What Football Is Supposed To Look Like #11 – Stadion Special I (Gallery)

We do like a good mini-series within a series here at PyroOnThePitch.com and while compiling the latest What Football Is Supposed To Look Like special on heroic stadia of the past, it quickly became apparent that this too would be a multi-parter. Don’t expect the “best” or biggest grounds alone (or some of sort of all-time greats list), as we of course try and focus on all levels, but rather enjoy a specially prepared photo-collection (thanks as always to the original video uploaders, links at the bottom) of the features that made a few of our favourite archaic arenas legendary.

Goodison Park in the 70s, Everton vs Coventry City, Football League Division One, 26/11/1977:

65,000 in Estadio Centenario, Montevideo, watching the home side take a 2-0 lead en route to championship victory, Uruguay vs Brazil, Copa America final-1st leg, 27/10/1983:

Hebrew advertisements in Paris (and a French Adidas equipment shirt sans-Equipment logo), France vs Israel, World Cup qualifier, 13/10/1993:

The Irish Garda Band (police force) entertain the caged and walled crowd in Lansdowne Road ahead of the match, Republic of Ireland vs Northern Ireland, Euro qualifier, 20/09/1978:

Opening ceremony and away fans in Rheinstadion, Düsseldorf, ahead of West Germany vs Italy, European Championships group stage, 10/06/1988:

Dutch banners visible from space on the running track in Munich’s Olympiastadion, Netherlands vs USSR (neautral), European Championships final, 25/06/1988:

The sinister white fences of Westfalenstadion, Dortmund, West Germany vs Netherlands, friendly, 14/05/1986:

Cages around the dugout and German 80s bench fashion, Borussia Dortmund vs Schalke 04, Bundesliga, 01/12/1984:

Cars zip past on local infrastructure behind Eastville Stadium, Bristol Rovers vs Millwall, Football League Division Three, 08/05/1984:

Streamers fill the behind-goal no mans land during a famous European win for the home side (having already knocked Manchester United in the first round), Widzew Łódź vs Juventus, UEFA Cup second round-1st leg, 22/10/1980:

Classic East German scoreboard at the Bruno-Plache-Stadion, 1.FC Lokomotive Leipzig vs Bordeaux, UEFA Cup first round-2nd leg, 28/09/1983:

The weird and wonderful architecture, and police dogs, of Stadion Galgenwaard, FC Utrecht vs Ajax Amsterdam, Eredivisie, 02/03/1980:

The beauty of bare terraces in Ullevi Stadium, Gothenburg, Sweden vs England, Womens’ European Championship final-1st leg, 12/05/1984:

The strangely shaped grandstand of the aforementioned Ullevi, Gothenburg, CIS vs Netherlands (neutral), European Championships group stage, 12/06/1992:

Quintessential eastern block bowl, Nepstadion of Budapest, Hungary vs Romania, World Cup qualifier, 13/05/1981:

The inner-city dog-racing ground of Harold’s Cross, Dublin, Shelbourne vs St. Patrick’s Athletic, League of Ireland, 1987/88:

The terraces, fences, and police of the not very Olympic Olympiastadion of Club Brugge vs Royal Antwerp, Belgian First Division, 26/01/1992:

Tranway End, Dalymount Park, St. Patrick’s Athletic vs Waterford FC (neutral), FAI Cup final, 20/04/1980:

The majesty of the old Mestalla, Valencia CF vs Real Madrid, La Liga, 05/01/1986:

Scenes from a snowy De Kuip (The Tub), Feyenoord Rotterdam vs Ajax Amsterdam, Eredivisie, 07/12/1980:

A football match on a building site as renovations take place at Stadio Luigi Ferraris in preparation for Italia 90, Genoa vs Lecce, Serie B, 01/05/1988:

Antique analog scoreboard still around years after it’s time, Vojvodina Stadium, Novi Sad, Yugoslavia vs Greece, friendly, 20/09/1989:

Great aerial shot of the Mambourg stadium surrounded by city, Royal Charleroi Sporting Club vs Anderlecht, Belgian First Division, 19/04/1994:

One more eastern block bowl, Vasil Levski National Stadium (named after a Bulgarian 19th century patriot and revolutionary, as also referenced by tenant club PFC Levski Sofia), Sofia, Bulgaria vs Switzerland, Euro qualifier, 01/05/1991:

Arms and banners of Granata Ultras, Stadio Comunale Vittorio Pozzo, Torino vs Ascoli, Serie A 04/06/1989:

A sophisticated enclosure at the Constant Vanden Stock Stadium, Anderlecht vs Ballymena United, Cup Winners’ Cup first round-1st leg, 13/09/1989:

Time for athletics, Flamurtari Stadium, Albania vs Romania, Euro qualifier, 28/10/1987:

*

YouTube Links:

Everton vs Coventry City, 1977
Uruguay vs Brazil, 1983
France vs Israel, 1993
Republic of Ireland vs Northern Ireland, 1978 (BBC)
West Germany vs Italy, 1988
Netherlands vs USSR, 1988
West Germany vs Netherlands, 1986
Borussia Dortmund vs Schalke 04, 1984
Bristol Rovers vs Millwall, 1984
1.FC Lokomotive Leipzig vs Bordeaux, 1983
FC Utrecht vs Ajax Amsterdam, 1980
Sweden vs England, 1984
CIS vs Netherlands, 1992
Hungary vs Romania 1981
Shelbourne vs St. Patrick’s Athletic, 1987/88
Club Brugge vs Royal Antwerp, 1992
St. Patrick’s Athletic vs Waterford FC, 1980
Valencia vs Real Madrid, 1986
Feyenoord Rotterdam vs Ajax Amsterdam, 1980
Genoa vs Lecce, 1988
Bulgaria vs Switzerland, 1991
Torino vs Ascoli, 1989
Anderlecht vs Ballymena United, 1989
Albania vs Romania, 1987

*****

 

Pyro On The Pitch #16: Atalanta vs Dinamo Zagreb, UEFA Cup First Round-1st Leg, 19/09/1990

Last time in Pyro On The Pitch (the flagship series here on the coincidentally named PyroOnThePitch.com) we looked at Balkan behemoths Hajduk Split and their historic Torcida group. Of course, Croatia is home to more than one infamously supported team and for fairness it is to Hajduk’s great national rivals of Dinamo Zagreb that we now turn, as well as their Italian hosts on the day Atalanta.

Background

Starting with the home side in our featured match, 1976 was a pivotal year in the supporter culture history of Atalanta due to the foundation of the club’s first ultras group: Brigate Neroazzure (Black-Blue Brigade; BNA). With an organised support-base of that swung to the left, the BNA were later joined on the home Curva Nord by many other groups such as: Armata (Army); Biamo Persi (We Lost); Berghem Blues; Brigata Suicida (Suicide Brigade); Fellows; Nomadi (Nomads); Panthers; Ragazze Curva Nord (North Curve Girls), Sbandati (Stragglers); Stoned; Teste Matte (Dull Heads – stoners); and Wild Kaos, amongst others.


The amazing banner of "Ragazze Curva Nord" (North Curve Girls), Atalanta vs Genoa, Serie B, 14/06/1981.

As the club’s only initial appearance in continental competition was a Cup Winners’ Cup cameo in 1963, the new style of fan had to wait until the 1987/88 season to travel outside Italy when Atalanta’s 87 Coppa Italia win meant entry to the same UEFA competition. A great run – the highlight being a quarter-final victory over Sporting Lisbon, the same opposition who had caused eliminated back in 63 – was only ended by eventual champions KV Mechelen in the semis, giving the hardcore support their most exciting year to date.


A sea of sparklers in the Curva Nord of Atalanta's Stadio Atleti Azzurri d'Italia ahead of the Cup Winners' Cup quarter final-1st leg against Sporting Club, 01/03/88.

Supporters hold up the letters "SIAMO CON VI" (We are with you) during Atalanta's 2-0 UEFA Cup quarter-final victory over Sporting, the greatest European home night in the club's history, 01/03/88.

The following season, a 6th place finish in Serie A secured more European football with qualification for the UEFA Cup, although the club’s debut campaign in the competition was cut short with a 0-2 aggregate loss to Spartak Moscow in the First Round. In 89/90, the Bergamo-based side dropped a place in the league to 7th, but this was still enough to qualify for Europe; even 8th would have been enough as 4th place Juventus and 5th place Sampdoria were both entering the Cup Winners’ Cup as Coppa and CWC holders respectively, lowering the last UEFA Cup spot from 6th to 8th.


A banana display (presumably not racist) and text banner from Atalanta's ultras, with their team on their way to a UEFA Cup qualification league finish. Atalanta vs Roma, Serie A, 21/01/1990.

In comparison, Dinamo Zagreb held a rich continental tradition that dated back to 1958 when the club first represented Yugoslavia in the European Cup. Since then, many Cup Winners’ Cup and Inter-City Fairs/UEFA Cup appearances had come in the 60s, 70s and 80s, with another European Cup spot not achieved until 1982 (the middle of three successive eliminations in the first round of European competitions by the three big Portuguese clubs – Benfica in CWC 80/81; Sporting in EC 82/83; Porto in CWC 83/84).

Somewhat surprisingly (considering the mythical 1950 foundation date of Hajduk Split’s Torcida), the club’s main support group were not yet around for this period. But of course being one of the top Balkan sides, a passionate support base adequately encouraged the team even without an organised fan unit.


Dinamo Zagreb supporters ahead of a Yugoslav First League match against Red Star Belgrade, 1982.

In 1986 things changed forever with the founding of Dinamo’s most infamous support group, the Bad Blue Boys (BBB), who quickly demonstrated a propensity for pryo much like their hated Hajduk enemies. Unlike with Atalanta’s many ultra groups, BBB was an umbrella for different branches of support to come together under the same name, resulting in a lot of a BBB banners representing different areas of Zagreb at games.


Hell is unleashed by the BBB pyromaniacs, Dinamo Zagreb vs Hajduk Split, Yugoslav First League, 17/09/1989.

The club’s next appearance in Europe was the 88/89 UEFA Cup, defeating Beşiktaş before elimination at the hands of Stuttgart. The following year they would compete also, but without even getting to the first round – quite a feat in the days before qualification stages.

The odd situation had occurred due to the continuing ban on English teams following the Heysel disaster (it’s last season in place), meaning extra spots were up for grabs in continental competitions. To decide one of the places, two clubs from the nations of France and Yugoslavia, who were level in UEFA’s own ranking system, were selected for a play-off: 5th placed Ligue 1 side Auxerre, who would have missed out except for 3rd placed Monaco’s Cup Winners Cup entry as Coupe De France holders; and 5th from the Yugoslav First League Dinamo Zagreb, who only received the nomination due to 4th placed Hajduk Split’s European ban following to the events discussed in POTP#15.


Another pyro-fest courtesy of BBB during the Dinamo Zagreb vs Auxerre UEFA Cup preliminary round-1st leg match, 23/08/1989.

Despite the early elimination at the hands of Auxerre, Dinamo did progress that season by finishing second in the league behind Red Star Belgrade and hence returned to honorably securing a UEFA Cup spot rather than only thanks to the Hajduk and English club bans (this time that went to Partizan Belgrade who finished in 4th behind a Hajduk still in continental exile). The draw for the 90/91 tournament pitted Dinamo against, of course, Italy’s Atalanta, who’s first ever meeting with a club from a socialist state the previous year in Spartak was now followed by a second (although neither would be for long).

Thankfully for our needs, Dinamo fans (and perhaps Balkan folk in general) are great videographers, with two to three dedicated camera-fans present to record events before and during our featured match. One of these videos, which are now on YouTube, is over and hour and a half long and includes scenes from the BBB road trip to Bergamo. Well worth a watch on a lazy sunday afternoon withe family.

The Match

Bergamo, 19/09/1990:

After making the 6+ hour journey from Zagreb to Bergamo, some Dinamo fans head for the stadium early to watch a light training section and erect a large flag. Even with the middle obscured, the colourscheme of red/white/blue indicates that it is the flag of Croatia, rather than the blue/white/red of the country Dinamo was officially representing, Yugoslavia (although pluralist elections had already taken place in the Yugoslav Socialist Republic of Croatia, the results of which indicated independence):

One supporter – clearly a BBB leader – chats with one of the youth players before being approached by, and shaking hands with, an older Dinamo staff member:

The same supporter makes a speech to some of his fellow hardcore fans (one of whom looks slightly out of place) in which he says something along the lines of “Let’s go to that lake, if someone fucks with us, we’ll fight them., if the players don’t give a fuck about us, and we came two days early, we’ll go against everyone”:

So from this was can gather that some fans had in fact already been in town for a couple of days. As the supporters take down their flag and leave the stadium for now (presumably heading for a lovely lake) elsewhere in the city more Croatian flags are paraded through various tree-lined boulevards:

As fans make their way towards Atalanta’s ground, there is more than one instance of pyro on the pavements:

Some skirmishes with local police also occur, including running battles in the car park of outside the away sector of the stadium:

Some who are already inside lend their assistance from an excellent vantage point:

Those who do make it inside begin adorning the sector in Dinamo banners and Croatian flags. There are many reference to BBB, but also separate or sub-group called Total Chaos are represented:

With kick-off growing close and the stand filling up, bar those who had been apprehended outside, the atmosphere grows:

It quickly becomes clear that the passionate Dinamo fans display more ultra-actions before the players even come out that most club’s fans do during an entire match:

One supporter can be seen in a Glasgow Celtic shirt, presumably in reference to the Catholic faith shared by many Croatians and, traditionally, Celtic fans:

On the other side, another gives a salute that most likely be met with disgust by the quite left identifying Celtic hardcore:

And in the background, a Union Jack – in theory a representation of many who would find the Nazis and/or Celtic abhorrent, but used as a right-wing symbol in many eastern European countries at the time – completes the trifecta, demonstrating the unique complexities of supporter culture symbolism and ideology:

The TV broadcast opens displaying the beautiful crests of both sides, which incidentally both feature left-to-right diagonal divides, in rectangular form:

Cutting to to the Stadio Atleti Azzurri d’Italia – Blue Athletes Stadium of Italy, a ground ironically built and associated with the Mussolini era – a nice view of some downtown Bergamo architecture sets the backdrop as the player profiles are flashed on screen:

The cameras also catch the away fans at a rather uncharacteristically subdued moment:

At Curva Nord, with the banners of groups such as the aforementioned Wild Kaos at the back of the stand and BNA and Teste Matte at the front, a ginormous blue and black crowd-cover emerges and unravels upwards from the bottom of the section as the players are about to walk out:

One Croatian camera-wizard gets an excellent shot of this through the fence at the other end:

The players walk up a flight of stairs from the deep, mysterious labyrinth beneath the pitch and proceed to a superfluous, white tunnel for sponsorship purposes that extends far onto the grass. On cue, red glares and smoke begin to light up the home end:

The two teams finally emerge into daylight just as many flares come raining down onto the pitch:

Thanks to the tunnel’s length, the players are safely out of range from the firestorm, suggesting that perhaps the purpose of the tunnel wasn’t merely for ad-space after all but also protection from such events as this:

The pyro is quickly cleared from the pitch and the massive crowd-cover retracted, but the Atalanta ultras aren’t done yet. A just as impressive spectacle is next as huge mass of blue smoke engulfs the entire end:

All seems suspiciously quite in the away section as the game begins, but less that ten minutes later the suspicions are confirmed. Another inferno erupts from the Dinamo faithful and many of the flares are quickly sent pitchward:

The referee has no choice but to stop the match as the hot-hail continues:

As the rest of the stadium waits around in annoyance, or probably more like bemusement from the ultras, the travelling supporters relish their pyro party in Bergamo:

A fearless photographer and coach confront the disruptives, casually side stepping the very real threat of the flares raining down around them in a way that demonstrates years of experience with such fans:

As other rush to help remove the hazards, one Dinamo player uses his skills as a professional football to kick a flare away:

Others simply watch on in mild concern:

Soon though, concern levels probably do rise as it becomes apparent that several fires have started; unsurprising considering the sheer scale of pyro still being launched:

Some of the away fans’ banners have been destroyed by the heat of their own flares, but the memories will last a lifetime:

One flare lands a little too closer to some of the home fans in the main grandstand, prompting several frustrated hand gestures:

Most BBB and the rest of the Dinamo fans care little however, including at least on pensioner as seen below enjoying the festive scenes. More supporters can be seen capturing the magic moment including both photo cameras…:

…and large camcorder, perhaps even one of the those who filmed some of the very gifs we are using:

As the referee walks over to inspect the situation with the clock just past ten minutes, a graphic displaying the time and 0-0 scoreline reveals an oversight with the inversion of Dinamo’s crest/flag for presentation purposes – Binamo?

With the flares finally all burned out, the Croats continue following the home fans lead by now unleashing some smoke in yellow and purple:

Inevitably, some of this also ends up on the pitch right in front of an Atalanta group banner for the “Fedelissimi”, Loyalists – an incredibly common title used used by fans of most clubs in Italy:

Both sets of supporters are now fully out of ammo and it proves to be the high point of the match, which ends in a scoreless draw.

Aftermath:

While the return leg in Zagreb deserves it’s own specific look, needless to say there was plenty more pyro from the soon to be free Croatians in attendance. One player who had already been involved in a pivotal event in the lead-up to the war of independence, Boban, scored to make it 1-0, but an equalisier shortly thereafter was enough to give Atalanta the tie on away goals.:

The game would turn out to be the last that Dinamo Zagreb would play under that name as a Yugoslav club. In the following season’s competition, they competed as HAŠK Građanski, reflecting the clubs original identity of “HŠK Građanski” (First Croatian Citizens’ Sports Club) in 1911, before becoming the unpopularly titled Croatia Zagreb by the time of the 93/94 Champions League, but doing so as the first side from an – by then – independent Croatia to compete at Europe’s highest level.

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YouTube Links:

Atalanta vs Genoa, 1981
Atalanta vs Sporting, 1988
Dinamo Zagreb vs Red Star Belgrade, 1982
Dinamo Zagreb vs Hajduk Split, 1989
Dinamo Zagreb vs Auxerre, 1989
Atalanta vs Roma, 1990
Atalanta vs Dinamo Zagreb, 1990
Atalanta vs Dinamo Zagreb, 1990
BBB in Bergamo A, 1990
BBB in Bergamo B, 1990

*****

Champagne Kit Campaigns #6: Brazil, World Cup 1978

Welcome to the long-awaited sixth installment of Champagne Kit Campaigns, the series in which we have already featured some classic Norwegian, Russian, Dutch and Irish attires. For the first time we now turn our attention to a non-European nation in one of the world’s most recognisable and aesthetically pleasing teams, as seen during a suitably colourful era in which “modern” styles were slowly beginning to emerge.

Background:

From 1954 until 1976, Brazil’s famous yellow shirts, blue shorts and white socks were made by native sports-apparel manufacturers Athleta. No branding from the company appeared in any way on the exterior of the kits, as was the case for most nations at the time (but, since the late 60s, not all). Besides the trademark green collar-cuffs, green and yellow sock turnovers and crest, a lone, white stripe running down the side of the shorts was the only other design element in sight when the side played their last game of 1976 against the USSR.

When next in action – a friendly at home to Bulgaria on January 23rd, 1977 – there would be two small differences: the colour on the socks had been reversed from green-over-yellow to yellow-over-green; and on the shorts – which had remained a particularly light shade of blue throughout the 70s – the stripes had multiplied by three. There was apparently no other outward indication to say so (apart from the goalkeeper, see below), but it was clearly the beginning of the Adidas-era for the seleção (“selection”).


Brazil with (blurry) three stripes of Adidas on their shorts, vs Bulgaria, January 1977.

The same kit was worn for a scoreless World Cup qualifier in Colombia the following month, with the hosts graciously forgoing their – at this point – orange home shirt and wearing all-white instead. The Brazilians returned the favour when the two teams met again on front of more than 132,000 in the Maracanã Stadium in March, donning their blue and white away strip for the first time in the Adidas years, and were rewarded with a 6-0 win.

The darker shade of blue – for both the shirts and shorts trim – than currently seen on the home shorts made a future combination seem unlikely, yet it had already happened at the previous World Cup. The layout of the jersey remained identical to the home, continuing a lack of branding, but this time a trefoil appeared on the shorts of at least some of the players.


Brazil in away kit with trefoi-less (left) and trefoil (right) shorts, at home to Colombia, March 1977.

In the same group, which was in fact a preliminary stage before the final round, the only other country were Paraguay where Brazil traveled next a few days later. From this game comes the first confirmation of a trefoil on the home shorts (it may have already been worn by some players against Bulgaria or Colombia, but we have no visual evidence right now), as well as it seeming that both colour variations of the socks were in use within the team. After a 0-1 win and another draw at home to progress as group winners, a number of glamorous home friendlies (a rarity these days in the country with the money laying abroad) were scheduled for over the winter months.

The regular first-choice strip was used for the opener against England on June 8th (in which the English utilised a rarely-seen red/white/blue combination), before the visit of white-socked West Germany four days later gave an excuse to mix things up. Despite the fact that a sock-clash had recently been acceptable in a competitive setting against Colombia, plain blue (matching the shorts) alternates were chosen for this game, while again some players wore shorts with trefoils but some without.


A trefoil visible on Brazil's blue shorts, with blue sock combination, in the friendly against West Germany, June 1977.

The arrival of Poland with white jerseys on June 19th meant that the blue shirt was given another outing at home, and trefoil-less white shorts were preferred by (or forced upon) the majority. This was also the case when the home strip returned for games against Scotland on the 23rd and Yugoslavia on the 26th (where the goalkeeper, usually in blue or green, sported an interesting white jersey without the signature “Brasil”) but the logo was at least again present for the final friendly in the run against France on June 30th.


Brazil shorts clearly without a trefoil during the game vs Scotland, June, 1977.

The French game presents us with a bigger bombshell however: a faint trefoil and Adidas word mark were actually present on the chests of the jerseys, and possibly had even been there since an earlier match. We know this thanks to the great work done by Soccernostalgia and specifically their Soccernostalgia: Retro Soccer Magazines Facebook page (which exists besides their regular Facebook page) and a post showing close-up shots of the match that clearly reveal the presence of the trefoil (as does this match-worn shirt from the time)

In July, World Cup qualification concluded with a round-robin of three teams who were to play each other once on the neutral soil of Cali, Colombia. The top two would advance to the finals, but the third still got a second chance through a play-off with a European group winner. A 1-0 win over Peru (with “trefoiless” shorts again) on the 10th of the month put one Brazilian foot in the World Cup, and four days later an 8-0 bullying of Bolivia emphatically announced Brazil as qualifiers, and contenders, for the 1978 World Cup in neighbouring Argentina.

1978, pre-World Cup

The 8-0 was the last international for nearly nine months as Brazil would not play again until a tour of “return friendlies” in April, 1978, against the highest profile opponents from the year before – France, West Germany and England. The visit of exotic, South American “royalty” was exciting enough on it’s own for Europeans, but, unbeknownst to the public, this Brazilian side was also bringing a visual treat in the form of some of their greatest kits to date (in our subjective opinion of course).

Ahead of the game on April 1st in Parc des Princes against the French (where the visitors would end up as “fools” after a 1-0 loss), captain and veteran of two World Cups already Rivellino displayed the first part of the gear-evolution with an amazing raglan sleeved tracksuit top, complete with stripes and trefoil.


Style-icon Rivellino ahead of the game against France, April, 1978.

When the warm-up jackets came off, the real feast for the eyes was revealed in the form of Brazil’s new jerseys. Employing Adidas’s “World Cup Dress” template beautifully, the collar and cuffs were perfectly primed to incorporate the ever-present darkish green, and a trefoil returned in a more obvious way while stripes finally now did appear on the sleeves. As was standard on this particular design, the Adidas logo sat particularly high on the chest of the shiny material.


The new Brazil home kit with complete Adidas branding, as seen against France, April 1978.

Besides the shirt, a trefoil was now also standard on the shorts, and the seemingly random green/yellow or yellow/green sock turnovers were replaced with perhaps the piece de resistance of the kit: green, yellow and green hooped-stripes over the white background.

The strip was not quite “complete”, however, at least for some. On the backs of the starting XI’s jerseys, solid green numbers appeared, akin to those on the previous jersey and mirrored by smaller, white numbers on the shorts. But for the substitutes, who were really the ones wearing the kit in it’s truest form, Adidas’s trademark striped number font appeared for the first time.


Above, the sold numbers on starting Brazilian players's backs, and below, striped numbers on substitutes, during France vs Brazil, 1978.

In Hamburg four days later, another of the great Brazil shirts was on show as a slightly new away kit was used. Unlike in Paris, the shirt sleeves were devoid of stripes, but a white trefoil sitting parallel to the crest still gave the shirt an early-contemporary look much like that of their West German opponents’ Erima shirts.

There was more classic 1970s inconsistencies, however, as some players’ jerseys had no trefoil. Considering the sock situation last time, it also would have been nice to see Brazil use their alternate home socks from the year before to avoid the clash, but perhaps this royal blue/white/sky blue combination would have been considered a step too far.


Brazil wearing their away kit in West Germany in April, 1978.

After a two-week break for Brazil (having beaten the Germans 0-1), 92,000 packed into Wembley for the grand finale against the English (a 1-1 draw). While back in the home kit, strangely it would not be the same shirt as used against France, although just as good. The trefoil was now lower, like on the away jersey, and the material seemed of the the less-shiny variety. Finally, on the back, the striped-numbers were now standard, although the solid style remained via the shorts.


The amazing Brazil jersey, front on back, as seen against England in Wembley, April, 1977.

The use of two distinct home shirts on the tour suggests a similar situation to that of the Dutch during the same year (as we saw in CKC#2) who rotated between kits supplied by Adidas Ventex and Adidas Erima. Indeed, examining the label of a Brazilian shirt from the time (via ebay) with the “upper trefoil” positioning (a different collar means that it is a “Santos/Nacional” template rather than “World Cup Dress”) shows the Ventex trademark, while the label of a jersey apparently used against England shows Erima.

Besides the fact that an updated, fresh look for the upcoming World Cup was warranted, the new jerseys’ appearances coinciding with visits to the home of Ventex (France, worn by the French national team), and subsequently to the home of Erima (likewise West Germany, making the similar layouts of the two jerseys used in the German match even more “suspicious”), makes us wonder if they were picked up en-route, or perhaps “part of the deal”.

To conclude their World Cup warm-ups, Brazil welcomed Peru and Czechoslovakia to Rio for friendlies in May, 1977. The weather must still have been balmy heading into southern hemisphere winter as a short-sleeved version of “World Cup Dress” was seen for the first time, with the trefoil now back in it’s “expected” raised position evidentially meaning a Ventex model. After 2-0 and 3-0 wins kept the home fans upbeat heading into the tournament, the question on everybody’s minds must surely have been “which shirt version will be used at the finals?”.


Brazil in the kit used for final World Cup warm-ups against Peru and Czechoslovakia (pictured), May 1978.

*

World Cup 1978, Argentina

At the draw in Buenos Aires on January 14th, 1978, top seeds Brazil ended up in group three of four along with all-European opposition: Sweden, Spain and Austria. As in 1974, when Brazil had finished 4th losing out to Poland in the third-place play-off, the group stage was to be followed by a second round of two more groups, with the top placed sides then ultimately progressing to the final.

With two of the teams in the group wearing yellow shirts as first preference, and three using blue shorts, clashes and combinations of some variety were inevitable. As always, stricter regulations on clashes in World Cups – in part due to those watching on black and white TVs – meant that some classic or unique kit mash-ups were already guaranteed.

Furthermore, following the dawn of World Cup finals kit branding in West Germany four years earlier, 1978 was naturally to be the most commercialised tournament to date. Most teams involved were now wearing some sort of visible trademark from the likes of Adidas, Puma, Erima, Umbro, and even Mexico’s Levis/Adidas hybrid.

Off the pitch it was also set to be one of the most politically charged, as sport was being used as a propaganda tool for not the first or last time. The deaths and disappearances of thousands at the hands of the ruling military Junta – for whom hosting was a proud honour and perfect PR exercise aimed at those home and abroad – resulted in Johan Cryuff famously boycotting the tournament, and, more clandestinely, rebellious groundsmen painting the base of each goalpost black to commemorate the victims of the regime.


First Round, Group 3:

Brazil
Sweden
Spain
Austria


Match 1: Brazil vs Sweden
Estadio José Maria Minella, Mar del Plata, 03/06/1978

Kicking off against Sweden on the third-day of the tournament in Mara Del Plata, it was finally time to see what Brazil were wearing. Seemingly the “non-shiny” Erima jerseys got the nod, complete with striped numbers, but notably absent from both shirt and shorts was the trefoil:

The fellow-yellows of Sweden, who like many others were also in the World Cup Dress template, had been drawn as the “away” side in the fixture and were hence wearing their own stunning blue and white change strip:

Showing that the Brazilian’s lack of manufacturer logo had nothing to do with the rules, the Swedes’ version of the same design quite clearly displayed a white trefoil (plus a wordmark, which evidently shouldn’t have been allowed judging by the Netherland’s cover-up job) that contrasted the otherwise yellow trim beautifully (the icing on the cake being the yellow numbers on the back):

Having gone 0-1 down on 37 mins, Reinaldo equalised for the seleção just before half-time to give us a good look at all those great yellow shirts and light blue shorts through the celebrations. Given it was winter in Argentina, which was apparent by the hats and jackets in the crowd, long sleeves were used by all squads throughout the tournament, much to the delight of stripe aficionados like ourselves:

The score would remain 1-1 until the last play of the game when one of the most bizarre incidents in World Cup history occured. With a corner to Brazil as the clock ticked past 90, the ball was swung in and headed into the goal by Zico:

But to his and his teammate’s dismay, the ref – Clive Thomas from Wales – had simultaneously blown for full-time:

As Thomas sternly walked away, while indicating that time had indeed ran out, the “neutral” Argentinians in the crowd enjoyed the disappointment and anger of their South American rivals:

Result: Brazil 1-1 Sweden


Match 2, Spain vs Brazil
Estadio José Maria Minella, Mar del Plata, 07/06/1978

Brazil returned to Estadio José Maria Minella – named after a former esteemed midfielder for the local club, but built by the Junta only two years earlier – four days later for the second of three consecutive visits to the stadium in the first group stage. However they were suddenly now the “away” team, which against the “blue-shorted” Spanish created the next noteworthy situation:

Due to the blue vs blue clash, Brazil emerged in their away shorts (also without trefoil if you’re counting) to recreate a great look also seen at the last World Cup – yellow/white/white:

The trim on the shorts was of course blue to match the away jersey, so the strip that had been created consisted of three different stripe-configurations across the shirt (green over yellow), shorts (blue over white) and socks (green, yellow, green over white). Of course this was also the case for the home kit, considering the usual white stripes over light blue, but there it was “intended”.

Other interesting highlights from the match included huge the Spanish flags surrounding much of the pitch, presumably the work of Argentine-based ex-pats:

…and the state of the pitch, which had not sufficiently recovered from the first game was clearly hampering play in certain areas:

Spain were incidentally one team without any branding at all on their kits, as one of the last hold-outs along with Italy. Spanish gear had been made by Deportes Cóndor since 1933 (thanks to POTP supporter Lucas for this info), but it would turn out to be the final year of partnership with the local firm and hence final World Cup wearing traditional plain shirts and shorts, while the Italians impressively saw out the rest of the century before giving in.

The pitch surely won’t have helped matters for either side and a 0-0 draw was played out. Following the robbery of victory through a certain Welshman already, a slightly worrying situation for Brazil had suddenly developed going into the last group game:

Result: Spain 0-0 Brazil


Match 3, Brazil vs Austria
Estadio José Maria Minella, Mar del Plata, 11/06/1978

Next up for the so far underwhelming Brazil was a surprisingly strong Austrian side, who had already won both their other matches. Back in the home kit, through the Brazilian team photo we see an interesting detail in that some players (see Oscár, no.3) were in jerseys with narrower outer-stripes on their sleeves. As demonstrated by this Nantes 1976 team photo, and later Sochaux in 1981, the variation wasn’t uncommon in France, perhaps meaning Ventex after all (although we don’t know if it was also used by Erima).

On the 40th minute, the 24 year old with boy-band-esq looks and a name to match, Roberto Dinamite, put his side in front for the first time in the tournament:

Austria were the only side repping Puma at the World Cup, and did so in a very smart template with black shorts and socks:

It was, of course, the Austrian’s third game in a row facing teams in blue shorts. Against Spain, they had combined their white shirts with the white shorts and red socks of their red-shirted away strip, but when facing Sweden, who used the same shade of shorts as Spain and with the added white/yellow TV clash, both sides were strangely allowed wear their full home kits. While we’re on the subject, Spain achieved one of their all-time great unintentional combinations at same time as the Austria-Brazil game through their meeting with Sweden, where their white away shorts were inserted into the otherwise home kit.

In the end, the single first half goal was enough to win it for Brazil, giving them second place and qualification ahead of Spain. Finishing behind Austria was a shock, but would it necessarily mean a more difficult “path” to the final? (since another group was more like a carpark than a path).

Result: Brazil 1-0 Austria


Elsewhere
, it transpired that Brazil weren’t the only big team to under-perform in the first round. In Group 2, West Germany’s 0-0 draws with Poland and Tunisia meant they finished runners-up, saved by a 6-0 demolition of Mexico in between. The Netherlands in Group 4 also drew 0-0 with Peru before a 3-2 loss to the Scottish, but progressed on goal difference after an opening 3-0 defeat of Iran.

In Group 1, the hosts had secured their qualification early with back to back 2-1 wins over Hungary and France, but a 0-1 loss at the hands of the Italians on the last day meant they too would be condemned to 2nd. Overall, these results mean that Austria, Peru and Poland were progressing as unlikely group winners, with Argentina, Brazil, West Germany and Netherlands making up a formidable list of runners-up.

Poland and Peru were the real losers in this, as the would have hoped to have been facing Austria rather Brazil in their group, along with either Argentina or Italy. As it was, they were up against all-South American opposition, while the plucky Austrians were rewarded for their round 1 performances with the delightful prospect of Italy, Netherlands and West Germany.

Second Round, Group B

Argentina
Poland
Brazil
Peru


Match 4, Brazil vs Peru
Estadio Ciudad de Mendoza, Mendoza, 14/06/1978

Having ended up in the South American-heavy Group B in Round 2, Brazil finally “escaped” Mar del Plata and headed west to Mendoza. The familiar faces of Peru were the first opposition in this new pool, with the two teams jousting for the third time in less than a year.

In the home kit once more (with the thin stripes again noticeable), that kid Dinamite was on hand to win a penalty that would help his side go 3-0 up:

But wait, what’s that on the shorts? For the second time in this CKC, it’s another bombshell:

While slightly blurry above, a trefoil was clearly visible. As with the year before, perhaps some had already been wearing shorts with the Adidas’s trademark off-camera, but certainly the intended World Cup kit had been meant to be sans-trefoil. However, like how we saw with the Netherlands it was not unheard of for squads as this World Cup to bring slightly different versions of their kit.

Against a hapless (later suspiciously hapless while playing the hosts) Peru, 3-0 it ended. At least the opponents’ famous sash shirts get a look in here:

Result: Brazil 3-0 Peru

 

Match 5, Argentina vs Brazil
Estadio Gigante de Arroyito, Rosario, 18/06/1978

Another fixture that was no stranger to the international calendar awaited in Rosario four days later, and on paper it was the toughest the date for Brazil. Argentina had beaten Poland 2-0 on the same day that Brazil defeated Peru, and, assuming both Brazil and Argentina would repeat these results when they switched opponents, this meant the game between the two was a near semi-final.

When usually facing each other, including at the most recent Copa America in 1976, both would wear their regular home strips. But interestingly, the last time they had played at a World Cup  in 1974 (also first World Cup meeting), Brazil wore their blue/white/white kit, with Argentina in grey socks avoiding a clash on that level.

The jersey change was slightly odd back then considering that it meant both teams ended up wearing alot of blue, and one would have assumed that Argentina’s vertical stripes gave enough distinction as it was. A lesson may have been learned, as this time Brazil repeated the look from the Spain game, while Argentina substituted their white socks for black creating an equally fetching look:

Again, it at least appears that no trefoils were found on anyone’s shorts, but, given what we have seen, there may have been one lurking somewhere among the squad. One of what there was definitely not, though, was goals, as the supposed play-off ended in a 0-0 stalemate. The results of both final games were now crucial.

Result: Argentina 0-0 Brazil


Match 6, Poland vs Brazil ,
Estadio Ciudad de Mendoza, Mendoza, 21/06/1978

Back in Mendoza one last time on the southern hemisphere’s shortest day of the year, a repeat from 1974 again lay in store for Brazil in the final group game. Back in West Germany it had been the 3rd place play-off, and now Brazil or Poland could well end up there again next. But a win could potentially take either to the World Cup final too, especially in the unlikely event that Peru beat Argentina later in the evening.

Again the “away” side, the allocation luckily gave the need for the away kit to be finally used in possibly it’s last chance. It was confirmed that, like the home, the blue shirt was devoid of a trefoil, but stripes and stripy numbers were now seen on a senior Brazilian away jersey for the first time ever:

This was another case of a different set of kit-colours being used from the previous World Cup, when Brazil wore the yellow/white/white strip against Poland’s all red. The Polish, in a home outfit nearly as amazing as Sweden away, were another side in World Cup Dress, wearing what appears to be the Ventex version:

Like Argentina before, Poland added their red away socks to the white shirt and red shorts of their home kit to accommodate Brazil’s ever present white pairs. In retrospect, the fact that the whites were the Brazilian’s only option seems like a significant oversight, as the onus was always automatically on the opponents to change. But this sort of thing is of course typical when considering the lack of regulations from era, and we wouldn’t change it for anything.

We mentioned our love for sleeve stripes earlier, and one great thing about this age of World Cups is the lack of official badges that would later haunt the sleeves of modern tournaments. For Argentina 78 in the winter, this meant satisfyingly long, uninterrupted stripes on the Adidas team’s jerseys, with the very notable exception of left Polish arms:

Instead of some sort of juicy political gesture (which probably would not have been allowed even by 1970s standards), the badge, containing a letter C with a heart in the middle, was strangely to represent a children’s hospital in Warsaw that had opened the year before.

At the this late stage, we finally take a look at the goalkeeper kit worn by Brazil’s – or “Brasil” as his jersey said – number 1, Émerson Leão. Since goalkeeper attire was always a bit different in the 70s and 80s (sometimes featuring far more branding and occasionally of a different make altogether) and therefore in a category of their own, we haven’t drawn too much attention to the fact that his “shades of green” strip featured trefoils throughout the tournament :

In the game, three Brazilian goals – including two from Roberto D. – and some South American class were enough to were enough to take the two points (three points for a win wouldn’t be introduced until USA 94), with one consolation goal in return from the Poles:

Two points clear and with a six goal advantage over Argentina, Brazil were in top spot. For now. But their fans celebrated like they were already in the World Cup final:

Result: Poland 1-3 Brazil


Of course
a couple of hours later, Brazil and the rest of the world would watch on as one of the most infamous matches in World Cup history unfolded. Peru completed their hapless destiny (losing all three games in the phase and without scoring a goal) and were suspiciously beaten by the six needed for the Junta’s team to advance.

Without losing a game, incredibly Brazil were out of the tournament. Except for one last thing.


Third Place Play-Off

Match 7, Brazil vs Italy
Estadio Monumental, Buenos Aires, 24/06/1978

At last Brazil had made it to the stage of the World Cup final, except a day before the actual final itself between Argentina and the Netherlands. Instead, River Plate’s Estadio Monumental was also the host of the 3rd/4th place play-off on June 24th.

For the game against Group A runners-up Italy, the full Brazilian home kit was worn one more time with the trefoil shorts again used by at least Roberto:

Before leaving the World Cup, we also get once last look at those great sock turnover hoops:

Italy, for their part, were notable at this tournament for tiny, numbered pockets on the front of their shorts, and uniquely styled numbers on the backs of their jerseys. Often incorrectly attributed to brand-less Adidas at this World Cup, Italian firm Baila Landoni produced the kits:

With the Italians having taken the lead (as evident by above) on 38 minutes, Rivellino – in what would turn out to be his last cap for Brazil – attempted to settled his team mates:

In the second half, Nelinho pulled one back on 64 minutes:

…before Dirceu scored his third of the tournament seven minutes later to win it for Brazil, with the wild celebrations displaying how much this “meaningless” play-off actually still meant:

Result: Brazil 2-1 Italy

BRAZIL – THIRD PLACE

Breakdown
Team: Brazil 
Year(s): 1978
Competition: World Cup 78
Kit Supplier: Adidas
Competitive Games: 7
Kit Colour Combinations: 3
Kit Technical Combinations: 5


Aftermath:

After initial disappointment in the first round Brazil had ended up third in the world, which was at least an improvement on the last tournament, and without having lost in seven games. Furthermore, they could quite legitimately claim that they were “cheated” out of a win in the first game, and a possibly even a place in the final.

Brazil would continue wearing Adidas into 1979, including during that year’s Copa America (held across several countries). In the January summer heat, a short sleeved, “trefoiled” version like that seen before the World Cup was back, but the Adidas logo was level to the crest rather than raised on some player’s shirts.

By 1980, the three stripes and trefoils were gone, replaced by logos of the kit manufacturer for the next decade – Topper. The brief, highly underrated Adidas era – our undisputed favourite for Brazil – was over. Or at least at senior level it was, as their Adidas-produced Olympic 84 and 88 (with, shockingly, green shorts) kits provides us with what an alternative timeline might have looked like where they had stayed on for a few years longer.

*****

YouTube Links:

Brazil vs Bulgaria, 1977
Brazil vs Colombia, 1977
Brazil vs West Germany, 1977
Brazil vs Scotland, 1977
France vs Brazil, 1978
West Germany vs Brazil, 1978
England vs Brazil, 1978
Brazil vs Czechoslovakia, 1978
Brazil vs Sweden, 1978
Spain vs Brazil, 1978
Brazil vs Austria, 1978
Brazil vs Peru, 1978
Argentina vs Brazil, 1978
Poland vs Brazil, 1978
Poland vs Brazil, 1978
Poland vs Brazil, 1978
Brazil vs Italy, 1978
Brazil vs Italy, 1978

*****