Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Solved! The Mystery of the 96-97 Argentina Shirt

OK, so most of you reading this will a) not be aware there's any kind of mystery around a certain mid-90s Argentina shirt and b) not give a toss, but I DO!

For the past few years, I have been seeing this Argentina shirt all over eBay and it's usually described as the 96-97 shirt. I know this to be inaccurate as I am a complete nerd when it comes to Argentina kits and I happen to know that, between World Cups 94 and 98, AFA had only one other style of shirt... although even that appeared in about 4 different versions!

A few weeks ago, I stumbled upon an excellent site, bursting with Argentina-Kit-Nerd-Porn (yeah, I'm uber-niche!) and learned such awesome facts as in 1991, the AFA Youth side wore kits almost identical to the "one off" away outfits the senior side wore against England at Mexico 86!

Perusing that site last night, what lay before me, but that 96-97 shirt! At last I thought, an answer! Except i was on my mobile so couldn't translate it... hours later and my PC screen reveals the truth.

I was right! It never was an official AFA shirt! Turns out it was a proposal Adidas put forward for the 1994 kit, but which was rejected due to the navy pinstripes, the AFA insisting there would be no colour other than the blue and white (4 years later, they finally allowed black detailing on the shirts worn at World Cup 98). So, not only was it not a shirt ever worn by the Argentina side, but had the AFA not been so prickly about a 3rd colour on the shirt, this could have been the outfit worn by Maradona in his last ever match for his country. Personally, I think they made the right call and the one eventually chosen for USA 94 was very classy.
88? Really?

So now you know... and probably still don't care ;-)

Just this one to solve now...

You can read the full article here. And in case you were wondering, I use Google Chrome, which translates it all for me...


  1. Excellent research Rich! Glad you solved the problem.

    1. Thanks John! I think I can live in peace now...well, once I've solved that 88 one ;-)

  2. I own that mysterious shirt (supposedly from '88) and have yet to find any evidence of the team wearing it in an actual match. There are a lot of them on eBay (which is where I got mine), and some descriptions suggest the shirt was only used for presentation purposes. Some people let the old AFA logo dupe them into thinking it's the '78 shirt. It's clearly more recent than that, plus the black sleeve stripes are a clear distinction. But it must have been released commercially or else how did so many people get hold of it?

    Argentina wore Le Coq Sportif shirts from around '81 to '89, although the Olympic team wore adidas at Seoul '88 ( In 1990 they did wear an alternative design for two or three friendlies prior to the World Cup that used a darker blue than usual ( Since then I've kept pretty close tabs on Argentina's kits and I have no trouble identifying them. But I have spent long hours trying to solve this one... I'm amazed that I've found a fellow Argentina kit nerd to help me! Let me know if you have any updates!

    1. James, we are true kindred spirits! :) The site I found the answer on has loads of this stuff including the pre-Italia 90 kit :)

    2. I also only recently discovered that the kit they wore in the 96 Olympics (minus AFA badge of course) was actually worn in some WC98 qualifiers. Tis slightly different to the usual "real" 96-97 shirt (which itself has 3 different version with Adidas logos in different places etc)! NERD NIRVANA!!! ;)

    3. The somewhat haughty sounding site Shirts of Excellence has an AFA '88 shirt (yes, THAT one) which it claims was issued to a certain Roque Alfaro. It has a number 1 on the back in the 3D style (not seen since around '84), which the site suggests is because Argentina were still in the habit of numbering alphabetically.

      I looked up Roque Alfaro: he played for Argentina five times in 1987, including at that year's Copa America, but the side wore Le Coq Sportif at that tournament.

      So I guess we're no closer to solving this one.

    4. Yeah I've seen that shirt and also looked up Mr Alfaro. Apart from the fact that (barring the 88 Olympics), AFA wore Le Coq Sportif, they hadn't numbered their players alphabetically since the 82 World Cup (where Ossie Ardiles wore the no.1 shirt). closer at all :(

  3. They were alphabetically numbered in '86 and '90 too.

    In '86 Newell's Old Boys forward Sergio Almiron wore number 1, although the sequence was interrupted for Maradona (10) and Valdano (11).

    In '90 the numbering was slightly more flexible: Lorenzo (13) and Giusti (14) should have swapped but all the players from '86 wore the same numbers (understandably). But I don't think the number 3 shirt would have been Abel Balbo's first choice... I remember Brian Moore having to explain that he was a striker—despite the shirt on his back—as the teams lined up in the opening match of Italia '90.

    Things had changed by '94 when, after a lifetime of being stuck at the end of the phone book, defender Sergio Vasquez took the lofty number 2 shirt.

    Italy were alphabetically numbered from '78 up to and including '98, except they alphabetized players in categories based on position, which is why Azzurri forwards were always numbered somewhere between 17 and 21. Of course, they were nice enough to give Baggio the 10 shirt in '94. By '98 the system had become a little lax, and in '02 was ditched completely.

    Yes, I take squad numbers very seriously indeed... Sometimes if I see a player wearing what I consider to be the "wrong" number I just can't get over it.

    1. Of course! Pumpido was 18, Batista was 2 and Brown was 5! How on earth did I not realise this????

      *Hides in shame*

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