By Phil Hecken, with Robert Marshall & Jim Vilk
Well folks, the World Cup 2014 comes to an end today, with Germany taking on Argentina in the Final. And what a great Cup it’s been, no? Really, from the beginning to the end, we’ve seen some tremendous matches.
As someone who isn’t really a soccer fan (although I always watched the World Cup and the Olympic soccer matches), I have to say the “beautiful game” has grown on me — so much so that I might watch more of it. I know there is a lot of it on the TV, what with MLS (and a couple other lesser leagues), plus the EPL is on NBCSN now — so maybe instead of disdainfully passing those games by, I’ll become more of a fan. Not sure why soccer never caught on with me, since I played it from like third grade through eighth grade, and a couple of times as fill-in for my college dorm or fraternity teams, and I was definitely into it when the Cosmos played in the old NASL (and had Pele, Georgio Chinaglia and Franz Beckenbauer, plus some American talent in goalie Shep Messing and others). I guess after the NASL disbanded I kinda lost interest. But the World Cup has definitely rekindled that interest. And I’m really looking forward to today’s final of Germany and Argentina.
Since football, futbol, soccer, footy, the beautiful game, etc. is probably going to take a hiatus on Uni Watch, at least for the foreseeable future (although probably not until the 2016 Olympics — since we have the Women’s World Cup in 2015 — and who among us doesn’t remember 1999? [or even 1991?]), there is not a better way to close than to bring back Mr. 5 & 1 for his World Cup Swansong, and one Robert P. Marshall — who in his own inimitable way is as into the tournament as anyone — for a look back at the World Cup 2014, from a uni perspective.
So with that, I’ll turn the first part of this post over to Comrade Marshall…
It is kind of a lark around here that I am known as “Comrade” thanks to the fun I have with stirrup imagery and the language of the Stirrup Revolution. But truth be told I did spend much of my childhood living behind the Iron Curtain in East Berlin (May Day 1976 on Alexanderplatz). I was a right proper German kinder in every way. I even spoke pigeon English at best (little has changed).
I went to Bundesliga matches and the Stasi drove me to schule every day across Checkpoint Charlie where I played fußball on the schulhof. Sure, we moved back to the states and I learned to be an American kid by playing Wiffleball and tackle football, but fußball and I have always had a little don’t ask don’t tell love affair. Suffice it to say that every four years I get quite excited to watch the greatest event in sport, die Weltmiesterschaft in Spanish on Univision. I will never understand those who can’t get into it. No matter your upbringing, it makes the NCAA basketball tournament look like an elementary school tiddlywinks derby.
Rather than give my 5 & 1 like the glorious Mothervilker we all know and love, I thought I would give a general aesthetic analysis.Tweet! I hear you Howard Webb (the Ed Hochuli of fußball), I will get on with it, and I will try not to over link…
Let me start with the roofus-goofus and bring it around to the positive. Since most games are seen at distance, it renders much of the uniform details somewhat meaningless beyond the super slow motion replays. Therefore, the biggest problem I had with the Cup was that too many top sides listened to FIFA’s request of monochrome for HD. First of all, monochrome for HD? Isn’t the point that it is a better picture?
Now, that is not to say La Celeste, La Oranje, Die Mannschaft, Federação Portuguesa, the Three Lions and the Yanks didn’t look just fine in monochrome…I personally liked most of those. Unfortunately, by choosing strips that are solid, it caused teams who wouldn’t normally wear monochrome strips to do so, ruining what would have been glorious aesthetic games in the past. While the list of foul-play monochromatics was endless, here is an example: had the Germans worn their proper black shorts, Les Bleus could have worn white, but that wasn’t the case in 2014. La Azzuri was destroyed in every game by their group. The list of monochrome fouls was seemingly endless. Tweet! Are you kidding me, Nestor Pitana?! Second warning? I could have linked 20 games.
Staying with poor colour choices, the absolute worst game of the tournament for me happened early on where La Roja met La Oranje. Neither country played in their colours. It was crushing for everyone watching I am sure, and I feel your pain. Sure, the Dutch looked good in a vacuum, but for such long-standing stalwarts it was a monochrome calamity gone awry like Godzilla on Tokyo. Yes indeed, it was ruins.
Speaking of Spain, who doesn’t think they were the worst-dressed team of the tournament? Considering they can look this good, the change is a nightmare of Leatherface proportions. Disagree? See a doctor for the brain damage. Happily, Spain got the karmic aesthetic boot they deserved…exit stage right La Roja/Blanco/Negro-Neon.
Tweet! Too negative? Don’t send me off yet, Carlos Velasco. I am about to say something nice…
The absolute A++ #1 team was Mexico without a doubt. They played in all their strips in fine fashion, and even managed to combine the two well to stay close to form when they could. Even Guillermo Ochoa was impeccable. Not only their kits, but everything in El Tri’s periphery was aesthetically perfect – even in less than ideal conditions. Viva all things aesthetic, Mexico. Selfie Herrera!
Speaking of Señor Ochoa, let’s look at the keepers of the onion bag. Your keeper of the Cupa Mundial had to be this plum, Stipe Pletikosa. I mean not only do his national colours, red and blue, make purple, but the man stood out on the pitch. It was a look beyond glorious. Granted, the chiseled granite statue that is Manuel Nuerer has contrasting colours for added visual interest in DFB colours, but even the man who covers all earth not unter vaßer would concede to his Croatian counterpart. Now, I could pile on Spain and Iker Casillas’ horrendous choices, but Julio Caesar, nice grey, nice bland, nice boring. If there is a next time for you, and there won’t be, have some ovos and pick a colour.
Tweet! I don’t need a stretcher, Carlos Velasco, I am about to bring this home…
The best group of the tournament? Group A, hands down. Mexico (covered), with Croatia, Brazil and Cameroon.
The best monochrome game? Yes, there was one: Les Éléphants/Blue Samurai were perfectly complementary.
The best game? Cameroon/Croatia had the lock early on, and held it to the last minute, when suddenly Germany/Brasil looked to score on a set piece…but no, it was cleared setting up a counter from Argentina/Netherlands and…GOOOOOOOOOOOL!!!! The match-up came late betwixt two of the Cupa Mundial’s offensive aesthetic blundering boobs, but they came full circle for perfection.
Best single strip? Those Les Bleus kits are always elegant, but it would be hard to argue with any of group A’s home strips here.
Best voodoo? Anyone else feel a Mertesacker header for a win?
Best imitation of a Raider fan? Now this is a tough one. Ghana? Netherlands? Japan? Close, but wide right. It has to be this Colombian. Are you a totem? Is it a cannibal tiger on your head? Why would Colombia eat itself? What’s with the gloves in the jungle unless they are Caipirinhia koozies? And the tiger tooth necklace, on a tiger? Why are you wearing your own teeth? Wouldn’t that make you a toothless tiger? That can’t be good for your statement. So confrazing, so silly, it’s a Raider fan who got lost on the way to an Iron Maiden concert.
Tweet! You have got to be kidding me, Yuichi Nishimura, I couldn’t be speeding this along more now.
One last thought: for all the digs on the USA-football’s bomb pop uni’s, did anybody see bomb pop when they played? I just saw a good looking team beat Ghana on their way to the knockout stage.
Tweet!!!! Red?! What are you watching?! I know, Super Mario, this was a qualifier image of you, but if you put your hand on the other side of your elbow, you would have my response to those handing out red cards on this recap.
Enjoy the game today, everybody! I hope to be singing Oh Wie Ist Das Schöen all afternoon, but if you are rooting for Argentina, best wishes on what I hope to be a fair and well-played match.
Thanks, Comrade! I think I speak for everyone when I say that was … different (and I mean that in the most awesomest kind of way!).
And now, for the final (?) 5 & 1 ever (at least for the foreseeable future), here’s Jimmer Vilk with the …
World Cup Five & One
This doesn’t really need any set-up other than to say this is the second (and final) of Jim’s World Cup 5 & 1’s — the first took care of all the teams in the Group Stage of play, and this set covers the knockout rounds and beyond. As he’ll tell you below, unless I’m wrong, and somehow the soccer gods pull an uni upset (and we have Germany in black-white-white versus Argentina in blue/white-black-black), then this will be his final list. Argentina hasn’t yet worn anything but their blue/white tops (and they’ve worn those with both white pants/socks and black pants/socks) — but we may see their “dark” kit today. Here then…is Jim:
Phil thinks you’ll be cured of World Cup Fever by tomorrow, so that’s why I’m here with another game to go. I thought about faking an injury and telling him I couldn’t do it until next weekend, but I don’t flop. Anyway, if my source (Phil) is correct, this will be today’s matchup.
Nice…probably not enough to make the list, though. So call that my one and only Honorable Mention and let’s continue.
5. France/Nigeria – OK, *maybe* today’s game could bump this one, but let’s have a little variety, eh?
4. Costa Rica/Greece – Los Ticos breathed some fresh air into this tourney, both sartorially and on the pitch.
3. Colombia/Uruguay – Uruguay can be proud of those uniforms and…well…that’s about it.
2. Brazil/Germany – The matchup was almost as stunning as the result.
1. Netherlands/Argentina – About time you went back to your iconic looks!
And the &1 goes to: Germany/Algeria – Wasn’t that bad, but I didn’t have a lot of choices.
Enjoy the game, then get ready…the indoor season is coming in a few months!
So there you have it — thanks Jim for the 5 & 1 (and your stellar editing job) and Robert for your inimitable take on the sartorial aspects of the 2014 World Cup.
I’ll be sad to see it go, but if has had even 1/10th of the affect on you guys that it has had on me, then the beautiful game has done very well indeed. Readers? What say you???
We have another new set of tweaks, er…concepts today. After discussion with a number of readers, it’s probably more apropos to call most of the reader submissions “concepts” rather than tweaks. So that’s that.
So if you’ve concept for any sport, or just a tweak or wholesale revision, send them my way.
Please do try to keep your descriptions to ~50 words (give or take) per image — if you have three uniform concepts in one image, then obviously, you can go a little over, but no novels, OK? OK!. You guys have usually been good with keeping the descriptions pretty short, and I thank you for that.
Like the colorizations, I’m going to run these as inline pics — click on each one to enlarge.
And so, lets begin:
First up today is Thomas Juettner, with an ’83 ChiSox concept today:
I’ve come up with a way for the White Sox to modernize their 1983 throwbacks. Using shoulder/cuff stripes like the Dodgers powder blue throwbacks creates a cleaner look while still retaining the colorfulness of the 80’s uniforms. All stripes (jersey, pants, socks) have the same ratio (1-3-1) as the old beach blanket logo. The sleeve patch incorporates the flying sock and the primary wordmark of the franchise along with three Chicago stars representing three World Series titles.
Hope everyone enjoys!
And we close today with Ori Amiel who has so logos for Seattle teams:
I’m a big Seattle sports fan. So I decided to create a couple custom logos. I decided to alternate colors withing the logo and words to spice it up a little bit. Hope you like it!
And that’s it for today. Back with more next time.
Uni Watch News Ticker:
Baseball News: During Friday evening’s Brewers vs. Cardinals game, Matt Adams, the Redbirds first baseman changed his socks/pants during the game (nice spot by Tom Donnelly). … “Bleacher Report tweeted out a picture of a Twins fan who has now made 2 different back hair ‘jerseys’,” says Brian Jud. “What I think is funny is that the Twins don’t use nameplates, but this guy included the illusion of nameplates anyway.” … Reader Allen Why says “Did 70’s minor league teams wear the unis of the big clubs? This is the Portland Mavericks vs Walla Walla maybe? Screenshot from the excellent Netflix documentary The Battered Bastards of Baseball.” … Here’s a fantastic bunch of photos from Will Scheibler, from the archives of Canada — Baseball team of No.1 Canadian Corps Ordnance Depot which was playing the team of the 101st Squadron, United States Army Air Forces,Godalming, England, 14 June 1945. Very large front numbers on the baseball uniforms; Another showing the ‘Eager Beavers’ playing a game against the Regina Rifle Regiment (1945); Found another pic of the ‘Eager Beavers’ – from the description they appear to have been an entertainment troupe; and members of the CMHQ team representing Canada in Canada/U.S. baseball game at Wembley Stadium 1944. Leaf and Canada prominent on the chest of shirt. Score board sign in back with innings only going up to 5. … From Dan-O C-Chord comes this shot of a Scherzer Franken-uniform, half brown half blue, “maybe for his eye color?” (If you’re not aware, well, here). … Check out the @LexingtonLegend Breast Cancer Awareness jerseys that were worn last evening (via MiLB Promos). … The Mets’ Jeremy Hefner received this coin to signify a healthy elbow (thanks to “our punk koala”. … Here’s video of the 2002 Brewers All Star sleeve patches. Says Chris (no last name given), “You can see the sleeve patches they wore in the game during introductions in this video beginning at about the 8:22 minute mark. I actually have Hernandez’s jersey from the game (or at least the backup, it has some wear).”
NFL and/or College Football News: A target store in Louisville, KY, has a misprinted jersey (thanks to Lucas Stoller). That’s either a really ugly Bulldog logo, or the Cardinals have changed their name. … The Akron Zips have a new white helmet. You can read a bit more here. … Not quite “Colorize This” but close: Ben Kelly, former local (San Angelo) Boys and Girls Club director, was inducted into the Texas Black Hall of Fame in February. He was one of the first African-American players to compete for a previously all white football team (San Angelo College) in Texas, 1953-54. This black & white photo was in the local paper. Ben was also inducted into the Angelo State Athletics Hall of Honor this year. The alumina magazines showed a colorized version of the same picture. Says submitter Dennis Jones, “Thought you would like the socks.”
Basketball News: Holy crap. Check out this set of jerseys from the Reebok Breakout Classic. A submitter who goes by murph1019 asks, “Stylish or outlandish?” to which I reply, “yes”. If you’re wondering, as I was, what the Breakout is, go here.
Soccer News: World Cup (and other tournament) biter Luis Suarez has been given the #9 jersey with his new club, Barcelona, after his €88 million summer transfer from Liverpool was confirmed on Friday (thanks, Paul). … Here’s a look at the new Major Indoor Soccer League (MISL) logo (thanks, of course, to Jim Vilk). … With the World Cup final today, Coleman Mullins came across this towel in his linen closet.
Grab Bag: Golfer So Yeon Ryu seems to have logos over logos in this shot sent in by Chris Perrenot. … Tweeter Ryan Campbell “Found a bunch of these jerseys at a surf shop in South Padre Island, TX. Any idea what it is?” … “I have no intention of wearing these,” says Leo Strawn, Jr.. “Look what I picked up at a local (in Ohio?!) non-profit thrift store. That means these are over 2 decades old!”
And that will do it for this fine Sunday — big thanks to Jim and Robert, and the concepters. Everyone enjoy the World Cup Final today!
Follow me on Twitter @PhilHecken.
“True Mancunians know that the only proper way to refer to Manchester United is ‘that club from Salford.’ Or more pointedly, ‘The Rags’.”
— Cort McMurray