Evolution of the Italy World Cup Shirt
We all know “Azzurri” means blue and with many national team kits taking the color(s) of their respective countries’ flags, some might wonder why the national team shirt is blue given there’s no blue on the Italy flag.
Well ladies and gentleman here is the answer courtesy of Forza Italian Football.
The color comes from the blue of the House of Savoy (Casa Savoia), one of the oldest royal families in Italy, which went on to rule the Kingdom of Italy from 1861 to the end of World War II.
The Blue, as a symbol of the House, is something of a memento of an act of rebellion against Napoleon, after his invasion of Italy that led to annexing Genoa and proclaiming himself King of Italy in the early 1800s.
But enough of the history lesson, let’s see those shirts!
1934 and 1938 - Champions
Italy’s first World Cup shirt coincided with their first success on home turf.
An identical top was used four years later in France and had a similar effect as the Azzurri clinched a second successive title.
Note the ‘V’ necked collar, the distinctive ‘Savoy’ blue and Casa Savoia badge.
1950 - First Round
The World Cup in Brazil saw a new shirt for La Nazionale. The V neck remained but the Casa Savioa badge was replaced by a a more familiar green, white and red emblem. Incredibly the shirt was made of wool, which probably accounted for the team’s poor performances.
1962 - First Round
The birth of the ‘polo’ shirt, with a collar and three buttons. Some players would keep it buttoned up whilst others, like Omar Sivori would always keep the collar open. But either way, the Azzurri failed to make a mark on the tournament.
1966 - First Round
The World Cup in England saw a return to the round necked shirt of the 1950s, though the misfortune on the field continued. A top immortalised due to the embarrassing 1-0 defeat to minnows North Korea in the opening round.
1970 – Runners Up, 1974 – First Round, 1978 – Fourth Place 1970 italy shirt
Probably the best and most iconic Italy shirt ever, first worn in the heat of Mexico. A classic round neck, short sleeved, intensely blue and a perfectly proportioned badge propelled the Azzurri to a second place finish in one of the best tournaments of all time. In 1974, Italy wore what was an exact replica of the shirt, however it was now produced by a major sports company, Adidas. Though the top showed no markings of the sponsor, the accompanying socks did have the trade mark ‘Three stripes’. In 1978, the shirt was once again produced by Adidas and was almost identical to the earlier versions. This time, the only change was on the back as the numbers were no longer solid but made up of two white lines.
1982 - Champions
The World Cup winning shirt in Spain featured a radical design change as Le Coq Sportif took over its production. A ‘V’ neck and collar was introduced, with green, white and red piping along collar and sleeve edges. A further change was to the badge, which now had the letters FIGC running through the white area.
1986 – Second Round and 1990 – Third Italy shirt 1986
The same shirt was used in 1986 and 1990, now being produced by Italian company Diadora. The badge had become round and the three gold stars appeared to celebrate the number of times Italy had been crowned champions.
1994 – Runners Up italy shirt 1994
Another badge change as well as a new design to both the collar and the sleeves, with green, white and red triangles. For the first time, the Italy shirt had what can be described as a watermark design on the main body, with the new emblem embossed throughout the material.
1998 – Quarter Finals
A further design tweak as the Nike took up the challenge of producing a shirt for the World Cup in France. The colours on the sleeves and collar are gone and the fit is very much loose and comfortable, in stark contrast to what would come a few years later.
2002 – Second Round italy shirt 2002
Kappa produced the 2002 shirt, with some major changes in look, material and colour. The top gave birth to the new ‘tight fit and stretchy’ style, which supposedly was to help referees see any illegal tugs. The blue was much lighter and the Kappa symbol was sewn in on the sleeve.
2006 – Champions italy shirt 2006
This time Puma made what was reported as being the lightest of all the shirts used during the Germany 2006 tournament. The badge was moved to the middle and sits above the the manufacturer logo. It also had some controversial darker blue areas near the armpits which some fans likened to sweat patches!
2010 – First Round italy shirt 2010
Puma again, but this shirt failed to failed to match its predecessor. The watermarks are back, showing what appears to be chest and stomach muscles and the badge is moved back to side of the shirt. A tiny collar is incorporated and white flashes cross the arms and chest area.
The 2014 Puma shirt brings back the super tight design and a tiny buttoned collar. White stripes run vertically along the sides and the Italian flag returns to the sleeve edges, for the Brazil tournament. When Gli Azzurri stand together in 2014, they stand united in this shirt, which is inspired by the uniforms of past champions and crafted for future legends. For the Azzurri fan who lives and breathes the game every second, every day, and especially every four years, this authentic compression shirt is available with limited edition packaging. The shirt's built-in PUMA ACTV tape aligns with muscles used during football plays, goals, and celebrations. It is strategically placed to optimize performance.
2015 - ERREA in DUBAI