France (Home 1986-95)

This post has been a long time in the making. However, due to the impending start of the big leagues and my vacation coming up, I decided to put all my focus into my supplementary Youtube channel and was hoping that. in the evenings during my vacation I then can deliver some good writing and also connect all the videos I made to my blog. Well, my kids had different ideas and thankfully, my wife is taking them out tonight so I can try and write more about the France home kits. I promise the rest will be coming soon. So, let’s not waste more valuable time and get right to it:

After years of showing promise, Platini and co delivered at EURO 1984 and also were among the favorites at the 1986 World Cup in Mexico, but already during qualification some cracks were showing with two away defeats to Bulgaria and the GDR. However, a spotless home record secured a spot in Mexico. And even there, the sailing was not super smooth as they failed to win their group and were put on a truly tough road to the final: defending champions Italy had to be disposed in the round of 16, an epic quarter-final against Brazil ended in a penalty shoot-out and seemingly the team did not have enough energy anymore to overcome the Germans in re-match of the 1982 semi-final. This time Germany won handily 2-0, but at least the team could secure a bronze medal with a 4-2 victory over Belgium (potentially their weakest opponent in the knock-out stage). And they did all this in a newly issued kit by Adidas:

I don’t know if it is just me, but this kit always struck me as particularly odd. Yes, it has the classic blue tone with red and blue accents, but it is these accents that I don’t really like. First off, you have a white shirt collar with a blue front, which in itself would be a nice touch. However, the effect is somewhat undone by the white piping running just below the shoulders (front and back) to the sleeve cuffs and containing a red pinstripe. An then on top of the shoulders is the by now mandatory Adidas-striping with a blue and a red stripe separating the three white stripes.

I think if the front of the collar was also white, the whole ensemble would make a teeny bit more sense. But also, the red is almost use too sparingly in contrast to the white. Yes, the sleeve cuffs use both colors to give a subtle French flag accent, but honestly it does feel a bit gimmicky. Also note that on the long sleeved version there is only a red band across the sleeve at the point where and the remainder of the sleeves is just plain blue. Oddly enough, I like this a tad bit better. But to me, this shirt is just average (especially after the two great predecessors) and so, I only give an average rating here:

My rating: 5/10 stars.

It is even more puzzling to me that this look was retained for full four years although the previous two version had a much shorter shelf live. And while most will associate the previous jersey with the 1986 World Cup it can also be seen as a symbol for a very rapid decline. Les Bleus managed to not qualify for two successive tournaments: EURO 1988 and Italy 1990. And in both cases it was not even close. The team managed only one win and a meager 6 points in qualifying for EURO 1988 and had to overcome the retirement of Platini. But no worries, he was soon appointed national team manager in 1988. The team failed again to qualify, and two late home wins made things look much closer. Had they qualified, the French team would have worn a very unique template that was then worn in a very watered down version by the UAE:

This is easily my least favorite France shirt featuring red accents. I remember when I first saw this shirt in the early 1990s (I think it was a book about EURO 1992 – more on that later), I literally could not understand it. There is just too much going on in the upper part and nothing really seems to connect to the French flag:

The base blue ends in a triangle at the all blue shirt collar and the upper half is made of white patches on the torso which are “stitched” to the rest of the shirt by 6 trapezoids. Adidas branding? Yes. Adidas branding gone wrong? YESSSSSS!!!!!

To make things even more confusing the top of the shoulders is red and contains the now customary white stripes with the red and blue filling. It is just too much. And then to throw any remaining consistency out of the window, the sleeves  feature red armpit patches that connect to the white patches on the torso. I could have let it go if these were white as it would have made some sense, but this is just topping off a truly horrible shirt. And did I mention the shirt has the same pattern also on the back? I am actually surprised that the classic 3D-numbers (probably the best feature of the entire shirt) are in white only.

Do, I need to elaborate further? I don’t think so!

My rating: 1/10 stars.

However, oddly enough, les Bleus were everything but horrible in this shirt and stormed to EURO 1992 without dropping a point in a group containing Spain and Czechoslovakia. The team around the great Jean-Pierre Papin even managed to stay unbeaten in 19 games prior to the tournament and Platini seemed to have a Midas-touch even as a manager. France were among the favorites in Sweden where the team was outfitted in one of the two new Adidas equipment styles:

This new kit was a lot more restrained and still managed to somehow not get it all right. The blue shirt with the simple blue V-neck is dominated by more Adidas branding in form of three stripes coming across both shoulders in red (outer) and white. Gone however are the three shoulder stripes, but if you were missing the three stripes they are featured as a vertical shadow pattern all across the jersey. In fact, they are not super perceptible from a distance, but up close they are almost over-bearing.

EURO 1992 was also the first major international tournament to my knowledge to feature numbers on the front of the jersey and names on the back. And here is, I think where the template gets int he way: the front number is nicely centered, but probably a tad to high and so the cockerel crest is just an afterthought on the proper left of the jersey. If the number was lower, the crest cold also have been centered and feature a lot more prominently.

Also, on the back, the names are running over the thick shoulder bands which definitely causes legibility issues. At least the font used was a pleasant one and to this day, I find this the best way of using names on the back and numbers on the front. Just be a bit more mindful when using a template.

Writing about this shirt is a tad odd for me, as I find many things that can be improved and I haven’t even mentioned the biggest one: the shoulder bands are made in such a way that there is nowhere a French flag on this shirt! I am not sure how this could have been achieved, but it is a definite short coming!

On the other hand, this is the first ever France jersey I have consciously seen (in the EURO 1992 opener against Sweden). So there is some nostalgia attached to it. And you know, nostalgia manages to soften me a teeny bit:

My rating: 6/10 stars.

In the new shirt, France managed to not make it out of a relatively easy group stage in Sweden where after two draws vs. the hosts and England a 1-2 loss to rank outsiders Denmark sealed their fate and Platini stepped down as manager. Gerard Houllier was appointed as new manager and France seemed well on their way to the 1994 FIFA World Cup in the US of A in a very tough group featuring Sweden, Bulgaria, Austria and Israel. However, the team did quite well and needed only a single point from their remaining two matches at home against Israel and Bulgaria. However, the team lost their nerves and squandered a 2-1 lead in the last 10 minutes to Israel setting up a deciding match against Bulgaria. With the score level at 1, the team seemed to squeeze across the finishing line but in stoppage time Emil Kostadinov probably scored Bulgaria’s most famous goal in the last minute. France had seemingly reached its nadir, Houllier was fired and his assistant Aime Jacquet was given the task to build a new young team for the 1998 World Cup on home soil. Little did we know that that qualifying group was a really strong one as both Sweden and Bulgaria reached the semifinals at the 1994 World Cup.

So, a reboot was desperately needed and only few players from the EURO 1992 squad continued on. At first the team needed to consolidate and it was surely a stroke of luck that this process was helped by the emergence of a young, shy player from Girondins de Bordeaux of Algerian descent who made his debut for the French national team in the kit below. I am talking of course about none other than the great Zinedine Zidane, a player that would even overshadow the great Michel Platini:

This kit, whose template was probably made most famous by Spain, is definitely among my favorites from 1994. It is still very much Adidas branded, but I really like the off-centered diamonds forming five bands on an otherwise super-plain royal blue shirt. That the five bands are in white-blue-white-red-white (from left to right) and thus display the French flag is a super nice feature – one that Spain only managed on its away jersey. Add to it, the white collar with button opening and French flag trim and this is already a winner. And yes, the three shoulder stripes are back to top off a very nice kit.

Just two little sources for complaints: As on the previous shirt, the cockerel crest is almost an afterthought as all the attention is directed to the pattern on the proper right. Additionally, I really do not see the need for the shadow striping. It is not as annoying as on the 1992-93 shirt, but still quite visible. With such a strong pattern already present on the shirt, this additional feature is more distracting than enhancing.

But overall, this is a great shirt and France managed to reboot, qualify for EURO 1996  and start a new generation – one that would soon dominate the international game. As for this shirt, it remains a rather unknown quantity which is a pity. For me, it is among the best France has ever worn:

My rating: 9/10 stars.

How would you rate these shirts?

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France (Home 1984-85)

Now, here is the first REALLY big one – that is the first France jersey that lifted a trophy. And that deserves a separate post. So, here we go …

From roughly 1982-1986 there was hardly a more exciting team to watch than the French. Brazil may be the only other team during that period however it was lacking the silver ware. Yes, France finally managed to exorcise the demons on home soil at the European championship in 1984 where in many ways they toyed with the opposition. Michel Platini (back when he was not shrouded in bribery scandals) alone scored 9 times in 5 games and was supplied by Alain Giresse, Jean Tigana and Luise Fernandez in the “carré magique” – the best midfield of its time (Seriously, I will get hate mail from Brazil on these claims, but again they WON a trophy!). What makes the France team of this time even more beloved is that they were not also getting results but were a truly exciting team to watch. And their kit in 1984 truly complemented it all:

If you are looking for the ultimate France kit, stop right here! The look is so iconic that it is hard to judge or compare it to any other France kit. How iconic is it? Well, it was copied in 1998 and 2010 and basically served as insiration for all France kits from 2000 to 2010 with the exception of 2006. And it is still the original version that is the best one.

The blue base is nicely accented by a thick red band across the chest which contains the trefoil logo and the lower part of the crest. Maybe the only slight criticism I have here is the fact the the box is blue and not red. It does break up the band, after all, this way. And then there is some sneaky Adidas branding in form of three horizontal pin stripes all across the front. All these stripes do unfortunately not make French flag on the front, but still all national colors are present and do not distract from the blue base. The shirt collar is blue and just adds a touch of style while the sleeves are accentuated by the Frenchified version of the three stripes.

Looking at the full kit, I even like how blue is used subtly on the shorts. And everything is made even better by the font used for the numbers – unfortunately for the last time as a newer font was about to be released.

As I said above, this one is hard to judge. It has been copied or used as inspiration many times over the years and still stands apart. Yes, things could have been even better, but this one is such a classic that there is only one way to go with this one (and yes, I like it a lot!):

My rating: 10/10 stars.

How would you rate this shirt?

 

 

France (Home 1972-83)

On we go with the history of France shirts and now we also get into the portion where I will dish out the first grades. However, for this period lots of research on my part was required and so it took a while to get here. As you will see, I am still a bit shaky about the first couple of Adidas kits for France but starting in 1977 or so, we get consistency and that’s where I am planning to start with rating the shirts. So, let’s get to it:

When Adidas took over it was in a way the beginning of a rebuild. 1958 apart, the French national team had never made a big dent on the international. stage. And since those glory days France only qualified in 1966 for the World Cup where the adventure already ended in the group stage. We were still a good decade away from calling France a true European power house. Every successful team usually starts off at a low point. However, the beginning of the Adidas era was not a low point considering the super interesting shirt that got issued:

On a first glance maybe not too surprising as the blue shirt got the three stripe treatment, but with one gap being red – thus displaying the French flag in an iconic and really, really sneaky way. But what surprised me is the fact that the three stripes were also added to the sides – something I had not expected from a pre-2016 Adidas shirt. My bad! Given the plain look of the collar, this is actually a very nice overall combination. Also, the numbering style on the shirt is unique and modern for its time. I would love it, if that one was brought back!

However, most Adidas shirts thereafter were a little simpler as the stripes on the side quickly got dropped and most “excitement” came from the different collars. Another innovation featured in 1973 and was dropped soon thereafter:

France_1973_Home_9

1973

Yes, there is a number on the front in what is otherwise a quite simple, yet beautiful shirt. I am not entirely sold on the blue fold-over crew neck, but if Adidas had stuck with or sometimes brought back that style, I would not have complained in any way. As I said, the number on the front was quickly dropped and in 1974 (no picture as of now) a white crew neck was introduced. This marked the first time that the collar on a France was solely white. By 1976 it was replaced with a stylish white shirt collar. During that period we are also treated for the first time with the numbering font which became synonymous with France shirts: Made to resemble the three stripes, the outer stripes are joined at the end of each “stroke” making a truly iconic Adidas font.

I love the shirt collar, but on the other side it was not very representative of the time period. Also, the team in this period was everything but successful: the team finished last in its qualification group (behind the USSR and Ireland) for the 1974 World Cup and the form did not look better for the 1976 European championship where the team also failed in qualification (behind Belgium and the GDR). However, by 1977 there was light at the end of the tunnel: the team won its qualifying group ahead of Bulgaria and Ireland and managed to qualify for a World Cup for the first time since 1966. Late in that campaign a young player named Michel Platini made his debut and the days of France as an afterthought were about to be over. The shirt used during that campaign returned to a simple blue crew neck. Also note how the cockerel crest was quite consistent over these years.

Now, the shirt used in 1978 did not introduce any particularly new style – it was just the 1977 shirt with a white collar and was only worn in their 2-1 defeat to hosts Argentina which eliminated France already at the group stage despite showing some early promise that more was in store.

In many ways this is somewhat the gold standard for Adidas France kits. Never again were they so simple yet so iconic. While I like the white crew-neck, the fold-over on the front is not quite to my liking. The white sleeve cuffs add some personality and I absolutely love the almost oversized cockerel crest. Yes, the one used up until the 1960s was probably a better overall look, but this golden stylized version is what most of us grew up with and therefore it looks iconic. And the three white stripes with the red inset give the jersey enough character and also add the almost necessary touch of red. There doesn’t need to be loads of red – just a little is enough to establish this as a France shirt. And this one is a wonderful, wonderful shirt deserving only high marks:

My rating: 9/10 stars

That particular jersey should also have been worn in their final (and meaningless) group game against Hungary, but the kit crew messed up and brought white jerseys as did Hungary. So after a mad scramble for replacement kits (the blue kits were too far away back in Buenos Aires) the green-white striped kits of local team Club Atlético Kimberley were used making for surely the most unusual France kit of all time:

Of course it is all super mismatched and awkward looking, but should be mentioned here as France was the home team. Also, the jersey was clearly not made by Adidas. This was also probably the last time that a team at the World Cup was forced into a replacement kit (Argentina in 1986 elected to get different jerseys ahead of their clash with England in 1986). Due to its extraordinary status, I also will not hand out any rating here.

This look was more or less kept up until 1980. During that period the French team did not yet live up to its World Cup promise as Czechoslovakia beat them to a spot at EURO 1980 – necessary learning steps as we would see. In 1980 we also saw the first real modification of the look of the French team as the plain blue was dropped in favor of a pinstripe look. A look that was about to become iconic thanks to France’s performance at the 1982 World Cup. However, as with the previous more plain look there were subtle differences over time. It all started out with this kit in 1980:

France_1981_Home_10

All the hallmarks of this look are already there: a blue shirt with alternating pinstripes in white and red. Of course the red ones are little less visible hence the overall look emphasizes more on the white ones which do have quite a nice distance between them. Also, the intention was that the centered pinstripe is white, but seemingly it not always worked out that way. Up close the pattern gets quite busy once you factor in the red – honestly, too busy for my liking. The collar is blue with the same pinstriping present (it does look a bit odd) and a white triangle insert on the front. Of course, the three white stripes with a red inset are also present – by now they are quasi-mandatory. White sleeve cuffs complete the look. And yes, the number font also has not changed and it is a pity that it eventually had to as this one of the best Adidas fonts.

Now, for the 1982 World Cup in France there were only minor modifications to this look and they all concerned the collar:

The white inset was removed and the collar was now in white with a French flag border. And it was in these shirts that France dazzled the crowds and made it all the way to the semifinals where they could not hold on to a 3-1 in overtime against probably the most hated West Germany team of all time. Everyone outside of Germany wanted to see the French join Italy for the final, but a late equalizer and a loss in the penalty shoot-out put an end to French hopes. But the 3-3 against the Germans is widely regarded as one of the best games at a World Cup and were it not for Schumacher’s vile tackle on Battiston, the public might have been more forgiving to the Germans.

Back to the shirt: as I said before this is such an iconic look, but to be honest the inclusion of the red stripes make this one almost too busy while they are not really visible at a distance. Two more things, I think could have been done better: the front of the collar also contains the pinstripes but angled from the overall pattern. It looks to weird. And the trefoil logo rides too high.

Still this one is super iconic, but as it is so similar to the versions prior and after, I will hold off my judgement for now.

Side note: it is really hard to get a non-match picture of this shirt at the moment. Google spits out mostly replicas or the non-1982 World Cup versions. The modern-day replicas look quite well, but either the striping is off, the trefoil logo is missing or the collar is also white on the front. Small differences, but they all do not make the 1982 shirt …

Now, after the World Cup, France did not have to play a qualification tournament as they were already qualified for EURO 1984 in their home country. Still, for the friendlies used in the run-up to that tournament, a third style of the pinstripe jersey was issued:

In many ways this is the simplest version as the shirt collar is replaced by a somewhat thick V-neck. Also, note that now the red pinstripe is centered which actually looks smart given the white collar.

All in all, these shirts are very similar, but the pick is after all the World Cup version. I really want to like the shirt collar with the triangle inset, but the blue collar just looks to weird and the 1983 V-neck is a bit too plain. The French flag on the 1982 collar just puts this over the top and I rate it slightly above the others, but not enough to dish out separate grades.

In a way it is really hard to rate this one as it is one of the most iconic French kits that was even voted as the best of all time. However, I have to disagree here. The red pinstripes are the feature holding me back from reaching for a really high grade as they are providing too little contrast against the blue background (something that works perfectly on the white away jerseys). But the close-ups are just a tad too busy and the way the pinstriping pattern is worked into the collar from 1980-82 is just lazy and weird. On the other hand, pinstriping frequently works well and the white ones really break up the jersey nicely. I am really going back and forth on this one, but in the end too many good images are associated with this France jersey:

My rating: 8/10 stars.

How would you rate these shirts?

 

France (Home 1904-71)

Now, in order to honor the two finalists I decided to revive my ‘History of Classic Soccer Shirts’ and look at the history of both Croatian and French jerseys. I also decided to lump the jerseys together to make a smaller but more cohesive number of posts. And of course, we start off with the new World Champions: les Bleus!

Well, the France home kit per se is quite simple in its origin: the three components each are a part of the French national flag, that is a blue jersey, white shorts and red stockings. Why blue and not red? Well, when hung vertically the flag has blue on top followed by white and red – easy!

Interesting side note: there are two official color versions of the French flag – one with the reflex blue also depicted in my version on top of this version (and prevalent online) and one with a much darker almost navy blue which is quite similar to the color of the French home shirt in 2014 and 2018.

Now, just wait a minute. Blue is commonly associated with the France home shirt, but at first France used a white kit and a blue kit was not established as first choice kit until 1920 when the French Football Federation (Fédération française de football or FFF) was formed. Prior the matches of the French team were organized by different sports governing bodies such as the USFSA (Union des sociétés françaises de sports athlétiques) and the CFI (Comité français interfédéral). The USFSA was sort of a national olympic committee that was then taken over  by the CFI and … it was a real mess. To get a glimpse of that mess, just read this Wikipedia entry. We are more concerned with the actual kit here and the initial white kit (worn with blue shorts and red stockings) was embossed with two intersecting rings in blue and red on the left side making for a very unique look by today’s standards.

The coq gaulois (Gallic rooster) made its first appearance above the two circles in 1908 when the CFI started organising games and used the cockerel atop the two circles. As a French national symbol it became a permanent fixture on the national team jersey to this day.

Two years later in 1910, the French national team got a new look in what can only be described as a transitional stage between the initial white and the now traditional blue: a white jersey with blue vertical stripes. And these strange kits (unfortunately I cannot find a nice picture, but a sketch can be found here) where worn until the FFF was formed when the permanent switch to the blue shirts, white pants and red stockings took place. It was however not the first time that this look was ever worn since this color combination featured already in a friendly against England in 1908.

With an established look the French kit did not change a lot until recently with the only notable difference being the cockerel crest and the collar. Here are a few examples from the World Cup tournaments prior to 1966 in which France took part (taken from Historical Football Kits):

Clearly the shade of blue was lighter in the 1930s than after WWII, but other than that very very minor changes: the shirt collar gets less and less buttons as time moves on and the coq gaulois is sometimes put within a white shield and sometimes left alone. Here are a few pictures of the 1950s style shirts that are from retro sellers Toffs and Copa (original pictures are all in black and white and the detail is not that easily seen):

While probably not 100% accurate, it gives a good overview of how detailed the cockerel crest was in those days. The 1958 kit is of special note as this is not only the first kit of a really successful French team (third place and all-time single tournament top-scorer Just Fontaine), but also since the current crest is pretty much a de-colorised  version of that particular crest.

Overall, the look was quite consistent since the 1920s but had its first major change for the 1966 World Cup in England when Le Coq Sportif issued an updated version:

The shirt has quite a 1960s look with the deep  and wide V-neck as well as sleeve cuffs, but the prominent inclusion of the French colors on these make for a really nice touch. In all regards this is much needed refreshing of the classic look of the French blue shirt. It is also exactly the type of look I would expect Nike to adopt and modify into a more modern version. The cockerel crest is probably a bit overshadowed by the big white bars below it (the one thing I would have left out), but it is glorious in its full color glory.

As shown below, this look did not change whole lot except for the collar which was at times not as deep of a V-neck or a round collar:

However, to really make for an inconsistent look, the France kit at times had just a plain blue collar:

And while we are at inconsistencies, the coq gaulois also received quite a few updates as is illustrated by the two graphics below:

But then, Le Coq Sportif did not last too long as a supplier (and as we have seen was sometimes “enhanced” by other brands) and was soon supplanted by Adidas in 1972. In the graphic below (covering France kits from 1964 to 2014) it is even noticeable in the first row where the change took place as the base color of the shirt was slightly modified.

France-history

But that is the story for the next post …

 

 

 

Russia 2018 Performance Index

I finally got around to compute the performance indices for the 2018 World Cup. They will be updated daily now up until the end of the tournament when we will crown the relative World Cup winner.

More on this index and its computation can be found here:
Analyzing Soccer Tournaments – Part VIII: Determining the relative performance of a team

Expected Performance Index Jul 16, 2018:

Pos Team Index Pos Team Index Pos Team Index Pos Team Index
1 CRO 0.945 9 KOR 0.346 17 SRB 0.068 25 AUS -0.476
2 FRA 0.923 10 MEX 0.313 18 COL -0.037 26 PAN -0.489
3 SWE 0.851 11 DEN 0.295 19 SEN -0.141 27 MAR -0.546
4 RUS 0.759 12 KSA 0.269 20 BRA -0.149 28 CRC -0.568
5 JPN 0.724 13 NGA 0.255 21 POR -0.294 28 ISL -0.691
6 ENG 0.720 14 SUI 0.222 22 ARG -0.338 28 EGY -0.709
7 BEL 0.585 15 IRN 0.194 22 PER -0.338 31 POL -0.877
8 URU 0.442 16 TUN 0.121 24 ESP -0.425 32 GER -0.980

 

Expected Performance Index Jul 12, 2018:

Pos Team Index Pos Team Index Pos Team Index Pos Team Index
1 CRO 0.955 9 KOR 0.346 17 SRB 0.068 25 AUS -0.476
2 SWE 0.851 10 MEX 0.313 18 COL -0.037 26 PAN -0.489
3 FRA 0.820 11 DEN 0.295 19 SEN -0.141 27 MAR -0.546
4 RUS 0.759 12 KSA 0.269 20 BRA -0.149 28 CRC -0.568
5 JPN 0.724 13 NGA 0.255 21 POR -0.294 28 ISL -0.691
6 ENG 0.720 14 SUI 0.222 22 ARG -0.338 28 EGY -0.709
7 BEL 0.585 15 IRN 0.194 22 PER -0.338 31 POL -0.877
8 URU 0.442 16 TUN 0.121 24 ESP -0.425 32 GER -0.980

Expected Performance Index Jul 11, 2018:

Pos Team Index Pos Team Index Pos Team Index Pos Team Index
1 CRO 0.890 9 KOR 0.346 17 SRB 0.068 25 AUS -0.476
2 SWE 0.851 10 MEX 0.313 18 COL -0.037 26 PAN -0.489
3 FRA 0.818 11 DEN 0.295 19 SEN -0.141 27 MAR -0.546
4 ENG 0.809 12 KSA 0.269 20 BRA -0.149 28 CRC -0.568
5 RUS 0.759 13 NGA 0.255 21 POR -0.294 28 ISL -0.691
6 JPN 0.724 14 SUI 0.222 22 ARG -0.338 28 EGY -0.709
7 BEL 0.585 15 IRN 0.194 22 PER -0.338 31 POL -0.877
8 URU 0.442 16 TUN 0.121 24 ESP -0.425 32 GER -0.980

Expected Performance Index Jul 8, 2018:

Pos Team Index Pos Team Index Pos Team Index Pos Team Index
1 CRO 0.890 9 KOR 0.346 17 SRB 0.068 25 AUS -0.476
2 SWE 0.851 10 MEX 0.313 18 COL -0.037 26 PAN -0.489
3 ENG 0.809 11 DEN 0.295 19 SEN -0.141 27 MAR -0.546
4 RUS 0.759 12 KSA 0.269 20 BRA -0.149 28 CRC -0.568
5 JPN 0.724 13 NGA 0.255 21 POR -0.294 28 ISL -0.691
6 BEL 0.708 14 SUI 0.222 22 ARG -0.338 28 EGY -0.709
7 FRA 0.676 15 IRN 0.194 22 PER -0.338 31 POL -0.877
8 URU 0.442 16 TUN 0.121 24 ESP -0.425 32 GER -0.980

Expected Performance Index Jul 7, 2018:

Pos Team Index Pos Team Index Pos Team Index Pos Team Index
1 SWE 0.894 9 KOR 0.346 17 SRB 0.068 25 AUS -0.476
2 RUS 0.821 10 MEX 0.313 18 COL -0.037 26 PAN -0.489
3 CRO 0.804 11 DEN 0.295 19 SEN -0.141 27 MAR -0.546
4 JPN 0.724 12 KSA 0.269 20 BRA -0.149 28 CRC -0.568
5 BEL 0.710 13 NGA 0.255 21 POR -0.294 28 ISL -0.691
6 FRA 0.678 14 SUI 0.222 22 ARG -0.338 28 EGY -0.709
7 ENG 0.637 15 IRN 0.194 22 PER -0.338 31 POL -0.877
8 URU 0.442 16 TUN 0.121 24 ESP -0.425 32 GER -0.980

Expected Performance Index Jul 4, 2018:

Pos Team Index Pos Team Index Pos Team Index Pos Team Index
1 SWE 0.894 9 KOR 0.346 17 TUN 0.121 25 AUS -0.476
2 RUS 0.821 10 MEX 0.313 18 SRB 0.068 26 PAN -0.489
3 CRO 0.804 11 DEN 0.295 19 COL -0.037 27 MAR -0.546
4 JPN 0.724 12 KSA 0.269 20 SEN -0.141 28 CRC -0.568
5 ENG 0.633 13 NGA 0.255 21 POR -0.294 28 ISL -0.691
6 URU 0.594 14 SUI 0.222 22 ARG -0.338 28 EGY -0.709
7 FRA 0.463 15 BRA 0.194 22 PER -0.338 31 POL -0.877
8 BEL 2 16 IRN 0.194 24 ESP -0.425 32 GER -0.980

Expected Performance Index Jul 3, 2018:

Pos Team Index Pos Team Index Pos Team Index Pos Team Index
1 RUS 0.821 9 KOR 0.346 17 BRA 0.191 25 AUS -0.476
2 CRO 0.804 10 MEX 0.313 18 TUN 0.121 26 PAN -0.489
3 JPN 0.724 11 COL 0.298 19 SRB 0.068 27 MAR -0.546
4 SWE 0.659 12 DEN 0.295 20 SEN -0.141 28 CRC -0.568
5 URU 0.591 13 KSA 0.269 21 POR -0.294 28 ISL -0.691
6 SUI 0550 14 NGA 0.255 22 ARG -0.338 28 EGY -0.709
7 FRA 0.467 15 ENG 0.248 22 PER -0.338 31 POL -0.877
8 BEL 0.377 16 IRN 0.194 24 ESP -0.425 32 GER -0.980

Expected Performance Index Jul 2, 2018:

Pos Team Index Pos Team Index Pos Team Index Pos Team Index
1 RUS 0.820 9 KOR 0.346 17 TUN 0.121 25 AUS -0.476
2 CRO 0.805 10 COL 0.298 18 SRB 0.068 26 PAN -0.489
3 JPN 0.761 11 DEN 0.295 19 BRA 0.059 27 MAR -0.546
4 SWE 0.659 12 BEL 0.286 20 SEN -0.141 28 CRC -0.568
5 URU 0.590 13 KSA 0.269 21 POR -0.294 28 ISL -0.691
6 SUI 0550 14 NGA 0.255 22 ARG -0.338 28 EGY -0.709
7 FRA 0.478 15 ENG 0.251 22 PER -0.338 31 POL -0.877
8 MEX 0.410 16 IRN 0.194 24 ESP -0.425 32 GER -0.980

Expected Performance Index Jul 1, 2018:

Pos Team Index Pos Team Index Pos Team Index Pos Team Index
1 JPN 0.760 9 RUS 0.361 17 IRN 0.194 25 AUS -0.476
2 SWE 0.657 10 KOR 0.346 18 TUN 0.121 26 PAN -0.489
3 URU 0.591 11 COL 0.298 19 SRB 0.068 27 MAR -0.546
4 SUI 0.548 12 BEL 0.284 20 BRA 0.058 28 CRC -0.568
5 DEN 0.497 13 KSA 0.269 21 SEN -0.141 28 ISL -0.691
6 CRO 0.482 14 NGA 0.255 22 POR -0.294 28 EGY -0.709
7 FRA 0.478 15 ENG 0.241 22 ARG -0.338 31 POL -0.877
8 MEX 0.407 16 ESP 0.240 24 PER -0.338 32 GER -0.980

Observations:

Russia 2018: Prediction Central

My Soccer Universe

Well, I thought I may not be doing any real predictions on the World Cup, but once I saw the files creating these predictions, it only took a little bit of adjustment and then it was almost too easy. Yes, I spent probably more time on it than I originally intended, but it was truly fun. And yes, I did not feel my “World Cup coverage” would be complete without these predictions. And now, my wheels are in motion – so let’s see where this will be going.

Two more things: I will only use this single page for the predictions and not make a new post every time I run a calculation. The latest post will always be on top. Also, these probabilities are for entertainment purposes only. If anyone was to use these probabilities to place bets or use them for any other purpose, I will not…

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My World Cup Thoughts and Predictions

I know there have not been too many new posts on this blog lately. But I have NOT been inactive. In fact, I am in World Cup mode more than ever before. To give you a taste, regularly check out the World Cup Overview Page. There you find almost everything I have been doing in one handy place. There are all World Cup shirts with links to reviews, my latest projection of who will win the World Cup and how the tournament will pan out and links to all my thoughts on the games (more on that below).

If you would like to see how the projections progressed during the tournament, I highly recommend my Prediction Central page – also updated after every day of play at the World Cup.

Now, because I have so many thoughts in my head about the World Cup I also resurrected my YouTube-channel which supplements this blog super nicely. I also put the types of videos that I create daily (!!!) in handy playlists:

These videos below provide my personal commentary to the daily projections:

In these videos I provide a brief verbal summary of each game and what I thought about the performance. I also provide longer videos (usually filmed while riding to and from work) where I share with you some bigger picture thoughts:

Of course, feel free to like and comment on my videos and if you like what you see or if you want to stay updated, please subscribe to my channel.

Well, I just wanted to remind you what I have been up to in the past two weeks, so there you are.

 

How Do I Wish/Think the World Cup Will Go?

So, after telling you how I think all the jerseys look like and bombarding you with the numbers from my statistical model, it is time to look inside of me and go through the World Cup on a match-by-match basis and listen to my gut feeling. Well, once reaching the quarterfinals my heart took over … Watch it all here:

If you would like to see more videos like this, subscribe to my YouTube channel that complements this blog.

My Thoughts on the 2018 World Cup Jerseys

Well, I have reviewed them all, but there is an overarching theme in all these jerseys that I discuss in this video:

If you would like to see more videos like this, subscribe to my YouTube channel that complements this blog.

Morocco (Home & Away 2018)

Last jerseys for this World Cup! From here on, I will regularly update the calculations on this blog and keep checking these group pages as they will be updated with results. However, most of my commenting will probably be restricted to my YouTube channel while the World Cup is on. I will surely be back reviewing more jerseys after the World Cup. After all the UEFA Nations League will commence in Fall and there are so many jerseys of non-qualified nations that are just way to interesting to not look at.

Given their recent history and the fact that the release was delayed for quite a while, I had high expectations for the Morocco jersey. I was certain they would not repeat their 1994 look, but the prospect of a red jersey with green and white accents heavily intrigued me!

Morocco_2018_Home

And then this: a Russia jersey with a Morocco crest! There is really no other way of describing this shirt! It is a plain red Adidas shirt with white accents. This means white shoulder stripes, sleeve cuffs and V-neck. No green? Yes, no green. Well, wait: this one will be worn with green shorts so that is a saving grace. But by itself the jersey is rather underwhelming. As a Russia jersey it would have looked great, but for Morocco the accents should have been in green. And yes, it is disappointing that a simple stock jersey was used and nothing else. But as for Iran, the look is at least classic.

My rating: 5/10 stars.

Now, the away jersey actually leaked first, but there still is only one picture that gets edited all over the internet:

Morocco_2018_Away

More interesting than the home shirt, but still a tad underwhelming. The white jersey with red side striping also features a red shoulder yoke that reminds me very much of a simpler version of the yoke on the New York Rangers away jersey. There is really no other way for me to describe it. It is an interesting accent, but one that should be at home at the ice and not on the pitch. Well, Adidas took over the NHL jerseys and I have an inkling that this is where that stock design came from.

We will see this jersey quite a bit against Portugal and Spain, so it is a bit disappointing that it falls into the same red/white color scheme as the home jersey. I think if one o the red elements was green or if it was done in actual Rangers style, I think I would warm up to it more. This way, it is bordering boredom.

My rating: 5/10 stars.

How would you rate these shirts?