Notable kits of yesteryear

USA19901 July ~ On the face of it, the shirt worn by the US during the 1990 World Cup is pretty unremarkable. With the conventional Adidas three stripes down the shoulders and the heavy diagonal blocking above and below the sleeves, the kit followed a popular template adopted, with slight variations, by a number of teams at the tournament, including Cameroon, Romania and Colombia.

But in going for this design, the US were perhaps making an unwitting demonstration of their growing desire for full membership of the football world. The shirt was to be worn in all three games at Italia 90, the country's first appearance in a World Cup in 40 years.

Two years previously, the US had been selected as the host nation for the 1994 tournament. Qualification for the finals in Italy was imperative if they were to have any credibility as hosts four years later. They got there thanks to a single goal against Trinidad & Tobago, scored by Paul Caligiuri. After being drawn alongside Italy, Austria and Czechoslovakia, coach Bob Gansler made the bold prediction that the team would make the second round – but they were to lose all three games.

The struggles of the US were not a surprise. The average age of the squad was 23 and only four players had any European experience. However, 12 of the 17 members of the team who had appeared in Italy later signed with European clubs, providing invaluable experience for later campaigns. The US have qualified for every World Cup since. John Porter

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