We all know how heated the competition can get at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, but with a sartorially sophisticated world watching, the battlefield hardly stops at the sidelines. What a team wears – on and off the field – has evolved into its own kind of style war. With each team striving to don their finest, and endorsements from the likes of Nike, Puma, Dolce & Gabanna and Marks & Spencer continuing to trickle in for their favorite teams, we admit that there’s some truth in the idea that “the better you look, the better you play.”

Not to be one to shy away from a little friendly competition, we decided to single out our own top 5 winners – that is, on the fashion front. Our selections were based on how well each of the designs tied together the elements of color, material and functionality in order to accurately and memorably represent their nation of origin.

#5 England

Home Game Team Kit. Photo credit: Nike

Away Game Team Kit. Photo credit: Nike

The men in Marks & Spencer. Photo credit: Huffington Post

Always going for the classic yet understated look, England’s players donned simple white jerseys and shorts for practice. In the meanwhile, at an attempt to relate better to their fans (some extra points there!), the team accepted high-street clothier Marks & Spencer’s offer to suit the team. Stylish, slim-fitting and affordable, the grey three-piece wool-mohair suits, featuring an England crest on the pocket and a World Cup winners’ star inside, are available for a limited time for £199. Looking sharp with slick Gibson shoes in black, and a spread in GQ magazine, the English footed a tough game on the style front this year.

#4 Korea Republic

Home Game Kit. Photo credit: Football Fashion

Away Game Team Kit. Photo credit: Footy Headlines

If there’s any nation that’s been spot-on sending out the message of who they are by what they wear, it’s South Korea. Everything, from the use of its patriotic colors to the detail of its traditional collar, seems to encompass the very heart of South Korea and its culture. Not only that, each design element renders itself to swift, clean, athletic acumen, in every sense of the phrase.

#3 Brasil

Home Game Team Kit. Photo credit: Nike

Photo credit: Nike

Brasil apparently hit it on the money with a modified Henley in traditional yellow this year. The green and yellow combination is undoubtedly Brasilian, as well as its pride in stitching five stars above the crest to represent its record five titles (Can you say powerhouse?). It’s a classic look with a rock ‘n’ roll edge. Clean, crisp and functional, this is not a jersey that one is inclined to forget anytime soon.

#2 Italy

Home Game Kit. Photo credit: Puma

Italian men looking sharp! Photo credit: Esquire

Dolce & Gabanna’s artistic renderings. Photo credit: Swide

The traditional blue of Italy’s home jersey, with a crest over the heart in the nation’s tricolor, pays homage to its home country, while the abdominal piping provides a sense of functionality. Simple and elegant, the competitive country’s style war didn’t stop there. With Dolce & Gabanna outfitting the Italians (accessories and all) since ’06, price was far from a factor in Italy’s suit scrimmage against England. The old-time fashion house designed custom-tailor three-piece Martini suits, made of lightweight navy blue wool. The perfectly white shirt boasted buttons made of genuine mother of pearl and on the slim tricolor tie, a vertically placed Italian flag. The look is finished with lace-up calfskin shoes in black and a matching belt. Once again, the fashion of Italy matches up to its sports teams in the fight for national excellence and pride.

#1 France

Home Game Team Kit. Photo credit: Nike

Away Game Team Kit. Photo credit: Nike

It’s no surprise that France keeps coming out on top in the world of fashion, even when it comes down to the sports arena. Their jerseys are simple and classic, yet sporty and sophisticated. The classic navy top features a new 1958 crest, reflecting the players’ feedback of wanting to “feel the history of our country.” The shirt is accented with an elegant white collar over a dark blue base, earning them the nickname “Les Bleus.” The “Marinière” design, an iconic French motif, is displayed on their away jerseys with soft tonal grey mariner stripes. Ingenious.

Bonus United States of America

Photo credit: Ezra Shaw

Photo credit: Nike

United States gets our controversial vote of one of the best, and worst, jerseys for the 2014 World Cup. Their home jersey looks like 99% of the polos that are owned out there in the world (the red polos they first arrived in could have been a better fit). On the other hand, their away jersey, with its clean red, white and blue block-style, is seen as cool, modern and incredibly patriotic. Though it's also been likened to a variety of questionable entities, such as Capitan America, popsicle sticks, and even mistaken as Domino’s Pizza delivery boys. Maybe if they had decided to lose the black Nike baseball cap for the Nike shoot?

Regardless, we hope you had as much fun as we did examining some of the more interesting styles that were “sported” by our favorite soccer teams. To check out the rest of the team kits and decide amongst yourselves, venture no further than right here!

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