Posted: 10/20/2007


     Why do  the Netherlands play in orange, Italy in blue, Germany sometimes in green, Scotland in navy blue,when their national flags are different colours???

    Well, orange was the colour in the coat of arms of William of Orange, father figure in Dutch history. Actually the red stripe on the Dutch flag also used to be orange. Italy, whose flag is red,white and green, play in a blue derived from the Kingdom of Italy, and Savoy. In their first 2 international matches they played in white shirts, with the players wearing the coloured shorts of their own clubs. In the 3rd international the team swiched to those famous AZZURI coloured shirts which gave the nickname of the team that has won 4 World Cups.

    Germany traditionally play in white shirts and black shorts, but the official colours of the DFB-Deutscher Fussball-Bund is green, and they have often played in that colour as a substitute strip. The rumour is that West Germany played their first ever international match after World War II, against Ireland, and to thank them West Germany adopted green. However, its just a myth, since their first international after the war was against Switzerland, who play in red.

   More recently they have used red as an alternate because Jurgen Klinnsman thought that teams that wore red did better than those in green. Germany have always used Adidas uniforms and after a short debate decided to continue this arrangement until 2018, even though a 'foreign' company, Nike had offered a 600 million Euro deal, 6 times what Adidas was able to offer. Unlike other countries, which allow players to wear shoes from the company giving them the best personal deal, German national teams players have to wear Adidas.

    Scotland played England in the first ever international match in the world, in 1872 in Glasgow. They adopted the then Queens Park FC colours of navy blue since that club represented Scotland en masse. Rangers FC wear a light blue. Recently I saw Scotland wearing white shirts at home with a light blue Scottish saltaire(the cross of St Andrew) and last week in Tiblisi, Georgia during their 0-2 loss they wore maroon with gold shoulder stripes. They looked, and played like the Washington Redskins. They should stick to their traditional navy, at least when there is no colour clash with the opposition.  For many years they played in primrose and pink on many occasions between 1881-1951, the last time they wore those colours vs France.

    They were the horse racing colours of Archibald Primrose, the 5th Earl of Roseberry, whose horse won the Derby at Epsom one year with the jockey in those unusual colours, and was an early supporter of Scottish football.

    Brazil in their early years changed colours many time but white shirts with blue trim were the most common, and they wore this combination in the final match of the World Cup in 1950 in Rio de Janeiro at the new Maracana and lost to Uruguay. Although it wasn't a TRUE final it was the deciding match and Uruguay became World Champions for the first time since 1930 in Montevideo.

    The Brazilian Sports Confederation CBD( now CBF-Futebol)decided that patriotism would be part of a new strip and they allowed the newspaper Correio da Manha to launch a competition where the rules were that all four Brazilian colours in the flag, yellow, blue, white, green, should be incorporated. 

      19 year old Aldyr Garcia Schlee from the southern town of Pelotas won the competition and this is now the main strip with yellow shirts with green trim, blue shorts and white soxs. It was first worn vs Chile in 1954. At the 1958 World Cup final in Rasunda Stadium in Stockholm the Swedish team were the 'home' team. Brazil didn't have an alternate set so they hastilly bought a set of blue shirts locally and had the maids at their hotel cut the team badge from their yellow jerseys and sew them on the newly purchased shirt.  Brazil won 4-2, 17 year old Pele was King and winning the World Cup became a tradition - and a joy for the world of admirers.