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This is the latest installment of The World Cup According to Kempt™, our series on the stuff that really matters at this summer’s tournament in South Africa.

Other than the Jabulani ball, the players’ hair and the rhythmic buzzing of the vuvuzelas, the one thing that has captured our attention more than anything else at this year’s World Cup is the attire of the coaches. Now that the knockout stage is upon us and we’re having to say goodbye to many of these colorful characters, we thought we’d hand out a few coaching style grades…

Bob Bradley, USA: B
Anytime you opt for the team warmup, you’re not going to rise up very high or slide down very far. It’s a low-risk style option. (If only his back four had been equally low-risk…)

Diego Maradona, Argentina: A
Diego looks good in this dark gray suit and, more importantly, he seems to enjoy wearing it. He’s like that guy at the wedding who seems to be saying, “Hey, look at me… I put on a suit! Now watch me do the Centipede!” Only instead of doing the Centipede, he just enthusiastically chases down soccer balls and hugs his players.

Fabio Capello, England: B-
Unlike Maradona, Capello seemed a little constricted by his outfit. We actually like this gray suit—the English football association outfitted the entire team with it, which is why you saw David Beckham wearing it as well (with waistcoat)—but if anything, it appeared a bit too formal. Itchy even. Perhaps it rubbed off on the players; they seemed equally tight and gray.

Carlos Dunga, Brazil: F
Dunga has displayed terrible style on the sidelines so far, but in a weird way, we love it. It’s so bad, it’s good. A guilty pleasure. Sometimes he’ll wear a light-colored dress shirt with what looks like a lime green t-shirt underneath. Sometimes he’ll wear a lavender dress shirt. For the North Korea game, the former World Cup champion chose to pair a turtleneck (we think he’s a turtleneck guy) with a bulky pea coat with gigantic buttons. And of course, everything is complemented by his trademark Brazilian/Mohican military cut, which he’s had since his playing days. You definitely don’t mistake Dunga for anyone else. Except maybe the evil dojo instructor in the original Karate Kid.

Bert van Marwijk, Netherlands: C
The Dutch coaching staff is going with matching shiny gray suits, white shirts and no ties. One of these would be fine—they’re actually quite slick and modern—but taken together, they have a strange, backup-singers feel to them. Like they’re doing a stage show in Vegas. Or Rotterdam, as it were.

Joachim Löw, Germany: A+
The best of the bunch, in our opinion. “Jogi” wears a blue v-neck sweater with a dark navy blue suit for each match. He seems quite comfortable with the pairing too. Consider what the announcers said about it during one of Germany’s first-round matches:

Ally McCoist: “I’m not sure I could pull that off.”
Martin Tyler: “I’m not sure if he’s pulling it off either. But he THINKS he is, and that’s what’s most important sometimes.”

Very true, Martin. Very true.

Oscar Tabarez, Uruguay: B
He looks great… if it were 1986. There’s a Hot Tub Time Machine quality to his dark suit. Seems outdated, is what we’re getting at. But solid.

Pim Verbeek, Australia: C
Honestly, we don’t even remember what he was wearing. We just couldn’t get over his piercing blue eyes and wild, thinning hair. As others on the internet have pointed out, he looks like a Bond villain. Definitely the scariest-looking Pim we’ve ever seen.

Marcello Lippi, Italy: D
Like his team, a disappointment. Rather than wearing the “formal uniform” (a suit furnished by Dolce & Gabbana), Lippi opted for a Bob Bradley-esque team warmup and puffy coat. In RED, of all colors, not the Italians’ signature blue.

Stuart Pearce, England (assistant): B-
For the U.S. game, we were astonished to see the 48-year-old Pearce making his way to the sidelines in soccer socks pulled up to his knees and soccer shorts. Like he was about to line up beside Frank Lampard. (Probably wouldn’t have made much difference, actually.) This would be like a Boston Celtics assistant coach coming out in high-tops, tube socks and baggy green shorts. Two unrelated but interesting facts about Pearce: his nickname is “Psycho,” and he sounds exactly like the Geico gecko.

Vladimir Weiss, Slovakia: D
His go-to pinstripe suit during this World Cup belongs in a Chicago speakeasy circa Prohibition. That, or Weiss should be running numbers in the back room of a gin joint in Road to Perdition. (Which is essentially the same thing. We had two.)

—S.D.

CONTRIBUTORS

  • Shawn Donnelly