Why does Italy play with a blue jersey, if there is no trace of blue on its flag or crest? Why is Holland known as “a clockwork orange” if that color doesn’t exist in its flag either?
In football, the jersey is an emblem. It can also be a hindrance to the shame of defeat.
When England were knocked out of the 1970 World Cup in Mexico by a historic Brazilian side, two giants of that game, England captain Bobby Moore and Pele, met in midfield and found no match. better way to remember this memorable encounter. than swapping their t-shirts.
The color of clothing in a match is a matter of national pride. It’s not a random choice because the jersey respects itself almost like the flag.
At BBC Mundo we tell you about the sometimes unknown origin of the colors of three great teams in the world.
The image of Marco Tardelli with his emotionally restrained cry, clenched fists and blue jersey crossing the Santiago Bernabéu in the 1982 World Cup final in Spain, has gone around the world.
But why blue? Why not green like “the green of the valleys of Lombardy” or red “like the volcanoes”, as the poet Francesco Dall’Ongaro wrote in reference to the Italian flag?
The formation of the Italian nation as we know it today was a bit bumpy.
For centuries, Italy, more than a country, was an idea of a nation that began to gain clarity with the efforts of Garibaldi and later King Victor Manuel III in the mid-20th century.
It was under the government of the famous monarch that the Italian football team began its participation in international competitions.
On May 15, 1910, he played his first international match against the German national team.
“Although the Italian team became famous with the color blue, the truth is that their first international match was played in white with the royal shield,” said Italian Football Federation press officer Diego Antenonzio. , at BBC World. .
It was not until 1922 that blue began to be used, which was the color of the banner of the Royal House of Savoy, to which King Victor Emmanuel III belonged.
With this color, he will achieve his first glory: the title of 1934.
Although “Il Duce” wanted to dress them in black as part of their propaganda, the team kept the blue that would make them famous around the world.
If any nation has gone through countless changes and vicissitudes in the 20th century, it is Germany. In 1900 it was an empire ruled by ‘Iron Chancellor’ Otto Van Bismarck and 99 years later it was a power still recovering from 30 years of division by a wall.
When football invaded Germany and its federation was founded in 1900, the times were ruled by one name: Prussia and reichsadler o Imperial Eagle as official emblem.
The colors of Germany were always the same, with some variations: black and white, the colors of the Prussian flag. And that is how it has come to this day.
But why did Germany wear green on some occasions?
In round football mythology, the origin of this jersey is said to date back to the years following World War II.
With the weight of the shame of the Nazi holocaust, neither team wanted to play with the German representative.
It wasn’t until 1950 that one country took pity: Ireland. In gratitude, the story goes, Germany adopts the green shirt.
“The reality of this story is that one of the official colors of the German Federation is green and that’s why their second kit in a few years has been green,” explained Jans Gratner, German Federation press officer.
And according to the Football Statistics Foundation (RSSSF), the first team to play for a German national team after the war was Switzerland on November 22, 1950.
Despite being one of the founding countries of FIFA and having played its first international match in 1905, the Netherlands were not a protagonist of world football in its early days.
However, in 1974, they appear and dazzle.
The whole world of football spoke of “A Clockwork Orange” (about Stanley Kubrick’s film released in 1971) not only for its finesse, but also for the strength of its “total football”, commanded on the field by Johan Cruyff and on the bench by “The General” Rinus Michels.
But checking their flag colors (red, white, and blue) you don’t see a single line of that color. Only the white of the flag is worn in some matches as the second uniform, but always the orange in the front line.
“We are the Royal Netherlands Football Federation, so our official colors are those of the country’s ruling house, which are Orange,” a spokeswoman for the federation told BBC Mundo.