World Cup 2018: Why Brazil, Spain and the Netherlands can help England shirk their unwanted stereotype in Russia

By On June 10, 2018

World Cup 2018: Why Brazil, Spain and the Netherlands can help England shirk their unwanted stereotype in Russia

There’s nothing like the colour of a World Cup for firing a country’s imagination, for making everyone hope they can do something historic… but also thereby nothing like it for colouring the entire impression of a team and creating a perception that permanently lasts. As the biggest event a national side can be involved in, this is where results resound for a long time. This is where images of a side become as set as the colours of their shirt.

This is where Brazil Football became beautiful winners, where Germany became resolute winners and where the Netherlands became so entertainingly frustrating.

The Dutch haven’t made it this time for some fairly deep reasons, with their role almost directly taken by neighbours Belgium, but those reasons also reflect something very relevant now that we’re going to hear so many of the old perceptions of sides again over the next few weeks.

World Cup 2018 official kits

51 show all World Cup 2018 official kits

1/51 World Cup 2018 kits

The kits for the 2018 World Cup have started to be released ... but which one is your favourite? Getty

2/51 Russia home

They say: A clean design in red and white, inspired by the 1988 USSR jersey.
Our verdict: Literally cannot muster up the enthusiasm to write anymore words about this snorefest. Adidas

3/51 Russia away

They say: A smart strip in white and blue with subtle geometric pattern.
Our verdict: Now that’s more like it! Big mistake not making this the home kit in our ever so humble opinion. Adidas

4/51 Saudi Arabia home and away

Both home and away kits yet to be released. Will be supplied by Nike. Will probably feature a bit of green. AFP/Getty Images

5/51 Egypt home

They say: A ‘sleek and modern’ kit with sublimated check pattern on the front and white Adidas strips down the sides.
Our verdict: Decent. Would make a nice Manchester United kit. Adidas

6/51 Uruguay home

They say: A clean design in ‘silver lake blue’, with an ‘en gineered jacquard graphic’ in the middle of the jersey.
Our verdict: What’s Spanish for ‘horrific v neck’? Puma

7/51 Portugal home

They say: The red base from Portugal’s Euro 2016 triumph is retained, with Nike introducing ‘gold-metallic trim’ and a green collar.
Our verdict: Yup, it’s a template. But that doesn’t stop it from looking smart. Nike

8/51 Portugal away

They say: An all-white design inspired by the country’s naval history.
Our verdict: Cleaner than Kim Woodburn’s kitchen. Lovely stuff. Nike

9/51 Spain home

They say: Made by Adidas and inspired by the classic 1994 home strip.
Our verdict: GET IT ON MY TORSO NOW. Getty Images

10/51 Spain away

They say: Another 1980s inspired kit. ‘Halo blue’ with bright orange trim.
Our verdict: It’s … okay. Not a patch on that smashing home effort, mind. Adidas

11/51 Morocco home and away

Both kits, to be produced by Adidas, are yet to be released. Valery Sharifuli n/TASS

12/51 Iran home and away

Same again â€" to be produced by Adidas but yet to be released. Hurry up lads! Getty Images

13/51 France home

They say: A traditional look with blue jersey, white shorts and red socks.
Our verdict: Another template. Another sexy kit. Damn you, Nike! Nike

14/51 France away

They say: White shirt, blue sleeves and white socks â€" with a distinct graphic print.
Our verdict: Why couldn’t Nike have given this to England?! As smooth as Zinedine Zidane’s shiny bald head. Nike

15/51 Australia home and away

Move along, nothing to see here. Nike’s Aussie kits are yet to be released. Getty

16/51 Peru home

They say: The last ever Umbro kit for the country â€" Marathon Sports take over next year.
Our verdict: You don’t get more traditional than this. A proper football kit for proper football men. You can shove your xG up your a***, etc. Umbro

17/51 Denmark home and away

Yet to be released. But they’re to be manufactured by Hummel. So they’re bound to be good. Action Plus via Getty Images

18/51 Argentina home

They say: A classic effort that draws inspiration from the 1993 Copa America strip, coincidentally the last time Argentina won a major title.
Our verdict: A stylish strip befitting of little Leo Messi. Top drawer. Adidas

19/51 Argentina away

They say: Black jerseys with neat white and blue trim, white shorts, black socks.
Our verdict: Woof. Coming to a five-a-side court near you very soon. Adidas

20/51 Iceland home

They say: An Errea produced kit which incorporates the traditional home colours of blue, red and white.
Our verdict: Nice, if a little bit bargain basement. Errea

21/51 Iceland away

They say: The reverse of the home shirt.
Our verdict: Yes, we can confirm that this is the exact reverse of the home shirt. Errea

22/51 Croatia home

They say: Nike offer a new interpretation of the team’s iconic checker design, with much larger checks t han usual.
Our verdict: Will look great on Luka Modric if he can keep himself out of prison long enough to wear it.

23/51 Croatia away

They say: The same template as the home shirt, but with a black and dark blue colour scheme.
Our verdict: Very, very nice. A slightly gothic interpretation of the home shirt we all know and love. The football kit equivalent of Late Night Hollyoaks.

24/51 Nigeria home

They say: An eclectic combination of bright green, white and black in an especially bold design.
Our verdict: Outstanding. Sensational. Sublime. The nicest kit at this year’s World Cup and destined to be worn at Boiler Room sessions from now until 2046. Nike

25/51 Nigeria away

They say: A clean design in dark green with subtle zigzag print.
Our verdict: Oh dear, clearly Nike used all their budget on the home shirt. About as exciting as a Songs of Praise marathon. Nike

26/51

They say: A traditional effort with subtle zigzag pattern.
Our verdict: Why change a winning formula? Bright, bold and very much Brazil. Nike

27/51 Brazil away

They say: Based on the same design as the home shir t. Royal blue with a unique star pattern covering the front.
Our verdict: Yeah, fine, okay. Nike

28/51 Switzerland home and away

Not released yet, soz. Getty

29/51 Costa Rica home and away

The bad news: the kits haven’t been released yet. The good news: they’re being made by New Balance, so will be peng. Getty Images

30/51 Serbia away

They say: White with red trim, with the nation’s flag running down the cent re.
Our verdict: Very difficult to criticise. But we'll have a go: the collar is a bit naff. Other than that, no complaints. Now be on your way, Serbia away. Puma

31/51 Germany home

They say: White, black and inspired by the iconic 1990 strip.
Our verdict: You’ve already seen this, and you already love it. If only it featured the colours of the German flag, though… Adidas

32/51 Germany away

They say: The first green German jersey since Euro 2012, inspired by the 1994 away effort.
Our verdict: It's Adidas. It's green. It's great. Let me wear you, Germany away. Adidas

33/51 Mexico home

They say: Manufactured by Adidas, featuring the country’s traditional green colour with white applications.
Our verdict: Yum. Adidas

34/51 Mexico away

They say: Draws inspiration from Mexico’s kits of the 1950s. White with a green, white and red chest stripe.
Our verdict: Looks a bit like something Roger Federer would wear to win the Australian Open. And we’re very much okay with that. Adidas

35/51 Sweden home

They say: The traditional yellow and blue, with a subtle jacquard pattern on the front.
Our verdict: Nothing to write home about, to be honest. Unless you’re writing the solitary word ‘BORING’, that is. Adidas

36/51 Sweden away

They say: Adidas claim the away kit features ‘a sleek design in blue and yellow’.
Our verdict: That subtle pattern is very nice. One of the better ‘plain Jane’ kits to be worn in Russia. Adidas

37/51 South Korea home

They say: A classic red design with dark blue shorts and red socks.
Our verdict: Boring. Plain. Routine. Run-of-the-mil l. Humdrum, Dreary. Banal. Unoriginal. Spiritless. Insipid. Etc. Nike

38/51 South Korea away

They say: Predominantly white, with a bold blue and red graphic print subtly inspired by a tiger pattern and the Taegeuk symbol.
Our verdict: Much better, although it does look a bit like a crayon wielding toddler has been let loose on the new England shirt. Which nevertheless remains a huge improvement. Nike

39/51 Belgium home

They say: A bold design that takes inspiration from the iconic 1984 top.
Our verdict: Cracking. Atones for those atrocious Burrda efforts they’ve been palmed off with at the last few tournaments. Adidas

40/51 Belgium away

They say: Yellow and black with a slight all-over graphic print.
Our verdict: Yet another sublime Adidas away kit. *Wolfwhistles* Adidas

41/51 Panama home and away

Yet to be released. AFP/Getty Images

42/51 Tunisia home

They say: White with red crew-neck collar and cuffs, and a dotted gradient graphic.
Our verdict: If this football shirt was a British sporting perso nality, it would be Steve Davis. Uhlsport

43/51 Tunisia away

They say: The Tunisia 2018 World Cup away shirt is red with white details.
Our verdict: If this football shirt was a British sporting personality, it would be Steve Davis. Uhlsport

44/51 England home

They say: Manufactured by Nike, with a white base with blue for logos and a modern knit pattern on the front.
Our verdict: About as inspiring as Iain Duncan Smith. This country really is going to the dogs. Nike

45/51 England away

They say: Red all over with a subtle St George’s Cross motif across the front.
Our verdict: It’s red. It has a bit of a pattern thing going on across the front. We’ve already forgotten about it. Next. Nike

46/51 Poland home and away

To be made by Nike, but yet to be released. Getty

47/51 Senegal home and away

To be made by Puma, but yet to be released. IT'S TOO LATE FOR OUR POLL NOW, SENEGAL. Getty

48/51 Colombia home

They say: Produced by Adidas with a traditional colour scheme, inspired by the iconic home shirts worn in the 1970s and 80s.
Our verdict: Yessssssss. If it’s good enough for James Rodriguez it’s good enough for us. Adidas

49/51 Colombia away

They say: Predominantly royal blue, with bright orange trim and a jazzy pattern down one side of the shirt.
Our verdict: Very solid. Colombia right up there with Germany for the best pair of shirts in the business. Adidas

50/51 Japan home

They say: According to Ad idas: ‘the shirt’s bespoke look and graphic takes inspiration from traditional samurai armour’.
Our verdict: Really lovely kit. Deserves better than the inevitable group stage exit. Adidas

51/51 Japan away

They say: An understated all-white kit with subtle grey trim.
Our verdict: Adidas deliver a top-draw kit yet again. A lovely way to round off the gallery. Thanks for reading! Adidas

England are more aware of this than anyone, given that they are a country with a more defined tournament “cycle” â€" unfair criticism, undue hype, underwhelming elimination â€" than anyone, but the players and management should be well aware of something else.

Brazil, Germany and the Netherlands are countries that actually used the World Cup to completely transform their perception of themselves. The same applies to Spain, Chile, Uruguay and Hungary with some of those long-term and supposedly fixed perceptions swinging more than once.

It is an issue that became quite animated at the peak of the club game in the past season, particularly around Juventus’ elimination of Tottenham Hotspur and Real Madrid’s victory in the Champions League, with Giorgio Chiellini effectively arguing that it’s very difficult for a team to escape their history. That becomes all the more pro nounced at international level because there are fewer big games, making them so much more intense and psychologically involving, and because so much then gets wrapped up in wider notions about national identity and psyches.

Those very notions are also for grander academic studies but there is a fair argument that the knowledge of a team’s history â€" rather than any nonsense inherent traits â€" does play on squads’ minds, with that further fired by what it will mean for the population watching.

If you play for a country that usually does the job, it will embolden you with assurance at key moments, as so many German players have admitted.

If you play for a country that usually falls short, it will impinge on you with hesitation and doubt, as many England players admitted during the remarkable defeat by Iceland at Euro 2016.

This is something that Gareth Southgate’s management staff have actually tried to address, and proof of how you can comes with one of the greatest international sides ever.

Iker Casillas presided over Spain's glorious period of domination (Getty)

Captain Iker Casillas admitted a few months after Spain’s 2010 World Cup that, in the glorious minutes between the final whistle and lifting that unique trophy, he couldn’t help thinking of the times that weren’t so glorious.

“I was crying from happiness and crying from completing a dream from when I was young after hearing about so many failures, so many calamities, so many theories about how Spain were never going to win a World Cup, how Spain were never going to be a serious international team.”

That they did. It’s easy to forget now after the finest span of success international football has ever seen between 2008-12 but Spain were once viewed as the perennial failures â€" the perennial “dark horses” who were actually a light touch â€" with their recent glory seeing that status pass to England.

That recent glory, of course, didn’t really come from recent changes. It came from one of the most extensive coaching overhauls in football. Spain’s entire philosophy of the game was altered and similar grander processes were behind West Germany’s real rise in the early 1970s, the Netherlands’ quantum leap in the same period â€" with both coming after the advent of professionalism â€" as well as Germany’s rebirth in 2006 and Chile’s surge from 2010 on. The Dutch are meanwhile said to have recently declined because of a neglect of such areas, and a complacency.

While the Football Association have already started such necessary steps â€" to the point so many senior football figures on the continent say it is a matter of time until England start really winning â€" that isn’t quite a help to Southgate’s side or any of the other teams in the tournament feeling the weight of history but not the benefit of such foresight.

Gareth Southgate's side are already showing signs of progression (Getty)

That need not matter, as one of the most famous sides proved. Good short-term planning and astute management, admittedly combined with the necessary talent, can overcome an awful lot.

Take Brazil 1958. The very name conjures images of an all-conquering side, but that was only the case after 15 June 1958 â€" a landmark day in Brazilian history, and football history. Before then, Brazil had been the Netherlands, or England, or old Spain of their day, but multiplied by so much having also suffered one of the game’s most traumatic defeats at the Maracanazo. That was the match that saw their first World Cup snatched away from them on their home ground, in a 2-1 defeat by Uruguay, that led to an infamous and intense period of national mourning.

It also led to Brazil becoming known as infamous losers, to the point they even changed the colour of their kit due to the stain of the day.

It was a stain that hadn’t quite gone away by the third group game of the 1958 World Cup, as they had to beat a fearsome USSR to ensure progress to the quarter-finals. Brazil’s neurosis was such that they had employed a psychologist to assess the mental readiness of the players...only he had advised leaving out a very young Pele and hugely frustrating and self-indulgent Garrincha, among nine players supposedly unsuited to such a high-pressure match.

Manager Vicente Feola went with his instinct, however, and his innate tactical wisdom. He went with a new 4-2-4, and Pele and Garrincha within it. There was more to it than that, though. Conscious of the physical power of the USSR, Feola felt they should seek to intimidate them in a different way early on. “Remember, the first pass goes to Garrincha.”

A psychologist encouraged Vicente Feola to drop Pele in the 1958 World Cup (Getty)

He had destroyed the Soviet defence and smashed a post within one minute, Pele hit the bar within two and Vava hit the net within three. Brazil won 2-0, and went on to win the World Cup. The entire mindset of the side had changed in between, and the entire perception of the team thereafter.

Founder of the European Cup Gabriel Hanot described those three minutes as the greatest ever played in the game. They also represent a great lesson.

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Source: Google News Netherlands | Netizen 24 Netherlands

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