Croatia's World Cup Kit History
With Croatia about to play in their second successive World Cup semi-final, we take a look back at all of their unique chequered shirts that have appeared at the tournament over the years.
Croatia World Cup Kit History
At the last couple of tournaments, Croatia have established themselves as a resilient, technically proficient side that handle pressure extremely well. Having been part of Yugoslavia until 1991, Croatia have qualified for six of the eight World Cups that have taken place since they gained independence. Their chequered shirts meant they always stood out on the pitch, even when they didn't make it out of the group stage, and in recent years have become an essential component of a complete visual World Cup experience. Look back at each one they've worn at the tournament below.
Croatia's first World Cup was a success on many levels. A third place finish at their first ever attempt, a golden boot for Davor Suker, and a gloriously 90s set of kits from Lotto. predominantly white, the chequered pattern was arranged to give the impression of a flag blowing in the wind.
The away shirt was mainly blue, but of course plenty of space in the underarm sections was reserved for a more uniform chequered section.
Croatia switched to Nike in 2000 and were given the same template as everyone else for the 2002 World Cup. The pattern was hemmed in by the various seams and blue ventilated mesh on the front of the shirt, and partially obscured on the back by the large white squares that were applied with the numbers.
The away kit retained all the same colours but rotated them, so the torso was now blue while the shoulders were chequered. A polo collar was also added for good measure.
Possibly the most straightforward home shirt that Croatia have had. No raglan sleeves, oddly placed seams or other disruptions to the pattern, everything was evenly chequered. Nike had the good sense to leave some - but not too much - white space on the back for number visibility. They did also pack a similarly plain blue away kit for the tournament, with a chequered stripe running down one side, but did not wear it as the were knocked out at the group stage.
2014's shirt was a departure from the ones before it in the sense that red occupied more space than white thanks to the solid sleeves and back. The size of the squares also increased from previous years. Once more, they went home early and didn't get the chance to use their away kit which was the usual shade of blue. No prizes for guessing what pattern ran along the tops of the shoulders.
Red sleeves returned in 2018 and even covered the tops of the shoulders. The checks were enlarged even further and had jagged edges. The players themselves showed their teeth in beating Argentina 3-0 in the group stage, knocking out Denmark and Russia on penalties and putting England on the plane home after the semi-finals before succumbing to defeat against the French at the last hurdle.
Their away shirt was one of the best of the tournament, the colour combo of navy and black working extremely well on the famous chequered pattern, and the red Swoosh provides the perfect choice and amount of accent colour.
After steadily ceding white space to red over the years, Nike went back to a colour distribution more similar to their 1998 shirt for this year's World Cup. Chequered shoulders and a smattering of red squares across a mainly white torso is a new take on the famous design, but the shirt remains unmistakably Croatian.
Set for its tournament debut against Argentina tonight, their away shirt has divided opinion so far. It gives us something new through the addition of the blurred squares reminiscent of Windows 98, and a fetching navy and electric blue colour combo. It's sure to win the fans over if the result of the game is anything like when the two sides met in 2018.
What do you think of Croatia's World Cup shirts? Which one is your favourite? Comment below.