As the group stage in the 2018 FIFA World Cup comes to close, each of the 32 competing nations has given the world a glimpse at what they’re capable of, and in some cases (like Saudi Arabia) more so what they’re incapable of (fostering democracy and winning football matches). There have been moments good, bad, and ugly for almost every squad, but a few nations have had more ugly moments than all the other teams combined; every moment wearing their team shirt bearing their abhorrent national crest is a hideous one. Below are the three worst national team logos (not flags, not jerseys) that could really use a tune-up for the sake of all parties involved– arranged from least egregious to most desperate.
While the Samurai Blue have impressed thoroughly and won a lot of hearts through their performance on and off the field, including fans staying behind after a victory to pick up trash in the stands, they haven’t impressed anyone with the same ugly ass logo they’ve been using for one-or-more decades too many. The conceit for the symbol is admittedly there; a weird ass black bird stands perched using the Rising Sun of the Japanese flag as a football. If we forgive the obvious scientific issues with touching the Sun with your bird foot, that’s a pretty cool concept that could be unfurled into a real nice finished product. However, in practice it looks like one of the seagulls from Finding Nemo staring cockeyed into the distance, accompanied by an ugly ass font that looks like it was taken straight from the cover of a Japanese high school textbook in 1983. Additionally, the “JFA” on the Japanese crest stands for “Japan Football Association”, which strikes me as odd both for its poor grammar as well as it’s Latinate script; why is the Japanese governing body of football written in English? Obviously it’s their prerogative what alphabet they want to use, but from a purely design standpoint it would look pretty sweet to have some nice Japanese characters rather than the abhorrent fucking font they currently use.
Colombia is a nation that has faced profound adversity and tragedy throughout its violent and chaotic twentieth century history, so I’m going to extend them the benefit of the doubt with something as trivial as a logo on a shirt. However, with that BOTD in mind, it really is eyebrow-raising that Los Cafeteros’ shirts are still adorned with an emblem that looks like clipart from a sixth grader’s powerpoint presentation about his school football team. “Federación Colombiana de Futbol” encircle the horrid ball thing along with a disproportionate tricolor mimicking the layout of the Colombian flag: a clever and pleasing aesthetic touch. So, the only hangup with the whole thing is the God-awful football thing. Just change it. Please. (The retro neon shirts could use a tune-up as well, but we already declared that this post isn’t about shirts or colors, so we’ll just leave that alone for now. But, it really does look like both the kits as well as the emblem were conceived in the late eighties, and haven’t been touched since). Bonus points for the fact that the pentagonal design of the football’s stitching look like the weave of the goal’s net– although it’s totally unclear whether that’s intentional or not. My guess is that’s how it looked in PowerPoint, and they just rolled with it. Well done guys.
Iceland has stormed into the international football scene since breakout appearance in the 2016 Euro Championship, winning hearts and fans for their stylish play and unprecedented success on the pitch– as well as their oft imitated clapping celebration thingy that they do with fans at the conclusion of their games, which even made it into EA Sports FIFA 18 as an unlockable celebration. However, one thing about Iceland’s national team has not impressed anyone at all, that thing being their national shirt’s emblem. “Our Boys” (Strákarnir okkar in Icelandic) have a unique style of play on the pitch, and an equally unique crest– unique insofar as it’s totally unparalleled in terms of its shittiness. The crest features “KSI” in big letters (an acronym for Knattspyrnusamband Íslands, what Iceland is known as in Icelandic) below a shitty waving flag design behind a shittier football blob with disproportionate stitching. Although the whole thing is shitty and looks terrible and it’s hard to determine the shittiest elements from the least, it seems that the font of the “KSI” is one of the worst touches. The thing looks like a Microsoft rec-league team that was put together by a couple employees for weekend league in the early nineties, and hasn’t been updated since. This would be acceptable if it were in fact an amateur made weekend league squad, and not a fucking national football team with a governing body and relatively enormous budget. The waving flag is also ugly and oversimplified, and lacks any stylization whatsoever. The football is shockingly poorly done, and doesn’t even make sense from a spatial perspective (the tiles are not equal in size and would be impossible to form a sphere). Come on guys, such a stylish team with such immense personality deserve a crest to match.
Each of the aforementioned teams has impressed as different points throughout history, and as well in this year’s World Cup. They deserve more than the perplexingly horrid crest’s currently adorning their shirts, and here’s to hoping that some fantastic designer somewhere takes it upon himself to do some pro bono work to help relieve the suffering citizens of each of these nations– it would be a truly humanitarian effort.
Honorable Mention: USA
Their crest is shitty in nearly identical ways to Iceland’s despicable emblem, but as they didn’t qualify for the World Cup, nor did they qualify for this list. Seriously, the fucking thing looks like it was rendered on Kidpix in 2002. And knowing US Soccer, maybe it was.