Three-time football world champion Pele, Czech supermodel Tereza Maxova, and a twelve-year-old Czech boy named Vojtech: at a glitzy event in London over the weekend these three presented the Czech national squad's new football jersey. If clothes make the man, will the new ultra-light jersey, manufactured by Puma, "make" the Czech team in this year's World Cup? Organisers certainly hope so.
In Germany the Czech Republic's football team will be one of 22 to don Puma's revolutionary new jersey - introduced with a fanfare and for invited guests only - in London at the weekend. Weighing just 109 grams, the new jersey is nothing if not an exercise in style and efficiency. According to reports, it boasts no traditional seams but rather super modern 'microwelds' - for added strength. At the World Cup, the Czech team hopes to play well. Now, they can do so with added panache.
To be sure, no shirt can make anyone a better footballer, but tested in an aerodynamic tunnel in Dresden, this one promises to be sleeker and drier. It remains to be seen whether it will improve performance, but where - after all - would football be without fashion?
The Czech version of the new jersey will come in either of two national colours: team red or 'snow white', with the state emblem featured on the left breast. Another addition - completely new and an added "selling point" for Czech fans - will be the imprint of the Czech lion over much of the shirt, shimmering under the lights. Czech fans will probably be pleased to see their heroes look good on the pitch, but in the end, of course, it's how they perform that will really matter.
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