Search icon

Football

20th Jun 2024

The definitive ranking of the top 10 best retro kits from Euro 2024 nations

Harry Warner

A technicoloured trip down memory lane

Some might say modern football shirts have lost their charm and originality and they would probably be right.

Despite many of us nostalgia merchants claiming that the game might be gone because Puma decided to release that absolute war crime of an away kit across Europe in 2021, here are 10 of the greatest ever kits to appear at the Euros to reminisce in the beauty of 80s and 90s fashion.

10. Scotland (Euro 1996)

Now renowned for his punditry and love of Hell Bells by AC/DC, believe it or not Ally McCoist did used to play football and he wasn’t half bad at it either.

Playing part in helping qualify for their second European Championships, also helped by the expansion of the tournament to 16 teams instead of eight, this shirt became iconic for its faded tartan look.

Euro 96 saw Scotland’s most successful edition of the competition where they finished on four points after beating Switzerland and drawing with the Netherlands making this shirt as symbolic in Scotland as battered mars bars and hating England.

9. Soviet Union (1988)

It wouldn’t be a top 10 Euros list without the addition of everyone’s favourite now defunct communist football team and their state sponsored shirt in collaboration with Adidas.

This classic football shirt is most iconic for its novelty of belonging to one of most notorious nations of the 20th century which no longer exists.

The red army were not to be messed with either, not for the obvious being rendered out of society reasons, but for their serious footballing talent.

Beating England 3-1 and topping their group, they went on to beat Italy in the semi-finals, only losing out to the Dutch in the final.

8. Belgium (Euro 1984)

This classic kit might just be the only thing that Belgium have to show for their constant short-fallings in major tournaments.

There won’t be any FIFA World Ranking corruption going on here either, as this Belgian classic comes home in eighth place.

A lovely combination of diamonds placed on a traversal white band was a smart choice by Adidas that made this shirt the only memorable aspect of Belgium’s Euro 84′ campaign that saw The Red Devils crash out in the group stages.

This is definitely the sort of retro shirt that your edgy football hipster mate would wear to the pub with a pair of beige cargos and a craft beer in hand.

7. Portugal (Euro 2012)

The most recent retro shirt on this list, it’s easy to forget that 2012 is now 12 years ago…and now we’re panicking to find out where all that time went.

This is true for everyone unless your name is Cristiano Ronaldo who is clearly exempt from the effects of aging as he takes part in his sixth European Championships this summer.

This shirt has done extremely well to worm its way into this top 10 list especially as the only away shirt to make the cut.

Despite a fairly disappointing tournament, scraping their way through to the semi-finals, this shirt shows what can be achieved when a kit maker invests time into reflecting a nation through its design, instead of copy and pasting the same minimalist nonsense onto everyone’s kits.

6. Romania (Euro 1996)

The return of the football hipster.

This bold design is another genius export from Euro 96 donned by the mercurial Gheorghe Hagi, the symbol of Romanian football.

Blue and red are always a complimentary combo, but its the dominant yellow that gives this shirt its unique character.

Although finishing bottom of their group in the tournament, the Romanians can hold their heads high knowing they have been ranked 6th in this decisive list of classic football shirts.

5. Denmark (1992)

Goalkeeper kits and the 90s, a combination that can only be described as an accident in the paint aisle of B&Q.

Who knows what dubious substances kit designers were taking at the time, but they surely provided for some incredible results.

If these kits were collected to form an abstract art gallery, Peter Schmeichel’s Euro 1992 goalkeeper strip would certainly be the masterpiece in the collection.

Legendary for its bold pastel colours, this top was immortalised by the Great Dane who helped Denmark win the entire Euros tournament to everyone’s shock after not even qualifying for the tournament in the first place.

4. Ireland (Euro 1988)

The definitive international kit of Irish football indicative of their most successful generation of players.

Qualifying for Euro 1988 was an achievement in itself back when only eight places were up for grabs in the tournament, and although The Boys in Green were unlucky to exit in the group stages, they made sure to take England with them, finishing above The Three Lions in the group after beating them 1-0.

The glossy shamrock green along with the kiss of orange on the badge combined for an all time classic which also comes with an even better looking sponsored variant, teaming up with Opel for a true rarity in international kits.

3. West Germany (Euro 1988)

Like with their penalty taking, the Germans are inevitable when it comes to top 10s and this list in no different.

It’s hard to say when kit makers got so dull, but once again this entry speaks to a vintage era of German football and classic football shirts, becoming the third shirt to appear in this list.

The eye-catching black, red and yellow of the German flag strewn across a white cotton canvas made for what can only be described as art in motion and indicative of the decade with its sharp edges and bold colours.

Worn by football royalty such as Lothar Matthäus and Rudi Völler this shirt is legendary because it was worn for one of the few times everyone could enjoy watching the Germans lose a final.

2. England (Euro 1996)

One very simple word, Gazza.

This shirt gained mythical status in both its home and away forms after one of the most heart-wrenching, roller coaster European Championships that England fans have ever experienced.

This top was the catalyst that turned doubters into believers as one of the most likeable England teams took on the rest of Europe on home soil.

It gave us iconic moments like Gazza’s iconic dentist chair celebration after scoring one of the greatest goals in Euros history against rivals Scotland.

The grey variant is equally as recognisable, however will not make this list because if you do a Pizza Hut advert after missing one of the most crucial penalties in England’s history while wearing said shirt, it is better forgotten than immortalised in this definitive top 10 list.

1 – Netherlands (Euro 1988)

There are not puns or cheap gags to be made about this absolute beauty of football shirt that might just be the pinnacle of kit design, no scratch that, human history.

Everything about this kit is perfect. The colours, the players donning them as well as the Henri Delauney trophy lofted in the air to match.

Iconic would be an understatement to describe this all-time great of a shirt.

Ruud Gullit, Ronald Koeman, Marco Van Basten are just three of the legendary squad that gave the Netherlands their greatest day in Dutch footballing history.

Good luck finding an authentic 80’s fabrication of this shirt for less than three figures although there are plenty of cheap replicas out there for any fan wanting to channel their inner Oranje Army spirit.

So there you have it folks, but do you agree?