Cold War Classic #13: Bulgaria vs Netherlands, World Cup 1974

Our regular guest slot over on is back (yes, we just copy and paste this part every time…and now this part), with installment thirteen of the Cold War Classic. In each edition, we usually discuss a vintage east vs west international match-up (the exception so far being Austria vs Sweden, 1973) from the Cold War era, specifically relating to the amazing and fascinating kits of the time and their evolution. Detailed backgrounds are included, and all retro kits relevant to the story are expertly illustrated in glorious colour by MOJ top boy Denis Hurley.

For the latest installment we look at the meeting of Bulgaria and Netherlands in the first group stage of World Cup 74 and how their apparently distinguishable shirts were seemingly deemed a clash, even though white vs orange was later allowed in the final as pointed out in the comments on Twitter. See below for a brief extract and a link to the full post.


Cold War Classic no.13 – Netherlands vs Bulgaria, 1974

…Going into the competition both had yet to win a match at a World Cup finals. The Dutch national team were only beginning their great era and were appearing for the first time since 1938 (knocked out after one game as in 1934), while the Bulgarians held a slightly more credible recent record having made it to every edition since 1962, but with seven defeats and two draws to their name over the three tournaments.

The second was something that they shared with nine of the other 14 teams in West Germany, in collectively being the first to appear at a World Cup in adidas-branded kits. As per competition branding rules, either a trefoil or stripes only were allowed on adidas teams’ shirts (though Zaire flouted this for their game with Brazil). With Argentina and Uruguay the only two opting for a trefoil on the chest, the main identifier was the three stripes adorning sleeves, shorts and socks of the rest, most of whom had a trefoil on the shorts also.



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