I would extent this logic to club teams as well personally.

      Reply

      • But George you’ve grown up with the culture. Some of us grew up searching out soccer culture and thus we picked up multiple different club shirts kind of like teenagers change their clothes/looks/hair.

        I also collect shirts from places I’ve visited (Arsenal, Manchester United, Paris St. Germaine, New Zealand National Team)

        Reply

        • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/07/08 at 12:54 PM

          See I have no problem with someone buying a shirt from another country.

          For example, I really admired the way Chile play–I did visit there–but I identified with their style of play. I would never root for Chile over the United States, but I did root for Chile over Honduras–even though I wish all CONCACAF team to do well, including Mexico.”

          On the national front, maybe you’re French and don’t indentify with how your compatriots played this World Cup and you want a second team to root for…

          Reply

        • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2010/07/08 at 1:46 PM

          Nick – what’s wrong with a fridge magnet?!

          I understand the point you’re making. I was kitted out in Palace and England before I could even walk or speak.

          Reply

        • Fridge magents are not as cool as a hipster soccer jersey/football shirt.

          Reply

        • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2010/07/08 at 2:36 PM

          I don’t wear any MLS kit because I just go to whatever team is local just to watch a live game. The Revolution was the team for 5 years and now it’s Red Bulls, and it will probably be the Union or Chicago in a couple of years – but I don’t get too into it. It just doesn’t feel right, and it would also feel really weird wearing another teams’ colours even though it’s a different country / league entirely. But saying that, I have enough respect not to wear Palace or England at a MLS game. I don’t feel the need to ‘prove’ I am a legit football fan by wearing some sort of football merchandise. Like Matt said, civilian clothes are fine.

          I do like some of the old school NASL tops though…

          Reply

        • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2010/07/08 at 2:40 PM

          NB. Maybe once I’ve chosen a city to settle down in and /or there is a George Jr or a little Georgina, that may change!

          Reply

        • Posted by Aaron on 2010/07/08 at 3:02 PM

          Club jerseys are the way to go. Its cool, its hip, and get with it. I love soccer and I want to own every piece of it. Get over it, if you’re a real soccer fan, you love it all. I’ll admit I have a few National Italia Gattuso jerseys, the snarling dog, an 06 Dutch jersey, an 02 Ireland jersey, why not its cool. Maybe I should add a Tshabalala Kaizer Chiefs kit next. And I really dig anything by Puma lately.

          Reply

        • George, if you’re going to go retro and get an NASL top, this is the one you have to have.

          http://www.gameuseduniverse.com/vb_forum/showthread.php?t=15194

          Reply

      • So I actually do own a bunch of club jerseys, but not because I feel any shred of support for them. It started as a joke. When MLS held its introductory press conference, they trotted out players in the shirts of the original 10 teams and took a photo. It’s “you go blind upon viewing” ugly, but I resolved to get all those shirts. I’ve done that, all except the Colorado shirt which was a prototype and was never worn/produced.

        Here’s the infamous photo

        http://mattmathai.smugmug.com/photos/715308359_UpQJU-XL.jpg

        Reply

  12. Posted by kaya on 2010/07/08 at 2:45 PM

    ….hordes of interlopers sporting Adam Johnson and Benzema jerseys…. LOL.
    I can’t see myself getting a non-US jersey, but if I considered it, Tshabalala would be a good way for someone like me to go. (I don’t see any problem with it, it’s just not for me, personally.) If it were just based on the look of the jersey, I’d totally go for the Mexico black and Germany white jerseys.
    I love the list, but I don’t think there’s as many ladies out there who are going to appreciate jersey-savviness as you’re insinuating =) It’s probably different in Brazil, but wherever I’ve been in Latin America, people found it positively amusing that I was so interested in soccer. (Pretty much the same thing in europe, for that matter.)

    Reply

  13. Posted by Antonio H. on 2010/07/08 at 11:05 PM

    A Rory Fallon black or white Kiwis kit is certainly nice on the eyes. Or that Lockhead guy(the LB). He performed admirably in the Kiwis’ unbeaten streak

    Reply

  14. [...] Kevin Prince-Boateng, who made our World Cup All-Jersey Team, is earmarked for Genoa with transfer likely to AC Milan forthcoming according to [...]

    Reply

  15. Posted by ELNUR on 2010/10/17 at 6:17 AM

    messi is the best peyer in the world

    Reply

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