The best kits that missed out on Euro 2020

After several rounds of qualification matches and more than a few nervy playoff moments, we finally have a list of the 24 teams that will be competing at Euro 2020 next year.

Scotland are of course back in the big time, and there were also some heroic efforts from the likes of Hungary and Macedonia. Of course, for every success story there was a disappointment, and sadly we won’t be seeing/hearing/feeling the famous Viking Thunder Clap next summer after Iceland’s unfortunate slip up. Speaking of Vikings, Norway and a certain Erling Haaland’s will also be notable absentees.

Any major tournament is in many ways defined by the shirts that grace the pitches over those magical few weeks, but what about the shirts that won’t even have a chance to cement their place in kit folklore? What are some of the best designs that will largely go unnoticed by the wider public, and left to be appreciated by enthusiasts like you and me?

I’ve picked out 8 of my favourite designs that sadly missed out, so we can all mourn together.

2020 Serbia home shirt

Serbia were one of the relatively big names to miss out, and sadly that means no tournament sighting of their wonderful home shirt. Puma have been on something of a tear in 2020, producing a range of strong bespoke designs on both the club and international stage, and though the Serbia home shirt doesn’t reach the magnificent heights of what we’ve seen with countries like Italy (another Puma team of course), it remains a shirt worthy of a major tournament.

The design is supposedly a nod to Serbian national hero Nikola Tesla, though many commented that the shirt bore resemblance to the equally legendary Pac-Man. It’s a great pattern either way, not least because there are no unnecessary distractions throughout the rest of the shirt.

2020 Norway away shirt

Let’s rip off the plaster and get this over with quickly. Norway’s wonderful iceberg of a shirt will melt away before it has a chance to leave its mark on the world. 

Across Nike’s bumper international kit drop earlier in the year, Norway’s away was undoubtedly one of the talks of the town with its striking all-over aesthetic. Though not to everyone’s taste, the shirt was certainly memorable and the thought of Haaland leading the line in the kit was tantalising to say the least.

Instead, though this shirt will still command a loyal following in its own right, we’ll be left thinking ‘what-if’.

2020 Iceland home shirt

Iceland underwent an exceptional rebrand this year, innovating their crest in one of the most creative designs I’ve ever seen. The moves were made at the same time as a switch to Puma, and everything was seemingly falling into place for another big splash at a major tournament.

Sadly all we ended up with this time round was a (very) late playoff defeat to Hungary, and the home kit we’re saying goodbye to is an unfortunate casualty. Critics will argue that the design is a template seen on some of Puma’s leisurewear items this year, but crucially we’ve not seen this look on other match shirts (that I’m aware of at least). Plus, I would argue that it’s an aesthetically pleasing design despite the fact it’s not unique.

2020 Greece home shirt

Nike’s offering for Greece didn’t make anything like the splash of Norway’s design previously, but it remains a great example of understated brilliance. A single blue sash, which moves from a solid fill to a line based design reminiscent of the flag of Greece, is all this shirt needs in my opinion (except maybe the continuation of the design on the back).

2020 Bulgaria home shirt

The Bulgaria home shirt might be low-key one of the best international shirts across all teams this year.

I’m not usually the biggest Joma fan, but I can’t praise them enough here. The double chest band aesthetic isn’t too far removed from the legendary Hungary kits of the 50s and 60s, and the white green and red colourway is timeless in the best possible sense.

With a central crest, and the continuation of the central bands on both cuffs, I can’t think of a Joma shirt I’ve liked more. It’s certainly a kit deserving of a major tournament.

2020 Luxembourg home shirt

Luxembourg came out trumps in our Macron season overview, and I will continue to sing the praises of their home kit. Everything from the colours to the subliminal lion to the subtle light blue trim on the collar and cuffs is singing beautifully in unison on this design. 

Luxembourg are the nation with the most qualifying campaigns for a major tournament without managing to actually make it to the finals, so a Euros appearance for this kit was wishful thinking whichever way you look at it.

2020 Slovenia away shirt

I have a long standing love affair for Slovenia shirts, so I was sad to see the country miss out on next year’s festivities. In truth Slovenia have been in a bit of a rut on the pitch, but their kits have consistently delivered.

This year’s slate is a relatively plain aesthetic compared to other recent renditions, but don’t mistake simplicity for negligence. From a colour perspective the away immediately pops, and I’m glad we have a continuation of Slovenia’s long-standing mountain motif.

2020 Faroe Islands away shirt

Rounding off the list are the Faroe Islands, another Macron team.

Once again this is Macron at their best, and it says a lot about how strong Macron’s partnership is with UEFA. The brand work with ‘smaller’ nations to produce bespoke kits, and for Luxembourg previously and the Faroes here we see exactly what is possible.

I love the colours and design features here, not least the beautiful triple-striped collar and matching cuffs. Though not new for this particular shirt, the Faroe Islands crest also happens to be one of my favourites in world football.

Which of these shirts is your favourite? Did we miss a shirt from this list? Let us know in the comments, and stay tuned for more Euro 2020 content.

Phil Delves

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