It brought in a new relationship between the fans and the beautiful game. Even the words Italia '90 evoke powerful images: Gazza crying, Linekar's unfortunate accident and the shaking hips of 38 year old Roger Milla. But the most powerful element of Italia '90 was the emergence of football from hooliganism, into a truly global game open to all. Football moved forward.
Thanks to the boisterous fan culture of the 1970's and 80's, society tended to frown upon football fans. Outside of the working class, it wasn't socially acceptable to know 'ball. Italia 90 kick-started the change, with players more open to speaking to the media and Pavarotti's iconic Italia '90 theme tune Nessun Dorma blurring the lines between football & culture. (Whack that on Spotify if you need a lift).
Of course there were some outrageous upsets. Argentina, reigning champions and featuring a certain Diego Maradona, lost their opening game to Cameroon. And even the final caused a stir, with West Germany beating Argentina to the famous golden trophy.
But the real crème de la crème of Italia '90 were the kits. This was a time when football kits were made with unparalleled quality and iconic design. Here's how the manufacturers split in 1990 (you'll notice a certain Nike isn't on the scene):
This world cup showcases some of the best kits the 1990's has to offer, it's 90's football in a nutshell. We ranked the top 10 shirts from the tournament. Lets get stuck into it 👇
10 - Italy Home
We had to feature the hosts. Italy produced some iconic shirts across the 1990's, notably their work with Kappa being some of the most desired in world football. This effort with Diadora is a clean classic.
[Shop our Italy collection - Shirts Less than £20]
9 - Colombia Home
Columbia stayed close to this template ever since and it all started in 1990. This is some fine work from adidas originals. The pixel pattern, the red, yellow and black contrast. That GK jersey is next level!
[Shop our Colombia collection - Shirts Less than £15]
8 - Ireland Home
This could well be the greatest Ireland shirt ever produced, just look at it! This was the Republic of Ireland's first World Cup Finals and they made it to the quarters, narrowly losing out to the hosts Italy. We featured the shirt in at number 8.
[Shop our Ireland collection - Shirts Less than £25]
7 - Scotland Away
A very niche shirt, a rarity. Scotland played the majority of the tournament in their better known deep blue home but when this away was rolled out, my word it's a stunner. We love the two blue stripes in amongst the yellow, great detailing.
They don't make them like this anymore. Umbro, *chefs kiss*.
[Shop our Scotland collection - Shirts Less than £15]
6 - USA Home
Lets be honest, the USA have had some monstrously bad shirts over the years. This one though is a real gem. This was a time when adidas originals dominated world football and they're at the peak of their powers with this one. US fans, we'd love to see a couple of these pop up at future world cups!
[Shop our USA collection - Shirts Less than £25]
5 - Sweden Home
Adidas originals, yellow, blue and that Sweden badge. It's a winning formula. A fun fact about Sweden in Italia '90 - they played three and lost all of them with a 2-1 scoreline. Never happened since. A tournament to forget for the Swedish but this shirt deserves to live on.
[Shop our Sweden collection - Shirts Less than £20]
4 - England Home
Umbro and England, the glory years. This shirt immediately evokes bittersweet memories for England fans. Relatively speaking, it was a great run with some iconic players like Linekar, Platt and Gazza. But it was Gazza's tears when they were eliminated in the semi-finals through a torturous penalty shoot-out with West Germany that will stick in English minds.
[Shop our England collection - Shirts Less than £15]
3 - Netherlands Home
Netherlands were another to fall to West Germany, this time in the round of 16. It was a disgraceful game of football, with spitting and kicking galore. But it's the kit that deserves a mention, it's absolutely iconic. Ruud Gullit wearing this strip is an all-time great football image.
[Shop our Netherlands collection - Shirts Less than £20]
2 - West Germany Away
We could have picked the West Germany home. Some of you will be mad it didn't feature. But the green away was a real rarity, with adidas originals once again producing an absolute grail here. Top 2 shirt. Germany went on to win the Italia World Cup in 1990 but they didn't quit get top spot here...
[Shop our Germany collection - Shirts Less than £20]
1 - Cameroon Home
It just has to be Cameroon. Not only because the kit itself is absolute flames but also the story and memories this shirt brings back. Cameroon worked wonders to qualify and they entered the tournament as one of the lowest ranked teams. With the help of Roger Milla's goals (and iconic celebrations) they rocketed themselves to a quarter final place, eventually losing out to England. For us, this is the shirt of Italia '90.
[Shop our Cameroon collection - Shirts Less than £50]
Which is your favourite 1990 World Cup Shirt?
We're sure you could string this top 10 in many different ways. Some of you will be disappointed not to see Brazil or West Germany home, but for us there were better versions of those shirts later in the 1990s.
Read more: Top 10 Kits from France World Cup 1998.
Let us know your favourite Italia '90 shirt on Twitter:
Best kit from Italia '90? 👇— Cult Kits (@cultkits) November 15, 2022
Link in replies to see the kits 🔗
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