As Tata Martino's El Tri begin their 2022 World Cup campaign in Qatar, we look back the colours and jerseys worn by Mexico at past tournaments.
The world of football has evolved greatly from the first ever FIFA World Cup staged in Uruguay almost a century ago where 13 nations met to dispute for the Jules Rimet trophy for the first time. The modern game is almost indistinguishable from the then: Video Assistant Referees, state of the art stadia, aerodynamic polyurethane footballs and players with Climalite performance enhancing shirts wearing gossamer light boots. The premise of the game though has changed little, with the objective of scoring more goals than the opponent a constant in the evolution of the game. As part of our 2022 World Cup coverage, we look at how the Mexico national team jersey has changed over time.
1930) Uruguay World Cup
Mexico were one of the 13 invited nations to participate at the inaugural World Cup which was staged at three Montevideo venues.
A hat-trick of group stage defeats secured an early elimination for Mexico as host nation Uruguay lifted the first Jules Rimet trophy with a 4-2 win over Argentina in the final.
Kit:In the early part of the 20th century it was far from common for national teams to utilise colours from the national flag as part of the playing kit. Mexico initially adopted a burgundy shirt and dark shorts with many historians suggesting that this was an homage to the Spanish national team colours.
1950) Brazil World Cup
Having failed to qualify for the 1934 and 1938 editions, Mexico were back in World Cup action in the first post-war edition staged in Brazil. As per their 1930 debut, they endured a miserable tournament, once again falling to three defeats as Uruguay delivered one of the greatest upsets in the game with the famous ‘Maracanazo’ 2-1 win over Brazil in the final.
Kit:Mexico still sported the burgundy and dark navy shorts combo at the Brazil 1950 World Cup and with away kits making starting to make an appearance for the first time, the Mexicans opted for a blue and white striped shirt which was used only once in the group game against Switzerland.
1954) Switzerland World Cup
Mexico were nothing if consistent in their opening three World Cup’s with the Central American’s once again losing both group stage games ensuring another early elimination. West Germany would go onto winning their first World Cup defeating the highly fancied Hungary of Kocsis and Puskas.
Kit:This would be the last major competition that Mexico sported the burgundy shirt with these colours being used as the national team suffered defeat in all eight World Cup group stage games over three tournaments.
1958) Sweden World Cup
A late 89th minute equaliser against Wales from Jaime ‘El Flaco’ Belmonte saw Mexico secure their first ever point at a World Cup tournament but once again the national side underwhelmed on the pitch and ended up bottom of their group with a draw and two defeats.
Kit:A decision was taken by the Mexican FA ahead of the 1956 Pan-American Championship that the national team colours should reflect the country’s flag and ‘El Tri’ (El Tricolor/Tricolour) was born. For the first time ever at a World Cup, Mexico sported a green shirt, white shorts and red socks.
1962) Chile World Cup
The Estadio Sausalito in Viña del Mar holds a special place in the hearts of all Mexico fans as it was there on 7 June, 1962 where ‘El Tri’ recorded their first ever World Cup win with a 3-1 victory over eventual finalists Czechoslovakia. The win, however was’t enough for Mexico to progress and another early exit ensued with Brazil going on to defend their title.
Kit:It was somewhat ironic that Mexico’s first ever World Cup win would come in their away kit which in turn was inspired by the previous home colours of burgundy with navy shorts.
1966) England World Cup
Draws against Uruguay and France combined with a defeat to hosts England ensured that, once again, ‘El Tri’ were one of the first sides eliminated from the England World Cup. The ‘Three Lions’ would go onto win the trophy with a 4-2 extra-time win over West Germany in the Wembley final.
Kit:The burgundy/navy away kit was once again used in the 1-1 draw against France and defeat to England with the green home kit just making a single appearance as part of the 0-0 draw against Uruguay at Wembley.
1970) Mexico World Cup
Boosted by fanatical home support, Mexico advanced to the knock-out stage of the World Cup for the first time ever following wins over El Salvador and Belgium coupled with a 0-0 draw against the Soviet Union. National joy was short-lived though as in the knock-out phase Italy were too strong for ‘El Tri’ with a 4-1 win in León. A Brazil side with Pelé, Rivelino, Gerson and Jarzinho would go onto secure their third World Cup glory outclassing the Italians in a memorable Estadio Azteca final game.
Kit:This would be the last World Cup of brand free shirts with Mexico wearing their home colours in two games and the burgundy/navy away kit getting an airing in the games against Belgium and defeat to Italy.
1978) Argentina World Cup
After failing to qualify for the 1974 tournament, the ghosts of past World Cups reared their collective heads as ‘El Tri’ were abject at the Argentina World Cup, failing to record a win or draw and ending up bottom of their group with 0 points. A humiliating 6-0 defeat to West Germany epitomised the poor performance of the national team. Hugo Sanchez made his national team debut in the 3-1 defeat to Tunisia.
KitThe first ever manufacturers to have their logo on a Mexico shirt at a World Cup was none other than San Francisco Levi Strauss as part of an initiative between the Mexican FA and the company’s ActivWear Division. Levi’s would go on to supply the US Olympic team in 1984 before returning to a focus on their core denim based business model. Mexico sported their green shirt in two games but reverted to the mainly white shirt with red shirts for the Tunisia game.
1986) Mexico World Cup
The World Cup made a quick return to Mexico just 16 years hosting their first tournament after civil unrest in Colombia forced the South American nation to forfeit hosting the event. As in 1970, Mexico responded in front of their home fans advancing as far as the quarter-final stage where they fell to West Germany on a penalty shoot-out. The Germans would ultimately go on to lose the final to an Argentina side inspired by the genius of Diego Maradona in the expanded tournament with 24 teams.
Kit:After a brief one year-contract with Pony Sports, in 1983, the Mexican FA penned a deal with German sportswear giants Adidas that would see ‘El Tri’ sport the famous three stripes in a venture that lasted through to 1991. For the 86 World Cup, Mexico sported both green and white versions of the Adidas kits as they equalled their best ever World Cup showing.
1994) USA World Cup
A FIFA ban for fielding over-age players at an U-20 competition saw Mexico miss out at Italia 90 but ‘El Tri’ bounced back at the 1994 tournament staged in the neighbouring USA. Mexico topped their group but were eliminated by surprise package Bulgaria on a penalty shoot-out in New York’s Giants Stadium despite the heroics of flamboyant goalkeeper Jorge Campos.
Kit:Following the conclusion of the Adidas deal in 1991, Umbro were the next outfitters to supply the kit to the Mexican national side with the US World Cup the last major competition ‘El Tri’ would sport the double diamond logo. The away kit at the time was a white shirt, red shorts combo but it was the garish brightly coloured luminous goalkeeper shirts used by keeper Campos that hit the headlines.
1998) France World Cup
Undefeated in the group stage at the expanded 32 team World Cup, Mexico were unfortunate to face the highly fancied Germany in the Round of 16 and just when it seemed that the game was heading for extra-time, Oliver Bierhoff broke Mexican hearts with a late winner in Montpellier.
Kit:Upon the conclusion of the Umbro arrangement, the Mexican FA sealed a deal with Monterrey based ABA Sports with the company already supplying the kit for local side Rayados as well as Chivas and Tecos de la UAG. Both home and away versions of the ABA Sports World Cup 98 shirts featured a distinctive Aztec design and both are highly cherished among ‘El Tri’ supporters.
2002) S.Korea/Japan World Cup
The 2002 tournament was the first to be staged across two nations with Japan and South Korea co-hosts. A strong Mexico side topped a difficult group with Italy, Croatia and Ecuador and El Tri faced the USA in the next stage of the competition. The game ended in another Round of 16 elimination with the rare USMNT win over their neighbours going down in American soccer folklore sparking the ‘Dos a Cero’ catchphrase.
Kit:After a brief one year deal with Garcis, the Mexican FA then signed a new deal with Jalisco based Atletica in 2000. The local company reintroduced the burgundy away shirt as a nod to the origins of the national team colours but El Tri wore the classic green with an all white kit at the 2022 competition.
2006) Germany World Cup
A win, draw and defeat in Germany saw Mexico come second in a group with Portugal, Angola and Iran. For the fourth year running, the Round of 16 was to be El Tri’s undoing as the faced Argentina in Leipzig. It took an extra-time wonder strike from Maxi Rodriguez to break the deadlock and ensure that, once again there would be no ‘quinto partido’.
Kit:US sportswear giant Nike was the next company to supply the Mexican FA with the Oregon based brand coming on board in 2003 with a deal that lasted through to the 2006 World Cup. Classic green shirts, white shorts and red socks were the home offering with white shirts/green shorts the away combination for the duration of the Nike contract.
2010) South Africa World Cup
Mexico maintained their win, draw and defeat record in the group stage once again but 4 points were enough for Javier Aguirre’s side to progress to the Round of 16. Once again, El Tri were pitted against the mighty Argentina with a certain Lionel Messi in the ranks and as was the case in 2006, the Central American side came up short falling in a 3-1 defeat.
Kit:The South Africa tournament was the first to see Mexico back with the Adidas three stripes after the FA penned a new deal in 2007 with the German company after the Nike contract had terminated. Adidas remained faithful to the colour code of the home kit but for the first time ever, Mexico wore an all black away kit which made it’s debut on the big stage in the World Cup opener against the host nation as part of a 1-1 draw.
2014) Brazil World Cup
Mexico found themselves drawn against host nation Brazil, Croatia and Cameroon in Group A. Seven points from two wins and a draw saw El Tri advance to the next stage where they were pitted against the Netherlands. All was going well for Miguel Herrera’s men but two late, late goals from the Dutch side condemned Mexico to yet another Round of 16 exit from a World Cup.
Kit:With the exception of the 0-0 draw against the host nation where they sported a vivid orange coloured away shirt and black shorts, Mexico donned their iconic green shirt in the other three games in Brazil.
2018) Russia World Cup
A shock 1-0 win over reigning champions Germany in their opening game got Mexico’s 2018 campaign off to a positive start in Russia. Juan Carlos Osorio’s side saw off South Korea before a 0-3 defeat condemned El Tri to a second place finish and a Round of 16 clash with Brazil. Goals from Firmino and Neymar ended Mexico’s tournament condemning El Tri to their eighth consecutive Round of 16 exit with no sign of the elusive ‘quinto partido’ in sight.
Kit:The Adidas three stripes still adorned the Mexico kits in Russia with a darker tone of green being used for the home kit and a elegant white shirt with green and dark red bands for the away shirt.
2022) Qatar World Cup
El Tri head to Qatar with many fans unconvinced that coach Gerardo ‘Tata’ Martino is the man to ensure that Mexico reach the hallowed ground of the ‘quinto partido’ and finally advance past the Round of 16. Martino’s team are pitted in a complicated group along with Argentina and Saudi Arabia, but it’s the Group C opener against Poland that many Mexico fans may condition the nations ability to advance with the general assumption being that Argentina will top the group.
Kit:Adidas have surpassed themselves with the green and red home kit being one of the standout shirts at the Qatar World Cup but it’s the unique cream coloured away shirt with burgundy Aztec details that have hit the headlines with the shirt selling out in many nations as Mexico and general kit collectors clamour to secure what is undeniably the most elegant 2022 World Cup shirt.