Admittedly, “style” in the context of the world’s biggest sporting event usually refers to how players play rather than how they dress. But with soccer stars like David Beckham and Japan’s Hidetoshi Nakata getting as much press attention for their sharp, innovative fashion sense as for their footballing skills, the pitch action provides fodder for fashionistas and fans alike. In the stands, it’s a whole different ballgame, with glamorous wives and girlfriends and flamboyant fans vying for the cameramen’s attentions.
With hundreds of thousands of fans traveling from 32 countries support their teams and at least 60 million TV viewers globally, the competition offers a unique peek into current fashion trends on the six continents.
First things first — the kits. And before we start, it is important to note that, while football jerseys look fine on sweaty football players engaged in a tackle, they are unacceptable daytime attire for men over the age of 16.
First prize goes to Ghana, who beat the U.S. last week in both football and fashion stakes. Next to the West African team’s vibrant orange and yellow strips, our boys looked plain and preppy.
Of course, some teams are luckier than others. Brazil — as usual a hot favorite to win the Cup — is also a leading contender in the fashion stakes with it’s exotic lemon and lime stripes worn to devastating effect by sallow-skinned players such as Kak_.
Portugal drew the short straw this time around with a dull, maroon kit that looks like it has not been revamped since Eusebio’s heyday.
In the hair stakes, Beckham relinquished his crown as King of the Crop when he took to the field against Trinidad and Tobago in a simple, boyish cut with a neat side parting.
Japanese players, on the other hand, have embraced his legacy, making liberal use of hair dye and complicated, spiky cuts.
Spain’s Fernando Torres has been sporting and brave haircut that combines a blond-tipped mullet with a rat’s tail. On paper, it spells disaster but in reality it looks quite fetching.
Sadly, this is one area where the South American players must concede defeat. Has nobody thought to tell them that long hair on men is soooo pass