06 July, 2018
The 2018 FIFA World Cup continues to produce excitement and some major upsets for soccer fans worldwide.
No matter which team you favor, there are likely to be ups and downs throughout the competition. But the biggest World Cup winners seem to always be the sellers of football jerseys.
Two of the world's biggest jersey manufacturers are American-based Nike and Germany's Adidas.
Adidas chief Kasper Rorsted predicted last month his company would sell more team shirts this year than during the 2014 World Cup. If he is correct, this means Adidas would beat its record of eight million jerseys sold in 2014.
Sales of jerseys and other soccer-related items are also rising for Nike. The Oregon-based sports clothing company is hoping to increase the $2 billion it sold in soccer-related items last year, Reuters news agency reports.
Nike got off to a good start when its jersey design for Nigeria's team sold out just a few minutes after going on sale June 1. That was after Nike had already sold three million of the shirts in pre-sales. The jerseys cost about $90.
Many fans and clothing critics have praised the Nigerian jersey design for using bright colors and designs in an unusual way. The shirt has a green wing pattern on the front, with a similar black design extending out onto the arms. Some fans commented that the jersey seemed to re-imagine the Nigerian team's design from 1994, the first time the country entered the World Cup.
In addition to Nigeria, Nike also supplied the designs for nine other World Cup teams. These include Brazil, France, England and Croatia. Adidas provided jerseys for 12 of the 32 teams, including Germany, Japan, Belgium, Sweden, Spain and Russia.
Simon Doonan is a super soccer fan and the writer of the book "Soccer Style: The Magic and Madness." He says his choices for jerseys that really stood out this year include Croatia, Colombia and Belgium.
He said when it comes to the fans, it used to be acceptable for people to wear a team shirt to show support even if it was not "particularly attractive."
But Doonan says this has changed. "Now guys wear their shirt, but they want it to look cool... and go out to some bar or night spot and feel like Mr. Fabulous."
Doonan praised Colombia's jersey for having a rock and roll-style design with "David Bowie lightning bolts" coming out from the arms. "Nothing intimidates an opponent quite like saying, ‘I have magical powers in my armpits,'" he said.
He describes Brazil's jersey as "a real classic." The front of the shirt includes the team sign, along with five stars: one for each time the country has won the World Cup. Doonan said Brazil's jersey does not change much from year-to-year, despite the country's historic World Cup success.
While the World Cup can be intensely competitive, Doonan believes it also can unite people the same way a jersey can. He said huge numbers of people come together to watch the World Cup, but with very strong feelings on all sides. "So these things are going on at the same time. It's a sweet thing, because that's just life."
I'm Bryan Lynn.
Bryan Lynn wrote this story for VOA Learning English, based on reports from VOA News, the Associated Press and Reuters. Hai Do was the editor.
What are your favorite jersey designs for World Cup 2018? Write to us in the Comments section, and visit 51VOA.COM.
Words in This Story
upset – n. when a person or team beats an opponent in a contest they were not favored to win
jersey – n. a piece of clothing with long sleeves that is worn over the upper body
attractive – adj. beautiful or pleasant to look at
bolt – n. a flash or bright light seen in the sky
intimidate – v. to frighten or threaten someone, usually in an effort to persuade the person to do something
armpit – n. hollow place under the arm where it joins the body
classic – adj. traditional in style or design