Matchworn Māris Verpakovskis 15.06.04 CZE 🇨🇿 : LAT 🇱🇻 2-1 (EURO 2004)
Latvian football was at its absolute peak in 2004. After surprisingly finishing second in the qualifying group for EURO 2004 in 2003, leaving the favored Poles behind, there was only one last hurdle for the Latvians to reach the greatest success in their football history: the play-offs for participation in the European championship. With a 1-0 win and a 2-2 draw against Turkey, the Latvians celebrated their first appearance in a major tournament. Starting the tournament as absolute underdogs, the Latvians, as expected, could not cause any big surprises. However, with their first goal in a major tournament in the first game against Czech Republic and a draw against the tournament favorite from Germany, they were able to achieve two respectable successes. After the European Championship, however, things went downhill for Latvia in terms of football, as already reported in another article.
Some jerseys embody a piece of footballing history. This is one of those jerseys. Worn by arguably the greatest Latvian footballer of all time - Māris Verpakovskis - this shirt represents the Baltic state's greatest footballing success. The rather simple design in traditional maroon red was worn by Verpakovskis in Latvia's very first game at a European Championship, in which he also scored the first goal for his country at a major tournament.
Unlike the replica versions of this jersey, the player's jersey has an association badge made of felt. A highlight are certainly the two patches worn by the teams during the European Championship.
I already own jerseys from other major continental tournaments, such as the Copa América, the Asia Cup or the Africa Cup. But I'm especially happy to finally have a jersey from the biggest European football tournament in my collection.