Matchworn by Hennadiy Zubov 29.10.1997 HRV 🇭🇷 : UKR 🇺🇦 2-0
Did you know that Ukraine invented masochism? Well, kind of:
Leopold von Sacher-Masoch, after whom the term was coined, was born in Lviv, then part of the Austrian Empire.
The most masochistic the Ukrainian national team has ever been, was probably their recent 7-1 defeat against world champion France. If this caused any pleasure among the players is not documented, head coach and Ukrainian football legend Andriy Shevchenko, however, didn’t look too aroused when the game was finished…
Apart from this shattering defeat, the Ukrainian team is actually the most successful former Soviet country after their Russian neighbors. Despite only qualifying for a single World Cup in 2006, where the team reached the quarter finals, they have now clinched their third consecutive EURO participation.
The qualification campaign for the 1998 World Cup in France marked the first ever attempt to reach the World Cup finals for country after their recent breakaway from the Soviet Union in 1992. With a young Andriy Shevchenko in their ranks, the Ukrainian side finished their group behind Germany and advanced to the playoffs, where they lost 3-1 to later semifinalist Croatia.
Even if the team didn’t manage to make it to the big tournament, they certainly looked fantastic! I’ve always been a sucker for blue and yellow shirts, and I’ve got to say that the Ukrainian shirt designers (almost) always tailored some spectacular shirts out of this complementary contrast.
Puma’s 1996 effort blends all the ingredients of a great 90s shirts into one single template, with the overarching hexagons giving it an iconic look. And if bees told us anything (apart from how the whole “flowers-and-bees-thing” works), it’s that hexagons are just the perfect shape.
There are actually different versions of this model and its yellow counterpart. This particular long-sleeved jersey was worn by midfielder Hennadiy Zubov when the team faced Croatia during the 1998 qualification campaign.