Croatia (Home & Away 2018-19)

And another Nike team, but here the design will typically overshadow any template as the checker pattern is one of the most iconic kit designs out there. Also, to put everything I am writing below in context, you may want to look at my previous Croatia posts.

I have said it before and I will say it again here: Croatia has one of the most talented sides in Europe, especially going forward. But as my Croatian office mate told me, the defense is suspect at best and coaching as well as the federation leadership are beyond comment. And given the quite tricky draw, everything is possible for this side: Croatia could dominate the group or leave without a single point. It just depends in what mood the team shows up. Personally, I would peg them in for a spot int he second round, but strangely enough I am more worried about the fans than the team. And that is a totally different story that I won’t bore you with. But for me there is a third boiling point concerning Croatia: their kits which we will look at in this post:

Well, the shirt features a checkered pattern, what a surprise! But unlike the flowing elegant 2016 version, this one is right on the other side of the spectrum: static, without moving and in your face. Making each square four times as big as usual (and probably even bigger) makes for a horrible look here. But if you look close something else seems to be off: the sides of each square are blurry thanks to a zig-zag pattern. Yes, it is more interesting than straight lines, but it also wants me to either take out my glasses or adjust my screen every time I look at it. Well, propably to avoid over-complicating the look, the sleeves and shoulders are all-red.

Now, the larger squares do have one advantage: they naturally give enough space for the crest, swoosh and numbers to be displayed. And it is all fine for the former, but for some reason, the number is once more placed just below the swoosh and totally looks out of place here. Why not have a blue number in the perfect sweet spot, the adjacent white center square, and give us at least some symmetry.

To round it all off, the back gives us a completely different look: all white with red shoulders. At first, I even wondered if this is the back of a proper third jersey, but no, they just completely omitted the pattern from the front. Not even below the number are we treated with it (as has been custom so far). Never mind the nice blue names and numbers as they won’t save the most awful version of the Croatian home shirt I can remember. Kudos to you Nike: you delivered the perfect jersey on your worst template and now you slightly improved the template, but completely fumbled this one.

My rating 2/10 stars.

Well, after seeing a leak of the home jersey, the away jersey was my sole glimmer of hope when it comes to Croatia’s look in Russia. Alas, it was not meant to be:

Forget whatever I said about the awful home jersey. These are worse!!! Out of everything  have seen so far, these get to be my pick for worst jerseys of the tournament. And this is achieved by using some of my favorite colors. So truly a masterstroke out of the toilet! Pairing black with navy just does not look good on such an overall pattern. Use one as base color and the other one as a subtle accent and you may be on to something, but not like this. Then, to make a dark jersey even darker, a red font is used for names and numbers (which are still placed incorrectly on the front). The only shining light on this is are the bright colors of the crest.

Why so gloomy, Croatia? You had one of the most pleasant shades of blue to work with. Yes, using the colors from the previous away jersey still would not have made this a good shirt, but at least a bit more pleasant to look at. There is so much wrong here on all accounts that I don’t even want to waste more time on writing about it. Abject failure! And the worst part? We actually will get to see this one in what is arguably the marquee match-up of Group D. I better stop here. The rating should be no surprise to anyone…

My rating: 1/10 stars.

How would you rate these shirts?

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