Nike’s first ever England shirt has been accused of looking so much like that of their main rivals that German newspapers have declared: “The English have copied our kit”.
The new kit, which will be worn for the first time during England’s game with Ireland next Wednesday, is the first to be made by American company Nike, who won the right to produce the shirt last year, ending the national side’s 60-year association with Umbro.
The plain white shirt with dark ring around the neck has prompted many people to remark that it looks exactly like the top that West Germany used to wear in 1966, when England beat their old enemy in the World Cup final.
Following the announcement on Twitter, the hashtag #German began trending as fans expressed their anger about the design.
Former England striker Gary Lineker made light of the similarities, saying: “Smart move by @FA and @nikefootball to go slightly German with the strip. If you can’t beat ’em…….”
And German newspaper Bild agreed with Lineker and hundreds of other England fans, mocking the English for a “desperate attempt” to bring a trophy back to these shores.
“Who doesn’t see the same shirt as Beckenbauer & Co.?” asked the newspaper.
It isn’t just the Germans who Nike have been accused of copying though.
Former Nottingham Forest and Liverpool forward Stan Collymore thinks England have a legitimate claim to the design, finding inspiration in an old England Schoolboys kit.
There have also been parallels drawn with a team that – although they didn’t win the tournament – could be described as the most successful nation in the 2010 World Cup.
New Zealand were the only team to go home undefeated after drawing all three of their group stage games while wearing a Nike kit remarkably similar to England’s new shirt.