For the Record

10 games into the world cup and we’ve seen 33 goals and not a single 0-0 draw. The record number of goals in a world cup finals is 171 (France 98, the first 32 team tournament). If the current average of 3.3 goals per game is maintained then this world cup will yield an astonishing 211 goals! As well as there being no 0-0 draws there hasn’t been a draw of any kind so far. As Gary Lineker pointed out shortly after tonight’s France vs Honduras match, the last time a world cup was so ten games old without a single draw was 1950, coincidentally the last time Brazil hosted the world cup.

The Definitive Ranking Of Every Country’s Kits For The 2014 World Cup

KNOCKED OUT IN THE GROUP STAGE:

32.  MEXICO

Mexico

Style: The jagged lines might confuse the opposition, but the fashion critics aren’t fooled. not one of adidas’ best. The two tone green is a little clumsy while the white and red zig-zag lines would have been out-of-date at USA ’94.  1/10

Originality: There’s original and then there’s being different for the sake of it. This is the latter. 5/10

Patriotism: Doesn’t say much about Mexico’s great culture, and isn’t that traditional either. 3/10

Score: 9/30

31. Honduras

Style: They look a bit like those baggy t-shirts mum made you wear when you were a kid. 2/10

Originality: A bit conservative for Honduras, Inner side of the shirt feature special lettering to support the player, which summarizes the spirit of Honduras: ‘Honduras, Fe, Respeto, Valentía, Honestidad, Actitud’ (Honduras, Faith, Respect, Courage, Honesty, Attitude) 4/10

Patriotism: While the massive H on the chest isn’t exactly stylish, it does at least show that the Honduras are proud of their nation, and proud to be at another World Cup. 6/10

Score: 12/30

30. Spain

Style: Like many other teams, Spain have opted for two one-colour kits which was a request by Fifa to aid referees at this year’s tournament. Manufacturers Adidas have slightly moved away from the traditional Spanish kits we have been used to over the years. The Spain home kit features a combination of red and gold. The kit in its entirety, the shirt, shorts and socks, are all red. The fading yellow stripe across the away kit is an issue, but The gold trim looks excellent on the all-red strip – as does the golden badge to mark them as world champions. 7/10

Originality: Could easily be for a Sunday league team (barring the World Cup winners’ star or course). 3/10

Patriotism: Where’s the blue gone?! And the away kit is totally new colouring for Spain. 2/10

Score: 12/30

29. AustraliaAustralia

Style: The triangle under the collar isn’t great, and the kits as a whole look like they’re trying too hard to look like Brazil, more so as they have ditched yellow socks in favour of white ones. 6/10

Originality: Shouldn’t Aussies play in upside down kits anyway? Now that would be original. 2/10

Patriotism: Green and gold — check. Navy — huh, looks a little too close to an ‘all-black’ strip if you ask me, and that’s territory few Aussies want little to do with in a sporting context. 4/10

Score: 12/30

28. Algeria

Algeria

Style: Unlike some of the other African nations, Algeria have played it pretty safe. 6/10

Originality: Like a lot of the Puma kits this summer, they look good, they’re just a bit dull. 4/10

Patriotism: The colours are right. Not much else going on with this shirt though. 2/10

Score: 12/30

27. Ecuador

 

Originality: The design on the shoulders gives it something a bit different. 5/10

Patriotism: All three of Ecuador’s main colours just creep onto the home shirt (look as the trim on the sides!) Inside the collar features the lettering ‘Mas Que El Sol Contemplamos Lucir’ (is brighter than the shining sun we see) taken from the country’s national anthem. 6/10

Score: 13/30

26. Costa Rica

Costa Rica

Style:  Is that a bird with a really long neck flying across the shirt? Cannot unsee. 4/10

Originality: It has a mutant bird on it. 5/10

Patriotism: Unfortunately for Costa Rica, the stork is not their national bird. 4/10

Score: 13/30

25. NigeriaNigeria

Style: When it comes to Nigeria, it’s a given that the strip will be green – but can you have too much of the colour? The Away strip looks smarter. 4/10

Originality: Two-tone green on pinstripes on the home kit give this a little something. 5/10

Patriotism: Nicknamed the Super Eagles, Nigeria could have played up to that and created a truly awesome kit. But they didn’t. 4/10

Score: 13/30

24. Uruguay

Uruguay

Style: So tight it looks like the players might not be able to breathe. And not keen on the grandad collars. 5/10

Originality: There’s some gold on it to remind them of past glories. 3/10

Patriotism: The sun rays coming out of the crest are a nice touch, but very understated — where’s the PRIDE?! 5/10

Score: 13/30

23. South Korea

South Korea

Style: The away kit definitely beats the home one, which looks more like a training top than something for the world’s biggest stage. 4/10

Originality: Mostly for the red and blue stripes on the shoulders and th ridiculous collar which sticks up with the exception of a hole at the front of the neck. 6/10

Patriotism: Could have made use of the excellent South Korean flag. 4/10

Score: 14/30

22. Ivory Coast

Ivory Coast

Style: The shapes are really nice, even if on the whole these kits are pretty plain. Strong colours help make up for that, though. 7/10

Originality: Coulda jazzed it up a bit. It’s just a plain Puma kit. 2/10

Patriotism: The elephant on the badge is a big plus, but it’s all you really get from from these strips. 5/10

Score: 14/30

21. Bosnia and Herzegovina

Bosnia and Herzegovina

Style: Decent plainish Adidas template. I’m sure we’ll see this rolled out to a few club teams soon. The Blue stripe on the away strip looks a little clumsy, but overall a safe and conservative strip. 6/10

Originality: The little stripes on the sleeves are okay, but these are pretty plain otherwise. 3/10

Patriotism: The crest has a silhouette of the countries on, which is a nice little bonus. 6/10

Score : 15 /30

20. Greece

Greece

Style: A nice simple adidas template, similar to Spain’s effort,  though we’re unsure on the seemingly ice-inspired away effort. 5/10

Originality: The graphic on the red shirt and the twist on stripes on the white one mean these kits do stand out. The only trouble is that with the gold trim, Russia are going to look very much like Spain during the tournament. 6/10

Patriotism: Seem to suggest that Russia is defined by ice and snow. Not enough blue on the home shirt. 4/10

Score: 15/30

18. Belgium

Belgium

Belgium have released three new kits for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. Belgium are the only country at this summer’s tournament to be supplied by the Swiss/Qatari company Burrda Sports. The Red Devils have a red home shirt, a black away shirt and a yellow third shirt. The red home shirt features a black and a yellow horizontal stripe on the front along with a crown which is taken from the crest.

Style: Belgium are young and exciting but will have to play out of their skins to win the World Cup. Maybe they should play out of their shirts too. 2/10

Originality: The crown is unique, but it’s also extremely tacky. Each kit has a different “feature” which gives more options. 8/10

Patriotism: with the badge sitting opposite three stripes representing Belgium’s tri-colour, with both sitting above a watermark of the crown from the national crest. 6/10

Score: 16/30

17. Italy

Italy

Style: The Italians are supposed to be a fashionable nation, but the panels on the shoulders of the home shirt and the odd collar suggest otherwise. The Away kit saves it, I rather like the pinstripe. 6/10

Originality: The pinstriped away kit is quirky,and the home strip features a tailored buttoned down collar and the Italian flag on the sleeve cuffs. 3/10

Patriotism: The classic azurri blue is there, along with occasional glimpses of the Italian flag. These strips’ saving grace. 7/10

Score: 16/30

SECOND ROUND LOSERS:

16. England

England

Style: So, so simple, but these kits do look alright. Not too fussed on the collars and would have liked a little more red trim in the home strip. Does that red one remind anyone of a certain 1966? We can dream… 7/10

Originality: They’re plain, but in the traditional sense. And not an original template. Retro football kits are the way forward it seems. 3/10

Patriotism: The three lions are there and large. 6/10

Score: 16/30

15.  ColumbiaColombia

Style: The diagonal slashes on the home strip are neither sensational nor awful. A good shade of yellow. 6/10

Originality: The away kit is a slightly outdated template used by many Premier league clubs. 6/10

Patriotism: The back of the neck features a hashtag reading #UnidosPorUnPais which translates as united for a nation. 5/10

Score: 17/30

14. Chile

Chile

Style: The lines down the sides look a bit like an overambitious plastic surgeon has been plotting a makeover. 5/10

Originality: Nothing particularly striking but these kits do have a bit of an edge. 5/10

Patriotism: All three of the Chile’s main colours appear on each shirt. This is what we like to see. And the national flag which features on the reverse of the neck. 7/10

Score: 17/30

13. PortugalPortugal

Style: The Portuguese will look great in either of those shirts as they inevitably knock England out in the quarter-finals. 8/10

Originality: The hoops on the home shirt are unique but the away shirt looks too much like Englands home strip. 6/10

Patriotism: Not enough green to be truly Portuguese, but when Cristiano Ronaldo’s banging the goals in, will they care? 5/10

Score: 19/30

12. Germany

Germany

Style: The away kit appears to have come straight out of a Dennis the Menace comic. The home shirt is a belter though. 6/10

Originality: The only side inspired by a cartoon character at this year’s tournament. What is the world coming to? Clearly smarting over England stealing their basic template for their home strip, Germany have done what they do best and have just gone ahead and done something better anyway. 9/10

Patriotism: Not lots to shout about, but I like the inclusion of the red on the home shirt. 5/10

Score: 20/30

11. ArgentinaArgentina

Style: There is only so much you can do with a striped design, so when in doubt keep it simple, and the away top is interesting. Not bad. 8/10

Originality: The blue and white stripes are pretty unique in international football, and the different shades used on the away kit are smart. 6/10

Patriotism: The shirt also features small wavy lines going across the middle of the shirt, which represents the flag of Argentina. 7/10

Score: 21/30

10. Japan

Japan

Style: The red on the sleeves and subtle pattern on the home shirt is great. The tennis ball-style away shirt is a bit of an eyesore though and massively looses points. 5/10

Originality: Bright colours and decent graphics while still looking smart on the whole. Solid. 7/10

Patriotism: One of the few kits in this year’s World Cup to include the nation’s flag,  and with a country also known as the ‘land of the rising sun’, it’s a nice touch to have the badge having an effect that has a light-like glow emitting from it. 9/10

Score: 21/30

9.  The Netherlands

The Netherlands

Style: The shape itself could not be more simple, but it works. The orange is great as ever, the blue strip is a nice concept and the retro crest looks awesome. 7/10

Originality: Orange, orange, orange. Also, the darkening chevrons on the away strip will look great in action. The kits were created by Nike and both kits feature designs to commemorate the 125th anniversary of the KNVB – the Dutch football association. 7/10

Patriotism:  Did we mention the orange? The shirt comes with a V-collar and features the Dutch flag inside the collar and the crest has been designed specifically to celebrate the anniversary. The crest features an enlarged lion to honour the traditional crest used since 1907 until the 60s and 70s. 7/10

Score: 21/30

 

GONE IN THE QUARTERS:

8.  BrazilBrazil

Style: Brazil can never really go wrong with their iconic yellow and green strip. They are colours that only Brazil can pull off (with a doff of the cap to Norwich as well) and that’s where the flamboyance ends with the hosts in regards to their home strip. Their change options are pretty slick too. 8/10

Originality: The trailblazers of the bright yellow kit. 6/10

Patriotism: Whack a big samba drum on the front and you’re onto a winner (okay, maybe not). The colours of Brazil are iconic however and they have not messed around. A special touch on the kit includes the slogan ”Nascido para jogar futebol” – which means ”Born to play football”. This can be found behind the crest on the inside of the shirt. 8/10

Score: 22/30

7. Iran

Iran

Style: Made by German manufacture Uhlsport, the home and away strips display a unique touch with an image of an Iranian cheetah stitched into the front of the kit. Can come across as a bit ugly. 5/10

Originality: The watermark earns major points, but the away strip is very Portugal, isn’t it? 8/10

Patriotism: That animal on the front is the Asiatic cheetah, and it is on there to raise awareness of its dwindling numbers in Iran. I love it! 9/10

Score: 22/30

6. Switzerland

Switzerland

Style: The tramlines down the sides work well, as do the bits of trim on the sleeves. However it looks like a competition to see how many badges you can cram on to the front of one shirt – with the Puma logo, the Swiss national flag and the national team crest all featuring above where the player’s designated number on the front of the strip is. Don’t like the collar with a slight cut in the middle. 8/10

Originality: Stands out with elegance. 6/10

Patriotism: What’s the best thing about Switzerland? Well, the flag’s a big plus (sorry, so so sorry). But look, it’s there on the home shirt, and it rocks! 8/10

Score: 22/30

5. France

France

Style: They might not be that good at football these days (they scraped into the World Cup via the play-offs), but the French sure know their fashion. It’s plain, but it’s plain that is done very well, and they have got the tri-color of colours in the blue top, white shorts and red socks. 9/10

Originality: The away kit basically looks like a t-shirt, but it’s different and it works really nicely. 7/10

Patriotism: The hoops conjure up the image of the stereotypical Frenchman, with with a subtle twist. The France home shirt features a new 1958 crest which reflects players’ feedback of wanting to ‘feel the history of our country’. 6/10

Score: 22/30

OUT IN THE SEMIS:

4. USA

USA

Style:  Its a rather lazy attempt from Nike, with the strip looking like a standard Polo or tennis top. Its nice but not quite a ‘soccer’ Jersey which looses it points. The away top makes up the points. It’ss loud, proud will look stunning on the pitch. 7/10

Originality: Basically just because of the away shirt. Nothing like anything else in the competition. 8/10

Patriotism: U.S.A. U.S.A. Some stars might have taken this to a 10, but let’s be honest, it would be a bit much. 8/10

Score: 23/30

3. Cameroon

Cameroon

Style: The graphics are subtle enough not to be garish while giving the kit an interesting twist — a strong effort! I shouldn’t like it, but I do. 7/10

Originality: It has animals on it. We like animals. Points for you, Cameroon. 9/10

Patriotism: The shirts are literally covered in the country’s culture, and all the colours are there too. It features the repeated pharse ‘Les Lions Indomptables’ (Imdomitable Lions) based on the their nickname while also featuring said animal. 8/10

Score: 24/30

WORLD CUP FINALISTS:

2. Croatia

Style: The blue away kit with the checkered trim is great, and the chequered front on the home strip is complimented by red sleeves, with blue numbers and logos help breaking up the strip and showing the nation’s tri-colour. Simple but ever so effective. 8/10

Originality: When your kit is this bold, everyone is evidently too scared to copy you. 9/10

Patriotism: The colors are all right — this couldn’t belong to anyone but the Croatians. 8/10

Score: 25/30

1. Ghana — WORLD CHAMPIONS!

Ghana — WORLD CHAMPIONS!

Style: The tribal bit round the collar and sleeves of the home kit is just perfection, and the patterned red number is special too. 9/10

Originality: The two kits both make a statement, but are completely different from one another. Just great. There’s enough on the strip to be noticeable, but it’s subtle enough to not take over and it’s a balance designers Puma have pulled off very well. 9/10

Patriotism: Like the Cameroon strip, the traditional watermarking is brilliant, and incorporates stars to recognise Ghana’s ‘Black Stars’ nickname. 9/10

Score: 27/30 The clear leaders. GHANA WIN THE WORLD CUP!!! (of fashion)

 

World Cup Playlist!

Essential for EVERY football fan this World Cup. i’ve complied some of my favourite Footie themed songs for you’re world cup party/BBQ. COME ON ENGLAND!

I’ll start with this years official world cup song by Pitbull – We Are One (Ole Ole)

I hate Pitbull so trying to take out any bias. I suppose its not a bad world cup song, Has lots of Brazilian flavour and could get a party started.

6/10

And Next Englands Official World Cup song, delivered to you by Gary Barlow – Greatest Day

Again, Not fond of Gary Barlow and his realllllly sloooow monotonous voice. I do like this song though. It’s quite inspiring and I like how it was for Sport Relief.

7/10

Now some of the best England World Cup Songs

Rik Mayall – Noble England

With the tragic news of one of Britain’s finest comics of the 90’s Rik Mayall passing just the other day, this is straight at the top of the list. And there is even a campaign to get it to number 1 in his honour.
I do like this. Rousing, inspiring speech, easy to sing along and ability to jump around with a pint too.

8/10

Ant and Dec – We’re On the Ball

Everyone’s favourite Geordie Duo recorded England officiall 2002 World Cup Song. They had a lot to live up too after “Let’s get ready to rumble” but proved they still have their MC skills. A good fun song, gauranteed to get everyone in party mood.

7/10 

442 – Come On England

Remix of 80’s classic. Highly contagious, an easy sing-a-long.

6/10

Dizzee Rascal ft James Corden – Shout for England

Another remix, with Dizzee Rascals touch. Not a bad attempt. A catchy hit but the lyrics are a bit naff, especially for a MC of Dizzee’s calibre.

5/10

Fat Les – Vindaloo

Any song with “NA NA NA’S” in is great by my books. Catch, rowdy, jumpy classic.

9/10

New Order – World in Motion

John Barnes Rapping. Enough said really.

8/10

Baddiel, Skinner and The Lightning seeds – Three Lions (Footballs Coming Home)

Everyone’s favourite. An Utter Classic. If you are English and you don’t know the words to this song you should have your passport revoked.

10/10

Queen – We Are The Champions

The Official 1994 World Cup Song. COULD YOU IMAGINE SINGING THIS ON JULY THE 13TH!!!!

10/10

 

Some other classics from around the world.

The Wolfetones – You’ll Never Beat The Irish

I am half Irish, and see myself as more Irish than English, so this song was top of my list. Absolute belter!

10/10

K’naan –  Waving Flag

Not the official anthem of the 2010 World cup in South Africa, but I preferred this to Shakira’s effort, which sold because, well she’s Shakira, even I’d do her! This just had a better message and better African feel In my opinion.

7/10

Ricky Martin – La Copa De La Vida (The Cup Of Life)

Official World Cup 98 Song, Catchy cheese – therefore I like and will get people shaking their bums. Not the greatest football anthem though.

6/10

 

And this one deserves a special mention for being the worst football song I’ve ever heard.

Bell & Spurling – Sven Sven Sven

Funny though.

 

 

Sticker books ARE COOL!

Sticker books are a superb educational tool. Geography, Maths, Art and Design, Hand eye co-ordination. Yup – It’s all there. I’ll soon be able to identify the Algerian keeper in a crowded room, be on first name terms with the Costa Rican back four, and I’ll be lethal in the ‘flags of the world’ round in any pub quiz. Old or young, collecting football stickers is an essential part of the excitement, ritual and tradition of the world cup experience.

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Still, there’s something comically pathetic about a grown adult entering a shop with the sole intention of purchasing five pounds worth of football stickers. The first few times I would tell the server at Tesco’s they were for my little cousin. I also desperately tried the self service, but the packets were too light and so the red light flashed for the staff member to come over and check.

My first Panini sticker album was when I was 7 years old during the France 98 World Cup. Bright enough to work out the likely chances of ever having enough cash to complete the album, I instead decided to draw each footballer in his empty box using a limited array of crayons. Older people were much amused. All the kids in my year at school were totally obsessed with collecting football stickers. In fact, buying and trading these little cards became so popular that a thriving black market flourished at St Teresa’s Catholic School in Nottingham that summer. The playground transformed into a contraband marketplace, with players being bought and sold on at wildly inflated prices.

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I have collected stickers for every world cup up until the last one, 2010 in South Africa. I don’t know why I didn’t collect – I just didn’t. So when a brand new Brazil 2014 sticker album fell onto my lap one Sunday morning, free with my newspaper I was stopped in my tracks. It was like seeing an ex you’d forgotten you still had feelings for suddenly saunter into the bar.

But there is nothing embarrassing about collecting Panini. They are nostalgic, addictive treasures that awaken your inner child and are, it would seem, great bonding with your mates and colleagues alike. We now have regular swap shops scheduled in, where at least 4 of us will sit in a pub and bust out our “swapsies”. Joel Campbell has even been at it. The Arsenal striker, on loan at Olympiakos and likely to line up for Costa Rica at the World Cup, made amusing headlines last week after buying 100 packets of stickers in a bid to locate the all-important rectangle No296: his own. Much to his disappointment, it wasn’t among the 500 stickers he bought, although photographic evidence of the aftermath of his foil-tearing frenzy suggests he has no shortage of Neymars available to anyone prepared to help him out with “swapsies”

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You start with 6 free stickers that can be found in every album. Yaya Touré? Got. Cristiano Ronaldo? Got. Hugo Lloris? Got. Gonzalo Higuaín? Got. Roman Shirokov? Got. Daniele De Rossi? Got. That leaves only 633 spaces to fill – a little bit less than 124 packets bought blind at an accumulative total of around £64. That’s the minimum spend, in the preposterously unlikely event that you’re lucky enough to get stickers you actually need each time, rather than end up withmultiple Han Kook-youngs, Phil Jagielkas and Wakaso Mubaraks.BouxsKRIcAA7VMx

As well as players, the official World Cup sticker album features the usual highly sought-after “shinys”, special glitter stickers featuring the Panini logo, Fifa Fair Play logo, official World Cup ball, World Cup trophy, World Cup mascot and badges for each of the 32 competing teams. That’s a lot of shininess. Perhaps best of all, it also features two-part half-and-half stickers of the various World Cup stadiums, a state of affairs that enables collectors to add to the tournament’s authenticity by leaving many of the grounds half-finished in the run-up to kick-off. My first packet of stickers contained 50% of the Arena da Baixada in Curitiba. Five more packets down the road and the other half remains elusive, presumably on the grounds that nobody knows what it looks like because it hasn’t been built yet.

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But how much does it actually cost to complete the whole book?

Working in the basis the people do not swap cards with others, research by two mathematicians from Switzerland has revealed that it costs just under £450 to get all the stickers needed. As for the maths, the mathematicians looked at the number of stickers needed to complete the Panini 2014 sticker album: 640. At 50p a pack, if there were no doubles or duplicates, the outlay needed to complete the album would be £63.99. But based on mathematical probabilities, the experts claimed that in fact 899 packs would need to be purchased, costing £449.50.

So far I’ve been lucky. I’ve spent about £40 and only have 30 odd stickers to go (most of the flaming Iranian team). There’s a fair few of us going man in my friendship group and we’ve amassed enough ‘swapsies’ each, that buying packs has now been made redundant. But Still, at 530pm today, I will find myself in the newsagents after work, with a pound for 2 packets. I can’t help it. Nothing beats the feeling and sound of tearing open a new packet of football stickers.