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World Cup Soccer Style

The World Cup enthralls more people around the globe than any other event, sports or otherwise. Every four years, in pubs and corporate boardrooms, thatched huts and flophouses, fans of “the Beautiful Game” gather around televisions and transistor radios—and now, for the deep of pocket, iPhones and 3-D flat screens—to cheer for their heroes. They watch and listen by the billions, holding their breath at every corner kick, falling to their knees or leaping for joy at every goal scored. That this year’s tournament is in South Africa, where apartheid was the law of the land until 1994, only adds to the heightened sense of celebration—this is about a whole lot more than just soccer. It’s about humanity uniting for 30 days and millions of eyeballs focused on one collective … wait for it … goal. It’s almost tear jerking …

So what should you know about World Cup Soccer Style? Here’s the breakdown:

1. Bare Essentials:

Our World Soccer Stars have bared it all (bar their national flags) for Vanity Fair’s Annie Leibowitz. For the June issue of Vanity Fair, Annie Leibovitz set out to capture some of the sport’s biggest stars, including Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo, Ivory Coast’s Didier Drogba, Cameroon’s Samuel Eto’o, Ghana’s Sulley Muntari, the U.S.A.’s Landon Donovan, Brazil’s Kaká and Pato, Italy’s Gianluigi Buffon, Serbia’s Dejan Stankovic, England’s Carlton Cole, and Germany’s Michael Ballack. Leibovitz’s portraits are, well, revealing. And underwear has never looked so patriotic.

2. Ballers in a Bottle:

Nike has unveiled its 2010 World Cup kits—or uniforms, for those unfamiliar with soccer jargon. The best part: They’re made from discarded plastic bottles harvested from landfills in Japan and Taiwan, that were melted down into yarn and then spun into fabric.

This will be the first time that all of Nike’s national teams, including Brazil, Portugal, and the Netherlands, will be wearing jerseys made from recycled polyester, which the sports-apparel giant is hailing as the most environmentally friendly and technologically advanced kits in football history.

With the recycled jerseys, Nike has diverted nearly 13 million plastic bottles from the landfill. Each shirt comprises up to eight recycled plastic bottles, a move that reduces energy consumption by up to 30 percent compared with manufacturing virgin polyester. Besides saving raw materials, Nike also diverted nearly 13 million plastic bottles (or nearly 560,000 pounds of polyester waste) from the landfill—enough to cover more than 29 football pitches.

If the recycled bottles used to produce the jerseys were laid end to end, according to Nike, they would span more than 3,000 kilometers (roughly 1,860 miles), a distance that exceeds the entire South African coastline. How do you say “amazing” in all the players’ languages?

3. Bling:

What is any major sports tournament without some equally as glorious commemorative jewelry? For arguably the biggest sporting event in the world, the FIFA World Cup official ring has been created for die hard (and wealthy) fans so that they can share their love of the game. Believe me when I say these aren’t just some cheap game day gimmick. No sir, far from that.

The FIFA World Cup official ring ranges in price from $2,500 to $250,000. The ones at the upper end of that scale will be made from platinum and, I’m sure, will be jam-packed with stones. Two gold rings will be donated with one going to the FIFA organization for the MVP, and the other going to UNICEF.

4. Brand Games:

FIFA is venturing into the fashion world, with their own brand, fashion line and flagship stores. As the BIG game looms, five different fashion lines are being manufactured furiously, with an eye to bringing in more cash at South Africa 2010.

Official FIFA stores have sprung up in Singapore and Paris, with a number of other branches to open up in the future. The lines will also leak into fashion-type stores in the near future as well – so fret not if you’re desperate for Sepp’s mug on a polo yet can’t jet to Singapore or Paris any time soon. As of now we’ve only spotted four images of an unnamed line, but they look precisely what you’d expect: sporty.

However for all your world cup merchandise the best stop shop is for your team jerseys, shorts, scarves, socks, caps, hats, balls, posters and even and retro gear a la Brazil 1958 and Cuba 1962. It’s every mad, crazy fans nirvana!

So gents, kit up in your World Cup team colours, start practicing your roar, and get styled up in time for South Africa 2010!


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