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The Peculiar Story Of The Brazil Soccer Jersey

Every soccer team has a unique look jersey. From Real Madrid’s royal white to Argentina’s legendary stripes, there are innumerable iconic soccer jerseys. Still, few are synonymous with success and history as Brazil’s canarinho: the unmistakable vibrant yellow base with green accents.

At the 1970 World Cup in Mexico, Brazil was torn between embracing tradition and looking ahead to the future. Hence, officials did something unprecedented, and it just happened to coincide with the Seleção’s greatest ever generation.

Origin Of An Iconic Look

The Brazilian national team originally donned white kits with blue collars. Still, after the Maracanaço, the cataclysmic defeat to Uruguay at the 1950 World Cup final in front of over 200 thousand stunned home fans, the soccer jersey was deemed not patriotic enough. With that in mind, Rio-based newspaper Correio da Manhã ran a competition for supporters to mail in new brazil soccer jersey designs resembling the country’s flag.

The winner of the contest was Aldyr Garcia Schlee, a 19-year-old from Pelotas in Southern Brazil. He came up with the now-legendary combination of the yellow-and-green shirt with blue-and-white shorts.

Tradition Or Future?

By the time the 1970 World Cup came around, the new brazil soccer jersey was already iconic, after the Seleção conquered the world consecutively between 1958 and 1962. But with the latest edition of football’s showpiece event on the horizon, there was some uncertainty as to who Brazil’s soccer jersey manufacturer would be.

Athleta, a local business, had been the national side’s primary manufacturer since providing it with the original canarinho in 1954. But English outfitter Umbro was making waves and expanding rapidly; it also occasionally worked with Brazil before, supplying the soccer jerseys worn at the triumphant 1958 and 1962 tournaments. So a decision had to be made: Would the South Americans support their local community or keep up with the latest trend? In the end, they did both.

Brazil Soccer Jersey Compromise

Brazil decided that it would wear Athleta kits in the first half of each game and then change to Umbro at halftime, except for the final, where the latter was worn for the entirety of the match. The only slight difference between the two sets of outfits was that the numbers on the Umbro jersey were rounder. It was an unprecedented decision and one that indeed won’t ever be repeated in today’s fiercely commercialized game.

The 1970 World Cup wasn’t just the first time a global audience could appreciate Brazil’s soccer jersey in all their colorful brilliance. They also witnessed a golden generation that played equally vibrant soccer and ultimately lifted the enigmatic Jules Rimet Trophy.

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