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For Brazil, it’s take your pick when it comes to anniversaries – they’ve won so much you could make a celebration of pretty much every year. This one, though, is particularly notable: 2019 marks a hundred years since their first ever triumph in the Copa America, or South American Championship as it was known back in 1919. Quite right then that Nike should produce something special to honour the occasion, and that’s exactly what they’ve done with the combination of old and new that is the Brazil Heritage collection.
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The collection comprises three items: a classic polo, an N98 jacket, and, most significantly, the new away shirt that Brazil will wear at this year’s Copa America. Why is it significant? Well, apart from being utterly gorgeous, it’s white, a colour the Brazilians haven’t worn since 1950.

See, Brazil haven’t always donned the iconic yellow jerseys that they’ve made famous through their success over recent decades. For the first half of the 20th century, most of their home kits were white, right up until the 1950 World Cup match against Uruguay – the momentous game that would come to be known as the Maracanazo.

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Let’s set the scene a little bit. Having dominated the earlier rounds of the tournament, first-time hosts Brazil walked out at the Maracana – which had been purpose-built for the finals – expecting to beat the relative minnows of Uruguay with little fuss. As per the round-robin rules of the time, they didn’t even have to win – a draw would have been enough. But they lost. Hundreds of thousands of spectators watched on as Brazil threw away a 1-0 lead to lose 2-1.

The pain of defeat was such that the white shirt they wore in the match was abandoned completely, never to be worn again – until now. It’s not quite a full redemption, given it’ll be worn as an away jersey (the first non-blue Brazilian away shirt ever, incidentally), but nonetheless the return of white feels like a clean slate for Brazil, emotionally speaking at least.

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A good choice, too, to bring back the white in a celebratory year. The 1919 Copa America was Brazil’s first major tournament triumph and, coincidentally, it was Uruguay they beat in the final. While the new shirt isn’t anywhere near being a one-to-one replica of the 100-year-old version, it does have a collar for a hint of retro style, and the casual polo and jacket would look good in any era.

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The key difference between the garments is the badge: the on-pitch shirt features the traditional, fully coloured version with green details, while the rest of the collection uses a monochrome blue and white execution that just so happens to match very nicely with the Phantom VNM and VSN boots from Nike’s new Euphoria Pack. However they get on in this summer’s tournament, Brazil are certainly going to look the part.

The Nike Brazil Heritage collection, including Vapor Match and Stadium editions of the new Brazil 2019 Copa America away shirt, is available to buy from 15.4.19 at prodirectsoccer.com

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