LATVIA

Goalkeeper 2020/21 (Centenary Shirt)

Matchworn by Roberts Ozols 07.06.2021 GER 🇩🇪 : LAT 🇱🇻 7-1

Manufacturer: Adidas

Source: Collector

You must be somewhat of a masochist to choose being beaten up for your birthday. Yet, that’s exactly how Latvia’s football federation had decided to spend their 100th anniversary.

Although the last clash of both countries during the 2004 EURO ended in an unspectacular clash, the performance level of both countries has shifted quite significantly in the following years. While Germany clearly hit rock bottom in the early 2000’s and Latvia was on the top of their game, the premises were different in 2021: Germany won a World Cup and Latvian football was almost destroyed due to corruption, causing the team to plummet almost 100 ranks in the FIFA table.

Ultimately, what was a great opportunity for one team to celebrate their centenary against one of the biggest national teams in football, was merely a tepid practice match for the other.

Germany was basically able to score at will, while Latvia was struggling to get the ball beyond the halfway line. The result was a befitting 7-1 for Germany.


THE SHIRT

To commemorate their 100th anniversary, the LFF didn’t not release a brand-new shirt for the national team, but rather embellish the already beautiful home design with some match details as well as an “LFF 100 gadi” print below the badge.

When you conceive seven goals in a single match as a goalkeeper, you certainly start contemplating your life choices, thus it’s difficult to find a picture of Latvian keeper Roberts Ozols looking particularly happy during the match. Lucky for me, he apparently wasn’t too keen on keeping his shirt, so that he eventually gave it to Manuel Neuer, who then gave it to a DFB employee.

This shirt is absolutely rare, as there are only two or four of the centenary goalkeeper shirts in existence. Since mine was also worn and Ozols spent a good amount of the game lying on the field after being beaten by a German player, the shirt has some nice stains as well as an imprint of the ball.

I also managed to get my hands on a shirt from left-back Raivis Jurkovskis, which can be examined here.


A common sight during the game against Germany: Latvian Keeper Ozols beaten by a German striker.

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