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Gingering Up: Belgium’s Euro 2024 Away Kit Leverages Vintage Tintin Aesthetic

The Euro 2024 soccer tournament is this summer, and teams are literally gearing up to show their patriotism. Belgium’s away kit is a whimsical nod to cartoon legend Tintin.

By Katie Compa · March 27, 2024

Public Domain/Rawpixel

Adidas and Nike have released the kits they’re making for teams in the Euro 2024 soccer tournament this summer. Regular international fans will probably recognize the light-blue-and-white stripes for Argentina, royal blue for les bleus of France, and yellow for Sweden - though the recognition may end there; most Americans can’t reliably find Denmark on a map, let alone identify its flag.

However, while Belgium’s kit for home games is a simple dark red, the away kit isn’t based on the country’s flag (save yourself the web search - it’s a German flag turned on its side) but rather on another iconic Belgian symbol: Comic strip character Tintin, created by the Belgian cartoonist known as Hergé.

Tintin’s canonical outfit is a light-blue sweater and brown… pants? Shorts? Bloomers? We aren’t quite sure what to call them, but they’re certainly a look. 

It’s possible the kit is a light prank/personal vendetta against Belgium’s mainstay midfielder, Kevin de Bruyne, who has been compared to Tintin pretty much since he had his own brown diapers.

Tintin got his start as an investigative journalist in 1929, in a comic strip by Hergé that appeared weekly in a Catholic, pro-fascist newsletter. Per the editor’s direction to indoctrinate young Belgians with anti-socialist messages, Tintin’s first adventure was to the USSR, and his second was to the Congo to promote Belgian colonialism - wait, why are they bringing this up??? The Smurfs (les Schtroumpfs) are also Belgian, and we are pretty sure they have no fascist/communist overtones, although they were of course problematic in their own way.

If you get what we're saying.  Bruno Girin/Flickr

After Belgium came under Nazi rule during WWII, Tintin had to quit being a reporter and rebrand as an “explorer” - making him one of history’s earliest useless lifestyle influencers. Since then, he’s lent his image to all kinds of Belgian businesses, even airline livery for Brussels airlines. 

What a sellout!  Markus Eigenheer/Wikimedia Commons

Though Tintin is well known in many French-speaking countries, other audiences might have only heard of the character and his dog, Snowy (Milou in French,) after the animated - and, hopefully, heavily revised - 2011 feature film, directed by Steven Spielberg and starring Jamie Bell (even though it’s an animated film, we have to assume that dead ringer Simon Pegg had aged out and had to settle for a lesser role.)

And Americans should, of course, go easy on the Belgians, having had our own uniform embarrassments quite regularly, including the Ralph Lauren debacle of every Olympics since 2008. It’s not their fault that Tintin is the most famous redhead outside of the United States, with our sincere apologies to Ed Sheeran, Jessica Chastain, and Pete & Pete. 

Hey, it’s better than a kit made of Belgian frites! (… OR IS IT?)