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Matchworn by Raimondas Žutautas (Games unknown)

Manufacturer: Lotto

Source: Collector

THE COUNTRY

Unlike the rest of Europe, football isn’t really big in the Baltics. While the Latvians are mostly into ice hockey and basketball and the Estonians thrive in winter sports and their weird national swinging sport called “kiiking”, the Lithuanians are absolutely crazy for basketball.

Unforgotten, their performance during the 2000 Summer Olympic in Sydney, where Lithuania lost against the unbeatable Americans by just two points. In total, they won three consecutive bronze medals at the Olympics and won the EuroBasket three times.

Lithuania’s football record, however, isn’t quite as impressive: zero participations at the EURO and zero participations at a World Cup. Like their Latvian neighbors, Lithuania’s football league has sunken into corruption, completely destroying what once was a loyal fanbase. While they once climbed to a respectable 37th place at the FIFA ranking, the aftermath of the corruption scandal let them plunge down a whopping 111 ranks within nine years. During the EURO 202(1) Qualification, they even finished dead last, only earning a single point against Luxembourg.

The state of Lithuania’s league football is also rather depressing, as I was able to experience at first hand: during the “Clash of Lithuania” (I made that up…) between Žalgiris Vilnius and their rivals from Kaunas – a game that would sell out in minutes, if it were a basketball game – was only attended by a mere 200 “fans”. A beer and some fried bread (the national snack – awesome) in the national stadium even cost me more than a ticket to what I thought was a fierce derby.


THE SHIRT

I’m a huge fan of this Lotto template. While it looks even better in maroon, like the Georgian team used to wear, it is still a quality shirt, featuring Lithuania’s national colors and some nice fading stripes at the bottom.

The shirt was worn by Raimondas Žutautas who, famously, is the only Lithuanian player to score two goals in the UEFA Champions League (while playing for Maccabi Haifa). He also managed Lithuania’s national team from 2010 to 2011 at the age of 37, making him the youngest Lithuanian national coach to date.


Apparently, Raimondas Žutautas likes to make weird faces...

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