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Nike Football Unveils 2014 Croatia National Team Kit

Written By Themba Khumalo on Sunday, March 2, 2014 | Sunday, March 02, 2014

The new 2014 National Team Kit for Croatia was unveiled today in the country's capital of Zagreb during the trials of Nike Chance, a global football search for the best undiscovered amateur players.

National team striker Mario Mandzukic was on hand to present the new home jersey to Josip Juranović, the winner of the day's session as a special reward.  The symbolic jesture was designed to emphasize that the kit inspires players at every level, not only those who currently wear it.

“Many great Croatian players inspired me when I was a young kid. I remember dreaming about the day when I could represent my country on the world's biggest stage. And it is a very special occasion to be here today and reward the players that are commited and determined to become the next generation that will wear this iconic jersey,” said Mario Mandzukic.

The new kit combines the best in performance innovation with inspirational and unique details that pay homage to Croatia’s birth as a new football nation in 1990.

“We wanted to celebrate Croatia’s rich history and provide them with a new kit that would inspire national pride and help embolden the team each time they take to the pitch,” said Martin Lotti, Design Director for Nike Football.

HOME KIT

The design of the Croatia home kit is inspired by the jersey Croatia wore for their first match as an independent team against the U.S. in Zagreb in October 1990. The new home kit will be worn during the 25th anniversary of this game. It skillfully combines old and new, featuring the distinctive red sleeves the Croatian team wore in 1990, as part of a modern design.

The jersey has a bold red V-neck collar and proudly features Croatia’s famous red-and-white checks, which were first used on a national team kit in 1990.

Inside the back of the neck is a woven pennant tab inscribed with the phrase "Budi Ponosan," which translates to "Be Proud."

The new shorts are in the traditional Croatian white. Simple and iconic, the fit is slimmer and more tailored to the body, with a cut specifically designed to aid movement and comfort. The center back of the shorts feature Nike’s signature laser vents to aid in cooling and allow for moisture management.

The new Croatian home socks are blue, ensuring the kit represents all three colors of the Croatian flag.

AWAY KIT

The bright blue away kit features red-and-white checks, which have been a source of inspiration for the Croatian people since first being used in 1499. The red and white checks represent freedom for Croatia — white for serenity, peace and honesty, and red to signify the bravery and strength of the Croatian people.

“The red and white checks resonate so deeply with the Croatian people that we wanted them to appear on both the home and away kit,” said Lotti. “So we’ve showcased them here in the away kit in a different and more subtle fashion.”

The bright blue jersey features a red crew-neck collar and red-and-white checks in a panel, with red trim on the shoulders from the collar to the hem of the sleeves.

The new away shorts are bright blue with the same panel of red-and-white checks running down each side.

ULTIMATE IN COOLING AND COMFORT
The kit aids performance by helping regulate player body temperature over the course of a match. By using a combination of Nike Dri-FIT technology, mesh panels and laser-cut ventilation holes, designers are able to localize cooling where players need it most.

Nike Dri-FIT technology pulls moisture away from the skin to the outside of the garment where it evaporates quickly. Laser-cut ventilation holes and engineered mesh in key areas allow for increased breathability and airflow across the skin. 

“By managing sweat and keeping the body cooler longer, players feel more comfortable, sweat less and perform better,” said Lotti.

In addition to helping players stay cool, the kit is made with a new dual-knit fabrication that incorporates cotton and recycled polyester for the best in moisture-wicking properties, while adding a softer feel and more flattering shape.

ENVIRONMENTAL SUSTAINABILITY
In line with Nike’s commitment to superior performance with lower environmental impact, the shirt, short — and for the first time in a national team kit, the socks — all feature fabric made from recycled plastic bottles (100 percent recycled polyester in the shorts, 96 percent recycled polyester in the shirt and 78 percent in the socks). Each kit is made using an average of 18 recycled plastic bottles. Since 2010, Nike has diverted almost two billion bottles from landfills, enough to cover more than 2,800 full-sized football pitches.

“Incorporating environmental sustainability is a key part of the design and development process for us,” said Lotti. “Our aim is to create a kit that performs for players and is good to the planet.”

PERFECT FIT
Designers utilized three-dimensional body scans of elite footballers to collect data on the form of today’s players and identify an updated fit, improving comfort and allowing the body to move more naturally within the kit.

While looking at every element of the modern football kit, Nike designers even paid special attention to the kits’ socks. Combining athlete insights and research with new materials and fabrications, the Nike Elite Match Fit sock for 2014 features a sleeker fit specific to football. Strategically cushioned zones provide comfort and protection at the big toe and anklebones where the majority of impact occurs, while arch support locks down the foot to help prevent slipping. Material was also eliminated to enhance touch and decrease bulk, and flex grooves were added to the ankle and the top of the foot to prevent bunching.

NIKE PRO BASELAYER
The new Nike Pro baselayer is the lightest ever from Nike and features increased venting and breathability.

Players have a variety of Nike Pro baselayer styles for players to choose from. These are designed for the varying temperatures and conditions athletes will encounter in Brasil, which are expected to vary from high heat during mid-day matches, to much colder temperatures in the southern match locations during evening games. 

Nike has redesigned its baselayer short for 2014 taking insights directly from some of the best players in the world.

“When we asked players to talk about the kind of protection they need during a match, they showed us scars and abrasions on their upper-back hip area from sliding,” recalled Lotti. “Several players showed us these same injuries so we set out to add more protection, while balancing the need for lightweight breathability.”

The result is the Nike Pro Combat Ultralight Slider Short. Featuring increased and adjusted abrasion protection zones to match the athlete’s sliding pattern, the short is also 20 percent lighter than previous versions and made with 87 percent recycled polyester. Weight was eliminated through the addition of mesh for increased breathability and cooling where the athlete generates heat.

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