Which is Asia's best World Cup kit?
Kuala Lumpur: There have been some classic combinations of colours and designs in the clothing Asia's football sides have worn on the world stage. With IR Iran, Japan, Saudi Arabia, Korea Republic and Australia representing the continent at Russia 2018, we look back at five of their stand-out FIFA World Cup kits.
For football fans around the globe, a team’s kit often serves as an everlasting visual representation of certain memories. Nowhere is this truer than in the FIFA World Cup, where the four-year gap means kits usually change from one edition of the competition to the next.
Some kits have been immortalised due to their unique designs, while others remain forever associated with the team’s success.
Here are five unforgettable kits from the Continent’s representatives in this year’s World Cup. View them below and then pick your favourite .
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Saudi Arabia 1994
In their World Cup debut, Saudi Arabia reached the round of 16, playing all four matches in the away white shirt and green shorts, in which they lost to the Netherlands before defeating Morocco and Belgium to advance to the knock-out stage where they bowed out to Sweden.
The special edition kit was supplied by local sportswear company ‘Shamel’ and featured a green triangular collar as well as green lines down the sleeves; both were dotted with white diamonds representing the glory of reaching the FIFA World Cup.
Today, the 1994 kit evokes nostalgia amongst the Saudi fans whose team have yet to replicate the heroics of their maiden FIFA World Cup campaign in three subsequent appearances.
Japan are one of the few nations whose sports teams wear colours that are not part of their national flag, just like Australia and the Netherlands. It is a tradition that dates back to the 1930s, and the iconic blue kit made its FIFA World Cup bow in France 1998 courtesy of Japanese sportswear company ASICS.
Large red coloured flame designs were inscribed on both sleeves as well as on the short sides, while a closer look shows flame water-marks across the entire shirt. The white polo collar was complemented with a red triangle, and the word Japan was written in white below the Japan FA crest.
The then Asian champions struggled in France, losing all three of their group games against Argentina, Croatia and Jamaica, and only scoring once against the latter. But the shirt was so popular it was commemorated with a special edition “flame kit” last year.
Korea Republic 2002
The 2002 World Cup kit will always have a special place in the hearts of Korean fans as the kit worn by the Korea Republic side that produced the best-ever result for an Asian team at the FIFA World Cup.
The Taeguk Warriors dispatched heavyweights Italy and Spain en route to the semi-final on home soil and did so wearing a Nike kit featuring side stripes and intersecting vertical and horizontal lines across the front of the shirt.
In the first two group stage fixtures against Poland and the US, Korea Republic wore the home red shirt with white stripes and blue shorts, while in their final group game against Portugal they donned the away white shirt with red stripes and red short. The away kit was also worn in the historic victories against Italy and Spain in the knock-out stages.
IR Iran 2006
While Korea Republic’s 2002 and Saudi Arabia’s 1994 kits are memorable for the respective nations’ best ever World Cup achievements, IR Iran’s 2006 kit by Puma makes this list by virtue of its aesthetic features, even as Team Melli didn’t enjoy the best of campaigns in Germany that year.
Puma were supplying the IR Iran World Cup kit for the second time after 1998, and the 2006 saw them ditch the green stripes along the sleeves and the shorts for a simple and elegant all-white design with the Football Federation Islamic Republic of Iran crest on the left side of the chest and the player number on the right while the Puma logo took the middle spot, just underneath the round collar-less neck.
The most recent edition of the FIFA World Cup may not be the most memorable for Australian fans as their team crashed out of the group stage, but their third successive appearance in the competition saw them don a special retro kit paying homage to their FIFA World Cup debut 40 years earlier.
The Nike kit brought back white socks instead of yellow ones and featured a green collar in addition to an enlarged Socceroos badge on the chest. The tribute was completed with the inclusion of a quote from the 1974 Australian national team captain Peter Wilson, “We can do the impossible” printed on the back of the neck.
Now that you have seen all the kits, let us know which one is your favourite in the poll below!
Photos: Getty Images
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