The blue shirts worn by Italy can be considered one of the most iconic in international football, Italy, known as the Azzurri, have won four World Cups and a European Championship adorned in blue and have rarely strayed from their traditional strip throughout their history.
Most National football teams are instantly recognisable by the colour of their shirts. For example, the Brazilian National team plays in the famous Yellow jersey and blue shorts, echoing the colour scheme of the countries flag. Spanish players pull on a red shirt with yellow trim, again these colours are taken from their flag. However, Italy’s football team wear blue jerseys; a colour which doesn’t feature on the Italian flag! So why do Italy play in blue? Well, let me explain in more detail.
WHY SO BLUE?
Italy’s first international game was against France (1910), the Italian players took to the field wearing a white jersey. For their second International fixture, they once again wore white. However, for their third match, the Italians sported their now familiar blue shirts. But why the switch?
Blue might not seem like a natural colour choice for the Italian team. However, blue is the colour used by the House of Savoy. When Conte Verde, Amedeo VI of Savoy displayed a large blue flag in tribute to the Madonna on his flagship next to the banner of Savoys while on crusade organized by Pope Urbano V. He used that opportunity to proclaim “Azzurro” as the national colour.
From reasonably humble beginnings, the House of Savoy grew to become the rulers of Sicily and later, through the Savoy-Carignano branch of the family, absolute rulers of Italy until the declaration of the Italian Republic in 1946. The family also briefly ruled the Kingdom of Spain in the 19th century!
As a tribute to the Royal House of Italy, the National football team wore blue shirts for the first time in January 1911. The blue has been a constant feature ever since; and even though this colour is not represented on their flag, the blue Italian shirt is one of the most instantly recognisable in world football. The team is nicknamed the ‘Azzurri.’ which roughly translates into ‘The Blues.’
OFFICIAL ITALIAN SHADES OF BLUE
Savoy Blue is a gorgeously deep blue. It has the hex code #0A36AF. The equivalent RGB values are (10, 54, 175), which means it is composed of 4% red, 23% green and 73% blue. The CMYK color codes, used in printers, are C:94 M:69 Y:0 K:31. In the HSV/HSB scale, Savoy Blue has a hue of 224°, 94% saturation and a brightness value of 69%.
OTHER TEAM COLOURS
The Italians are not the only side with a strange colour combo, Germany is another notable exception to the flag/kit colour rule. The Germans wear a black and white kit, which represents the German provincial state of Prussia.
The New Zealand football team follows their more successful rugby side in wearing an all-black outfit. The Northern Ireland team sports a green jersey which is a colour not featured on their flag either.