Ranking all 10 Olympics winning men’s kits of the last 40 years

Ranking all 10 Olympics winning men’s kits of the last 40 years

Despite the opening ceremony not happening until tomorrow, the 2021 Tokyo Olympics has quietly kicked off with the start of the men’s and women’s football. 

Having first been included in the Olympic schedule in 1900 for the men’s game and 1996 for the women’s, the Olympics have played host to a number of the sport's biggest stars.

It’s also seen some of the finest kits ever worn.

So, in celebration of the return of football after such a long time, we’ve got together the kits worn by the previous ten winners and attempted to rank them from best to worst. You will almost certainly disagree. 

 

#10 Mexico - 2012 

 

 

Not an awful kit, especially when viewed from the side. That being said, there's also very little to get excited about. A cut out panel to the chest appears to be a nod to some of the wild patterns of days gone by, but it’s a subtle nod. Lastly it’s just a bit weird to see a Mexico shirt that’s more turquoise than green. 

 

#9 Argentina - 2004 

 

 

As we said, this was a really tough bunch. There’s nothing really wrong with the shirt that Tevez, Mascherano and the rest of the young Argentine squad wore to victory in 04. Based on a standard Nike template that worked well with the famous white and blue it’s a solid 6.5/10. 

 

#8 Cameroon - 2000

 

 

Cameroon, led by a young Samuel Eto’o pulled off a stunning win over his future teammate Xavi’s Spain to be crowned Olympic champions back in 2000. They did it in a Puma template that was the perfect canvas for the sides vibrant colours and it looked great. Very unfortunate not to be higher on the list, really. 

 

#7 Argentina - 2008 

 

 

Potentially a controversial choice over the 2004 winners shirt but there’s something really great about the 2008 winners kits. The detailing is minimal, a small black Adidas logo is centred and the nations badge appears to be embossed, or at the very least matches the colour of the kits stripes.  

 

#6 Spain - 1992

 

 

We’ll admit to not having come across this shirt worn by a young Spain squad that featured Pep Guardiola and Luis Enrique in their midfield before this, but wow. 

The Kelme designed shirt featured a large abstract print to the front and some great sock detailing. Only real let down is the godawful font used for the numbering, but we can move past that. 

 

#5 Brazil - 2016

 

 

The kit worn by the Brazilian side on their way to lifting an emotional first Olympic gold on home soil was fitting of the honour. Sure, it may simply be a Nike template, but it worked so so well. The yellow shirt with just the right amount of green, the classic blue shorts with white socks and of course, that badge. The national side's regular badge was swapped out for the Brazilian flag and the pared back simplicity really worked. 

 

#4 Nigeria - 1996

 

 

Quite possibly the most celebrated win in Olympic history, a Nigeria side packed full of young stars first outed a Brazil side featuring Ronaldo and Rivaldo before defeating Argentina to claim gold. They did it in the most fantastically 90’s baggy and vibrant tops emblazoned with their nation's name across the front and an eagle, a nod to the Eagle that sits atop Nigeria’s coat of arms. When all combined with the gold chain of Nwankwu Kanu, few have ever looked better on a football pitch. 

 

#3 Czechoslovakia - 1980 

 

 

The Czech’s claimed victory over East Germany back in 1980 and did it in a kit that, although 40 years old, now feels almost modern. Sure the heavy fabric and tiny shorts are a dead giveaway but the style of having a centralised national badge had a huge resurgence over the last Euro’s and to us that’s only a good thing. Bonus points as well for the particularly nice blue socks. 

 

#2 Soviet Union - 1988

 

 

A real tough call between one and two here. The Adidas designed kit worn by the Soviets back in 88 was seriously nice. After reportedly holding back players from that summer's European Championships in order to fully focus on the Olympics, USSR knocked out West Germany in the semi’s before beating Brazil in extra time. 

 

#1 France - 1984

 

 

And to number one, the best Olympic winning kit of the last 40 years has to be France 84. Widely celebrated as one of the greatest kits ever seen in the sport, the design had also been used in that summer's triumph at the European Championships. It would later serve as direct inspiration for the kit worn by France when winning the World Cup on home soil in 1998 and then again for the 2020 home shirt.

 

Words by Andy Gallagher

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