A definitive ranking of the 10 best jerseys at Italia 90

Adidas reigned supreme in the summer of 1990.

WHEN IT COMES to footballing fashion at the World Cup, is there any beating Italia 90?

It was a golden age for iconic jerseys which was dominated by Adidas, who were the kit manufacturer for 15 of the 24 countries — including the Republic of Ireland — at the tournament.

We took on the task of ranking the top 10, and it wasn’t easy. Each jersey was rated based on factors such as design, fit, colour… and the likelihood of you spending about €120 on a remake of it in Topman.

10. Brazil (home)

Italia 90 wasn’t the most memorable World Cup for Brazil but at least they looked the part as they were being dumped out by Argentina in the second round. Only the Brazilians could put yellow, green and blue together in the same kit while still looking slick. The only kit at the tournament made by Topper (they’re a well-known South American brand, we’re assured), here it is modelled by legendary left-back Branco in that 1-0 defeat in Turin, while the greatest footballer who ever lived looks on behind him. This was also the last Brazil kit at a World Cup to feature the Jules Rimet trophy in the crest.

Soccer - World Cup Italia 1990 - Second Round - Argentina v Brazil - Stadio Delle Alpi Source: EMPICS Sport

9. Costa Rica (away)

Competing in their first World Cup, Costa Rica were one of the surprise packages at Italia 90. Group C wins over Scotland and Sweden helped them into the second round, where they were eventually eliminated by Czechoslovakia. The Costa Ricans brought a black-and-white striped Lotto away kit to Italy for two reasons: as a tribute to the country’s oldest club, CS Libertad, which had recently gone out of business, but also as a nod to Italian club Juventus. Costa Rica played Brazil at Italia 90 at the Stadio Delle Apli, Juve’s former home. Lovely touch, lovely kit.

Soccer - World Cup Italia 90 - Group C - Brazil v Costa Rica Source: EMPICS Sport

8. Yugoslavia (away)

This kit was worn by Yugoslavia as they eliminated Spain in the second round, before losing to Argentina on penalties in the quarter-finals. It’s vintage Adidas but it’s also got the perfect blend of sports-casual versatility, as evidenced here by Zlatko Vujovic. It’s hard to tell if he’s playing football or heading to a Happy Mondays gig.

Soccer - World Cup Italia '90 - Yugoslavia v Colombia Source: EMPICS Sport

7. Italy (home)

A timeless classic, it’s seldom the Italian home shirt hasn’t delivered when it comes to style. Admittedly it was the shirt worn by the team that sent the Irish packing, but there’s no denying that it’s a fine piece of sporting apparel. The Diadora kit is being worn here by our model, Toto. Bellissimo!

Soccer - FIFA World Cup Italia 90 - Semi Final - Italy v Argentina - Stadio San Paolo, Naples Source: EMPICS Sport

6. Uruguay (home)

This was Puma’s best offering at Italia 90 and it’s a beauty. Uruguay isn’t called the fashion capital of South America for nothing. Actually it’s not called that at all, but it could be. We’re monitoring eBay in the hope that one of these will soon appear. Throw in a few sessions on the sunbeds and we’ll be looking as good as Enzo Francescoli in no time.

Soccer - FIFA World Cup Italia 90 - Group E - Uruguay v Spain - Stadio Friuli, Udine Source: EMPICS Sport

5. Republic of Ireland (away)

The Irish home and away kits were basically the same but with the colours reversed. Everyone had the home shirt so the white one was the cool kids’ choice… until you eventually destroyed it with muck and Heinz spaghetti hoops stains. It was also the jersey worn most often by the lads at Italia 90. Hans van Breukelen probably had nightmares about this Adidas kit, but we love it.

Soccer - World Cup Italia 90 - Ireland v Egypt Source: EMPICS Sport

4. Colombia (away)

A controversial inclusion, but this Adidas garment isn’t being left out. Straight out of the ‘So bad it’s good’ category, Colombia wore this shirt in all three of their Group D games and qualified for the second round. Then they switched back to their traditional yellow home kit and were eliminated by Cameroon. Coincidence? Not a chance. This is such a classic World Cup jersey that it even makes a man with a blonde afro and a moustache look good. Sorry, Carlos.

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Soccer - World Cup Italia 90 - Colombia Source: EMPICS Sport

3. USA (home)

You’ll be the envy of Chad, Tyler and the rest of your bros at the frat party when you arrive on campus wearing this neat sweater. They lost all three of their games at Italia 90 so having one of the trendiest jerseys at the tournament was probably all John Harkes and the lads had to be proud of. Another stellar effort from Adidas, despite Bleacher Report’s outrageous decision to rank it as the USA’s worst ever World Cup jersey last year.

USA Source:

2. Argentina (away)

As was the case in the tournament itself, Argentina have to settle for second place in our rankings for the jersey they wore in their 1-0 defeat to West Germany in the decider. Another Adidas shirt, the one is made from an absorbent fabric specifically designed to easily wipe away the tears of your captain after you lose the World Cup final. This is the kind of smart-looking jersey that your mam would allow you to wear at mass.

Diego Maradona 1990 Source: Billy Stickland/INPHO

1. West Germany (home)

It’s no surprise that the top two jerseys in our list are the two that featured in the final. Proof, as if it were needed, that you’ll achieve nothing in football without a decent geansaí on your back. Adidas reached their zenith with this design, which was also used by Cork City between 1989 and 1991. Here it is being worn by Rudi Voller in West Germany’s second-round win against the Netherlands, while his good friend Frank Rijkaard looks on in admiration at the sublime jersey.

Voller and Rijkaard 24/6/1990 Source: Getty Images


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About the author:

Paul Dollery

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