2018 World Cup Uniforms
In most team sports, two uniforms adequately differentiate the teams. But soccer includes a wrinkle: because goalkeepers can use their hands in the penalty box, they must be uniquely identifiable at a glance to remain protected from physical challenges when in possession of the ball. So each team’s goalkeeper wears their own unique uniform.
Taking into account all of the factors – jerseys, shorts, socks, home and away versions, referees, and accessibility concerns about visibility on TV screens around the world – you’ve got a real color management situation on your hands. Everyone involved (or watching) must effortlessly keep track of 5 unique uniforms at any given moment.
Nothing makes this clearer than the every-four-years spectacle of the World Cup, when the multitude of nations’ colors and imagery allow us to witness so many combinations in such a compressed timeframe.
How does this work out in the real-world context of international competition? We found no definitive source. There are photographs of all the jerseys, an entertaining conversation about jersey fashion, and even consequences for unapproved uniform variations, but nothing shows the uniforms performing their ultimate purpose.
So we took on the challenge: 32 teams; 64 matches; 128 uniform combinations. Below you will find all the uniforms worn during the 2018 World Cup. Thanks to Linda and Troy for help with the links and to Martin for discussing the finer points of uniform theory and the occasional rule clarification while watching the World Cup this summer.