Notable kits of yesteryear

germany9421 June ~ The appeal of the German home kit lies in its simplicity. "Black and white are viewed as non-colours and therefore as neutral," explained Gerd Müller-Thomkins, the head of the German Fashion Institute in Cologne. "They stand for understatement, sobriety and coolness."

Yet this traditional understatement was abandoned by Adidas around the time of German reunification. The shirt in which Franz Beckenbauer's team won the 1990 World Cup displayed an erratic zig-zag motif that appeared to depict a particularly volatile day's trading in frozen pork bellies futures on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange.

The kit design for the 1994 World Cup in the US was even more daring. Two sickle-shaped patterns extending along the shoulders were intended to depict the wings of the eagle that symbolises Germany. As the black, red and gold colours of the German flag appeared upside down, however, it looked as if the eagle had been shot from the skies by a disgruntled farmer. Others thought the pattern depicted a Native Indian head-dress, inspired perhaps by Felipe Rose of the Village People with whom the German national team recorded their tournament song Far Away in America.

The Germany squad would not be away for long however. After Stefan Effenberg was sent home early for making a one-fingered gesture at travelling German fans, he was joined by his team-mates at the quarter-final stage when Yordan Letchkov's header gave Bulgaria a 2-1 victory. Chastened by the experience, Germany reverted to a more sober white shirt for Euro 96 in England – and promptly won the tournament. Paul Joyce

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