Matchworn by Andrejs Cigaņiks 14.11.20 LAT 🇱🇻 : FRO 🇫🇴 1-1
I have already written about the beginnings of Latvian football, their most successful years and eventually about their demise.
Within eight years, the Latvian national team dropped an incredible 103 places in the FIFA ranking. During the 2016 UEFA EURO qualifiers, the team finished dead last in their group, without winning a single match. Things didn’t really get better during the 2018 qualifiers, where Latvia finished behind the Faroe Islands and only won two games against Andorra.
Consequently, the nation that once held Germany to a surprising draw during the 2004 UEFA EURO, was now seeded in League D of the UEFA Nations League alongside European football “powerhouses” such as Liechtenstein, San Marino and Gibraltar. And even in this group of football-dyslexics, Latvia did not manage to get beyond a third place, only putting Andorra behind them.
After the disastrous developments in Latvian football, the Latvian Football Federation decided to conduct a rebranding of its national team: new federation badge, new shirts, new logos and a new mascot. Did those visual alterations lead the team to new heights? Of course not. Nevertheless, their new shirts look dope now and that’s all that matters for a jersey collector!
While its predecessors were fairly simple, Latvia’s 2020 kit is probably the best thing Adidas has done in this terrible year. Kept in dark maroon, the shirt features ancient Latvian symbols to the left side of the collar and a custom number design that also come with the aforementioned symbols. Referring to their nickname 11 vilki (11 wolves), a lone wolf is pictured on the neck, howling a somber tune of successful times long gone.
The jersey was worn by former Bayer 04 Leverkusen (youth) player Andrejs Cigaņiks, who is considered one of the new hopes for the future of Latvian football, in a 1-1 draw against the Faroe Islands. As a lifelong Leverkusen fan, this makes the shirt a lot more special for me.