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To get you properly pumped for USA v. England on June 12, we here at Kempt are rolling out a series called The World Cup According to Kempt™, your CliffsNotes guide to everything you really need to know about this summer’s quad-annual global soccer tournament in South Africa. (Hint: it has nothing to do with Xs and Os.) Today’s topic: the finest 2010 World Cup jerseys.

5) Netherlands (home)
It’s orange. Very orange. Because sometimes you just want to wear a loud, solid-colored shirt. We also like the numbers on the back, which use only right angles and therefore sort of look like they were cobbled together out of athletic tape at the last minute, when the referee informed the team that it had to have individual numbers. And like all of Nike’s new jerseys, these are made out of recycled plastic bottles. No, we’re not making this up.

4) England (away)
While we like the clean, simple, pure-as-the-driven-snow collared look of the England home jersey (it’s definitely the soccer jersey to wear if you ever find yourself at Wimbledon), the Brits’ away uniform is the real breakout star. It’s a nice marriage of old and stodgy (it’s inspired by the 1966 jersey England wore when it won the World Cup) and modern/sexy—designed by critically acclaimed artist Aitor Throup, it’s got different shades of red for the three shirt panels, and the front panel features a sloping neck that increases ventilation to the player’s body.

3) Cameroon (home)
If there were a World Cup jersey Group of Death, it would be Group E: all four teams (Netherlands, Cameroon, Denmark and Japan) have pretty badass shirts. We like Cameroon’s the best for a bunch of reasons. First, Cameroon’s soccer team is known as the Indomitable Lions, and so the jersey plays this up with a cool roaring lion logo embroidered on the chest AND a ferocious lion’s head printed on the mesh right shoulder. (Coupled with the leaping puma logos on the chest and right sleeve, this is the Mutual of Omaha Wild Kingdom of soccer jerseys). It also sets the stage for the canary yellow socks really well.

2) Argentina (home)
Just like with Cameroon’s shirt, Argentina’s TechFit home jersey (i.e., the one the players will actually wear on the field) moves away from the baggy look and toward a very snug, slimming, almost-cycling-shirt design. Which means it might look a little funny on that portly fellow at the end of the sports bar (or Diego Maradona, these days), but its polyester/spandex blend will work well for the best player in the world, Lionel Messi, as well as your more svelte female fans of the Albicelestes (“light blue and whites”).

1) Brazil (home)
Yes, our #1 pick is fairly predictable. But how can you not like this all-time-classic, attention-grabbing jersey (unless of course you’re from Buenos Aires)? It’s everything you’d want in a World Cup shirt: clean, simple, bright. We like the green piping down the arms. And it doesn’t hurt that one look at it conjures a Pavlovian association to Pelé, fancy footwork, World Cup trophies and beautiful women shaking their hips.

—S.D.

CONTRIBUTORS

  • Shawn Donnelly