It’s 11th July 2020 – ten years since Spain lifted the World Cup for the first time, so I’m looking back at one of the shirts that helped them do it!
As I’ve lived in Spain since 2013, you might expect me to have a couple of Spanish shirts in my wardrobe – in fact I only have one, and it dates from before my big move!
When I was growing up, I had become accustomed to Northern Ireland not being anywhere near the major international tournaments, so part of the fun of a World Cup or Euros was getting a shirt from one of the competing nations (at least until the price of football shirts went through the roof) and in 2010, I plumped for Spain. Partially because I enjoyed how after years of underachievement, they had reinvented themselves as one of the most attractive football teams in the world and won Euro 2008 and partially because I just liked the shirt. I even spent a little extra for the name and number printing and World Cup sleeve badge.
The Shirt: Spain Home
The Year: 2009/2010 (including the 2010 World Cup)
The Manufacturer: Adidas
I grew up with Spain kits being dark. The 1990’s and early 2000’s saw Spain mostly playing in dark red accompanied by dark navy (almost black on occasion) shorts and socks. The 2006 World Cup kit was a major deviation from this – with its smart red shirt with yellow pinstripes and royal blue shorts and socks, although navy returned for the Euro 2008 triumph.
The 2010 kit owed much more to the 2006 vintage, returning to a lighter shade of red and with the Adidas logo and stripes appearing in a rich yellow, having been gold for the Euro 2008 triumph. Speaking of the famous stripes, they left a large gap on the sleeves on this and all their kits around this time, presumably dictated by tournament organisers who wanted a greater degree of visibility for their logos. The only other colour on the shirt is blue, which appears on the cuffs and as part of the trim on the collar, matching the shorts worn.
The socks represented something of a break from tradition, with red being preferred, Spain having traditionally worn black socks or latterly ones the same colour as the shorts.
This of course was the home kit worn by Spain ten years ago as they won their first World Cup in South Africa, although it was only actually worn in four of their seven games on the way to lifting the trophy.
The first of those was the shock 1-0 defeat against Switzerland in the opening game which cast doubt on Spain’s status as tournament favourites before two goals from David Villa got them back on track against Honduras. The navy away kit was worn in the final group game against Chile, where a 2-1 win for Spain sent both sides through and Spain went on to beat neighbours Portugal wearing the red kit, Paraguay in navy and then Germany in red to set up a final against the Netherlands.
The Dutch would wear their orange home kit, albeit with the alternate orange shorts, meaning Spain would again don the navy kit. In a match more memorable for the violence of the tackles than the quality of the football, Spain eventually emerged triumphant, with Andres Iniesta scoring the winner in extra time.
In his book Spain: The Inside Story of La Roja’s Historic Treble, Graham Hunter says that the Spanish FA had originally prepared navy shirts with the World Cup winners’ star on them, but the players made a last-minute request to have red ones available, so that should they win, they would be able to collect the trophy in the traditional colour of Spanish football.
Normally an international team will wear their kit in a tournament and then through the next qualifying cycle, but Spain were in the midst of a period where between 2008 and 2014 they would have seven different home shirts, some lasting barely 12 months. Alas the 2010 World Cup shirt was replaced before the end of that year with a new shirt, featuring significantly increased amounts of blue and the intrusive FIFA World Cup winners’ badge, being debuted in a 4-0 friendly loss to Portugal, although strangely the shorts and socks from the previous kit were retained.
Ten years on from my purchase, I’m living in Madrid and still getting regular wear out of the shirt while running in the city. I’ve even worn it to a couple of Spain internationals down the years as I tried to blend in with the locals. And the name and number have survived countless washes, far better than some shirts I’ve purchased more recently!