Vorsprung durch Technik

The 90s seem to be in at the moment. TFI Friday’s been on TV again, professional Britpopers have been relentlessly in our faces and Chris Evans is everywhere (still). All we need now is for Shed Seven to re-release Going For Gold. No, maybe not.

More importantly though it’s 25 years since Italia ’90.

While that tournament’s remembered on these shores for Gazza’s tears, the best World Cup song of all time, England losing on penalties, again, and Gary Lineker shitting himself, it’s also remembered as one of the best of all time.

It might not have been the most entertaining (the lowest average goals per game than in any World Cup) but never before or since have we seen such a dramatic and era-defining tournament.

ITA: World Cup 1990 - Cameroon v Colombia

Who was arsed how many goals were scored, when you had some of the best kits in footballing history on display? See Brazil, Cameroon, Colombia, Holland and Ireland, to name a few. The fact these kits were worn by mavericks and cult heroes like Carlos Valderrama and freaky dancing Roger Milla only added to their appeal.

But the Kaiser was West Germany. Whilst the alternative green patterned away shirt was a strong eight, the home had everything. Ten out of ten. Or Zehn von zehn as Jurgen Klinsmann would say.

It was as if the man responsible for Kraftwerk’s seminal Autobahn artwork, had a stein with Adi Dassler himself and the result had been drawn on the back of a beer mat and turned into the best kit in history. Of course it was made by adidas. Who else? Since 1954 the brand with three stripes have supplied the national team’s shirts. But this kit is surely the pinnacle from that time.

It was German engineering at its finest. It was German football at its finest. Clean, sharp, efficient and ahead of everyone else. And by about 20 million years.

Federal Republic of Germany versus Argentina

It epitomised the team’s manager, Franz Beckenbauer. Fitting, as he made history that year, becoming first person to win the World Cup as a captain as well as a manager.

Italia ’90 may have signaled the end to football as we knew it, but it was also the first World Cup since the fall of the Berlin Wall. Signaling a new Europe. A New Order. A World in Motion.

Listings of the shirt on eBay usually surpass the £150 mark. In fact the design’s influence is still having an impact on serious menswear today. In collaboration with adidas, London skateboard brand Palace reinvented the silhouette in the form of a sweatshirt last year. A defining 90s sweatshirt at that.

Vorsprung durch Technik, indeed.


Image credits: End Clothing

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