Made by: Kappa
Worn by: Francesco Totti, Alessandro Del Piero, Fabio Cannavaro, Antonio Conte, Marco Delvecchio
As Italy entered the new millennium, they would do so with a new look. Having ditched their sponsorship with American sportswear giant Nike, who manufactured the national team’s shirts for France 1998 and the European Championships in England two years earlier, the Azzurri looked a little closer to home and turned to Kappa. The Turin based company began making the jerseys that Italy’s finest footballers would be wearing.
As Italy and Dino Zoff arrived in Belgium and Holland for Euro 2000, their new kit was much talked about. It would be the first time we would see Kappa’s new innovative ‘figure-hugging’ kits on display. The new shirt design, christened the ‘Kombat’ shirt, was a blend of polyester and spandex, which was very unforgiving for any player with an un-athletic physique. The selling point of these shirts were their tight fit, something that Kappa claimed would offer players more freedom and athleticism, as well as making it harder for opposition players to pull the Italian jerseys.
Despite the hype and interest in the shirt, it was actually a fairly plain design. Kappa went for a high round neck collar with the Kappa logo placed on the sleeve. The shirt was a lighter blue than normal and the three gold stars, marking Italy’s number of World Cup triumphs at that time, were moved to the sleeve of the shirt. Completing the outfit was the bright bold white numbers and letters of each player’s name. With so much effort going into the design, the shorts and socks remained rather conventional, as the Italian sportswear giant went for plain white shorts and blue socks.
As well as boasting a kit that stood out, it was also a tournament that Italian fans will remember for years to come, with Dino Zoff’s side coming so close to glory. After Gianluigi Buffon missed the tournament through injury, Francesco Toldo deputised and his semi-final heroics against co-hosts Holland in Amsterdam saw Italy travel to Rotterdam to face World Champions France. Marco Delvecchio had given Italy the lead and they were just a matter of seconds away from causing an upset and lifting the European Championship. However, an uncharacteristic Italian mistake at the back allowed Sylvain Wiltord to even things up, sending the final into extra time. Unable to recompose themselves, Italy struggled in extra time and a fresh faced, David Trezeguet, won the match for France thanks to his ‘Golden Goal’, leaving Italians heart broken.
Words by Giovanni Dougall: @giovannid86