The Switch

The best kit from each European Championship

Tom Gott
England brought one of the all-time greats
England brought one of the all-time greats / Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

The actual football is obviously the best part of every European Championship, but let's not pretend like kit releases aren't a close second.

Since the dawn of the Euros in 1960, the idea of a kit has changed drastically. What was once simply a means of telling two teams apart is now a gateway to cultural expression, and with football and fashion now linking up, we've seen some absolute beauties over the years.

Here's a rundown of the best kits on show at each European Championship.

1. 1960 - Soviet Union

A simpler time, kits in 1960 were pretty basic. Just slap your name on and you're good to go.

With most fans of the other finalists complaining that they couldn't figure out which team was which on black and white TV most of the time, shout out to the Soviet Union for standing out.

2. 1964 - Hungary

Now we're starting to stand out. Fellow finalists Spain, Denmark and the Soviet Union were all about plain shirts, but not Hungary. Hungary woke up feeling funky.

It's unique and classy, and it's gorgeous.

3. 1968 - Italy

With just four teams at the finals sporting pretty much the exact same shirt, we're not really spoilt for choice in 1968.

We're going to give the nod to Italy. They haven't won since wearing this shirt, so maybe it's lucky.

4. 1972 - Belgium

Teams were starting to get a little braver by this point. Instead of block colours, it was the smaller details which set the kits apart.

West Germany's famous white shirt deserves credit, but the Belgian flag accents on this one are something else.

5. 1976 - Netherlands

The Netherlands marked their first appearance at the Euros with a real beauty.

The tournament was stretched out to eight teams from 1980 onwards, so we've got more to enjoy coming up.

6. 1980 - England

That Netherlands beauty was still kicking about in 1980, but it's got to be England, doesn't it?

*Perms and moustaches not included.

7. 1984 - France

After so many years of largely underwhelming kits, 1984 went hard.

Belgium had beauties for both home and away, Yugoslavia weren't messing about, West Germany brought another gem.

But it's France. It has to be France.

8. 1988 - Netherlands

One of the easiest selections on this list. The Netherlands brought this worldie to Euro 1988, creating one of the all-time greatest kits in the process.

Marco van Basten, Ruud Gillit, Ronald Koeman & Friends romped to their first Euros title in this kit. Coincidence? I think not.

9. 1992 - Sweden

Tomas Brolin
Tomas Brolin / Simon Bruty/Getty Images

Littered with so many underappreciated kits, Euro 1992 doesn't get nearly as much credit as it deserved. England, the Netherlands, Scotland and Germany all brought bangers.

However, the nod is going to Sweden. This was their first Euros, having qualified as hosts, and they made a statement with the most aggressively adidas kit you've ever seen.

It was based on the Liverpool strip from the previous season, but the yellow/blue combo hit so much harder than Liverpool's red/white.

10. 1996 - England

Paul Gascoigne
England's 1996 shirt is the stuff of legend / Getty Images/Getty Images

1996 is a tough one. On the podium are Germany and Croatia, both of whom brought some gorgeous garms to England for the tournament.

It's the Three Lions who win out here, though. Their design was just so simple and has been immortalised by one of the wildest summer's in the history of English football.

11. 2000 - Italy

Italy changed the game in 2000. Gone were the big, baggy shirts of yesteryear, and in came the figure-hugging jerseys which saw football and fashion overlap for the first time.

Truthfully, there's not much to this Italy shirt, but that's part of the charm. It's just so simple, with no unnecessary frills. You want a football shirt? You got it.

12. 2004 - Denmark

Thomas Helveg
Denmark went old-school / Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Another toughie in 2004. Sweden brought some fire, Italy's white away shirt was an elegant gem, Croatia did bits and Portugal were in with a shout, but there's something about this Denmark kit that just hits different.

This hummel gem just looks so right and is now synonymous with Denmark, with the chevrons down the sleeves forcing the extra logos to sit above the armpits, but that's part of the appeal. They went old-school, and it worked.

13. 2008 - Germany

Germany v Poland - Group B Euro 2008
Germany went big in 2008 / Ryan Pierse/Getty Images

2008 was the year of 'stick a flag across the chest'. Regardless of which brand made the shirt, a lot of them looked suspiciously similar.

Among the best of this bunch were Russia and Germany, but we're giving this one to Miroslav Klose & co. It's the subtle red and yellow accents on the flag which set this apart from the rest, and choosing to stick the number in the black block was a smart call.

14. 2012 - Netherlands

Arjen Robben
The Netherlands sprung a little surprise / VI-Images/Getty Images

2012 saw pretty much everybody apart from Ireland bring some real heat, so there's about ten kits that could win out. Croatia, Sweden, England, France, Greece and Germany can all feel hard done by.

What sets this Netherlands away shirt apart from the rest is the fact that it came as a little surprise. Few expected the near-full black look, but it just clicked perfectly with the orange accent on the shoulder.

15. 2016 - Belgium

Croatia's funky off-centre chequered vibe deserves more credit than it's going to get here, and we've got to give Sweden a shout-out, but Belgium came out firing with both their home and away kits.

We can't even tell which one is better. Is it the home kit with the gorgeous red/black blend, or the baby blue away kit with the Belgium flag doing work across the chest?

We're not picking. They both win. Yay Belgium.

16. 2020 - Belgium

adidas and Belgium are not messing around these days.

Germany and France both come close, but how are you supposed to look past this beauty? The brush-stroke design is everything.