By Tim Newcomb
February 13, 2014

Germany will sport buttons, three of them, at Brazil’s 2014 World Cup in the nation's second jersey that adidas revealed on Thursday. The U.S. men's national team's group rival's kit also comes in black with red stripes, a nod to Flamego Rio de Janeiro in a bid “to bring us luck for the World Cup in Brazil,” says German player Mesut Ozil.

Germany was one of four World Cup “away” kits revealed by adidas, with the launch of Mexico's new jersey set for Friday. Germany, Spain, Argentina and Russia all received bold new looks for the June tournament. And buttons weren’t the only head-turning moves.

The away German kit adds black shorts and socks to the top that has red horizontal stripes. Jürgen Rank, chief international soccer designer for adidas, says they wanted to showcase the country’s youthful lifestyle of fashion in the design.

But if you thought three buttons was wild, wait till you see the neon green —the official color is “electricity”— on black look for the depending champions from Spain. With a home look that features gold on red, the black and neon combination certainly departs from tradition. The shorts and socks complete the ensemble.

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The hallmark blue of Argentina is still there, if you don’t mind it minced together with plenty of black. The differing tones of blue used in the away kit prove the same as in the alternative jersey of the national team in previous World Cups. The black uniform pairs with blue shorts and socks.

For Russia, the only club without a black-based reveal, adidas took to satellite photos for their inspiration. Yes, photos of earth taken from the Russian space satellite Electro-L were outlined and then modified to look like a light blue semicircle across the top and shoulders of the uniform.

According to adidas designers, this image shows the same perspective from which Yuri Gagarin, the first man in space, saw Earth in 1961. But you’ll need a designer to explain it, because you can’t tell simply by looking at the white and blue kit. Of course, white — the shorts are also white — was chosen due to its association as the traditional color of space suits.

Using the space motif as part of the design falls in line with Russia’s home kit, which includes a written tribune, “Conquerors of Space.”

And you thought buttons were a stretch.

Tim Newcomb covers stadiums, design and technology for Sports Illustrated. Follow him on Twitter at @tdnewcomb.

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