Nike International Soccer: Rock the Right Kit This Summer

Nike International Soccer: Rock the Right Kit This Summer

It’s about that time again — the greatest tournament in soccer is just around the corner. The feeling is palpable, the intensity is unmatched; fans’ emotions hang on every pass, every shot, and every save. But before the madness starts and chaos ensues, you need the correct kit to display your pride.

This year, Nike designed all their kits with detailed input from professional players, followed by 3D scanning and motion capture in the Nike Sports Research Lab to properly define their women’s-specific fit. On many kits, they also added slogans on the inside of the neckline to give inspiration to the wearer.

Let’s take a closer look at each country’s newest Nike jersey and what makes the designs special to the athletes who sport them.

United States Home Kit

Inner Pride – “Climb Again”

The USA home kits have a deep, personal meaning to many of the players on this year’s national team. The Nike Swoosh and red-and-navy stripes on the arm cuff pay homage to the 1999 team, whose iconic tournament win inspired many current athletes to get into soccer in the first place. The jerseys feature three stars above the crest to signify the United States’ three tournament trophies while the 50 states print on the back represents the nation’s collective support for the team.

United States Away Kit

Inner Pride – “Hold Fast. Stay True.”

While the home kits pay tribute to the past, the away design is a nod to the future. The inspiration behind these kits is that being American is about standing out and boldly displaying your pride. The stars-and-stripes pattern spread across the all-red jersey is symbolic of the American flag. Although these kits focus on what’s next, Nike still wanted to pay tribute to the USA’s past accomplishments, so they placed three white stars representing the three championships on the royal stripe at the back of the neck.

Brazil Home Kit

Inner Pride – “Mulheres Guerreiras Do Brasil” meaning “Women Warriors of Brazil”

Pelé, Ronaldinho, Marta. When you think of these famous Brazilian footballers, you think of the iconic yellow they sported while creating some of the most memorable moments in international soccer history. Nike didn’t stray far from Brazil’s traditional look with these kits, embracing the colors the Brazilian national team has worn since 1954.

Brazil Away Kit

Inner Pride – “Mulheres Guerreiras Do Brasil” meaning “Women Warriors of Brazil”

Brazil’s royal away kits start with a bold geometric pattern at the neck that slowly fades towards the bottom of the jersey. The pattern is inspired by bright stars and the royal color represents the sky on a cool, clear night in Rio. Brazil also pays tribute to their men’s team tournament wins with five stars above the crest.

England Home Kit

Inner Pride – “The Lionesses”

Clean and Classic. That’s the best way to describe England’s home kits. The traditional white is sacred to England and Nike wanted these jerseys to display the country’s loyalty and heritage. If you look closely, you’ll find a very subtle, tonal floral print that represents the roses specific to the neighborhoods around London. These jerseys also display red-and-maroon striping on the sleeve cuffs to punctuate the crispness of the white base.

England Away Kit

Inner Pride – “The Lionesses”

Where England’s home kits embrace a minimalistic design, the away jerseys boast an aggressive maroon floral print, hand drawn to include poppy, primrose, and rose – the native flora of the country. Nike separated the pattern into four quadrants, a nod to St. George’s Cross. These kits use an off-white color for the logo that keeps the overall theme bold, but still evokes the history of a proud nation.

France Home Kit

Inner Pride – “Nos Différences Nous Unissent” meaning “Our Differences Unite Us”

For this year’s host country, Nike decided to honor tradition by staying true to France’s “Les Bleus” national team nickname. The solid navy base is accented with rose gold lettering, providing the proper pop for the iconic French Football Federation crest. The jerseys also include a subtle hint of red, white, and blue taping at the sleeve to represent the French flag. According to Nike, these kits personify the sophistication of the French and are a nod to the high-end, exclusive clothing produced by the country.

France Away Kit

Inner Pride – “Nos Différences Nous Unissent” meaning “Our Differences Unite Us”

To contrast the solid blue home jerseys, Nike’s white away kits feature a pattern of small hexagons, spread across the shirt like polka dots, that pay tribute the France’s unique border shape. The inner pride phrase, “Nos Différences Nous Unissent,” is printed with a small “o” to represent Chanel and France’s rich history of fashion.

Australia Home Kit

Inner Pride – “Never Say Die”

Described by some as the most exuberant kit in the bunch, Australia’s home jerseys use white, yellow, and green brush strokes to represent their creative, youthful team. Incorporating design elements from Melbourne’s famous Hosier Lane, Nike created a ’90s-style look that combines the colors of the Australian countryside with the graffiti art culture seen in the country’s urban areas.

Netherlands Home Kit

Inner Pride – Crown symbol to represent the country’s monarchy.

For the newly designed Dutch kits, Nike created a digital tulip, a geometric design that represents the country’s iconic flower. These kits also mark the first time the Netherlands will forgo the traditional lion crest for a lioness, representing the pride and ferocity of the women’s team.

Norway Home Kit

Inner Pride – Snowflake and Flower symbols

This year, Norway’s home kits combine the team’s trademark red and blue into a “winter sweater” print inspired by the country’s decorated ski jumpers. The design combines snowflakes and flowers to honor the beauty and variety of Norway’s weather.

China Away Kit

Inner Pride – Phoenix logo

To remind the Chinese team of the powerhouse spirt of the 1990s, these light grey kits feature an intricate phoenix pattern. The design was created to represent femininity and virtue, paying tribute to the “Steel Roses” nickname given to the team.

World Cup Watch: Spain Wins First Title

World Cup Watch: Spain Wins First Title

words_Nick Engvall

It wasn’t necessarily the match that everyone expected, but it ended in the most appropriate score. The Spaniards had emerged victorious in their previous three knockout round matches by the score of 1-0, so why would the final be any different?

While the focus of the match seemed to be on the aggressiveness of both teams, resulting in the most yellow cards ever issued in a World Cup Final Match with a total of 14, it was the persistence of Spain’s offense that prevailed. The Dutch were handed 8 yellow cards, as well as a red card that left them a man down for the last minutes of the extra time. That’s what gave Spain the slight edge they needed to grab their first title.

The day was meant for Spain and Andres Iniesta who put in the winning goal at the 116th minute. Spanish goal keeper Iker Casillas also landed himself a well deserved Golden Glove Award as the tournament’s top goal keeper, and the final match he was flawless, stopping all five of Holland’s shots on goal.

For the Spanish team it finalizes a remarkable year in which they also won the European title, a feat only accomplished by two other nations, West Germany in 1974 and France in 1998.

Diego Forlan of Uruguay was awarded the Golden Ball for top player of this year’s tournament, and Germany’s Thomas Mueller was awarded the Golden Boot award for top goal scorer with five goals. Mueller edged out Diego Forlan, Wesley Sneijder of Netherlands, and David Villa of Spain who also had five goals, by adding three assists to his performance.

Wesley Sneijder in the Nike T90 LaserWesley Sneijder in the Nike T90 Laser.

Robin Van Persie in the adidas adiPure IIIRobin Van Persie in the adidas Predator X.

Arjen Robben in the adidas F50 adiZeroArjen Robben in the adidas F50 adiZero.

Arjen Robben in the adidas F50 adiZero, tackled by Carles Puyal in the Nike TiempoArjen Robben in the adidas F50 adiZero, tackled by Carles Puyal in the Nike Tiempo.

Sergio Ramos in the T90 Laser after a missed goal opportunity.Sergio Ramos in the Nike T90 Laser after a missed goal opportunity.

Fernando Torres in the Nike CTR 360 replaces David Villa in the adidas F50 adiZero.Fernando Torres in the Nike T90 Laser replaces David Villa in the adidas F50 adiZero.

Andres Iniesta in the Nike CTR 360 shoots the match-winning goal.Andres Iniesta in the Nike CTR 360 shoots the match-winning goal.

Golden Glove winner Iker Casillas celebrates the victory.Golden Glove winner Iker Casillas celebrates the victory in the Reebok Valde II Pro.

Spain celebrates their first World Cup title.Spain celebrates their first World Cup title.

World Cup Watch: Spain Wins First Title

World Cup: Final Preview – Spain Vs. Netherlands

words_Nick Engvall

This year’s World Cup, like every World Cup, has been filled with controversy and complaints. Everything from the officiating, to the ball, has been blamed for teams losing and players own shortcomings. Yet somehow, there are still a handful of players that have been able to put up impressive goal scoring numbers in their race for the Golden Boot Award, and subsequently two teams still with a shot at the title. So it seems maybe some are just better at adapting to “adversity” than others. Beating whatever adversities are thrown at you along the way can be attributed to the mental toughness. It takes mental strength to win the ultimate prize for your country. Finding the mental strength when you are playing against the world’s best is a difficult task, but it is exactly what it will take to win Sunday’s match.

Soccer City Stadium Home of the 2010 World Cup in South AfricaAs the Oranje and La Roja Furia teams prepare for the final match of this year’s World Cup at Soccer City Stadium in South Africa, they’ll use the same best practices as they always do regardless of who their opponent is. For each team their approach to the game is quite different, yet equally effective.

The Spaniards, ranked 2nd in the world, have controlled the tempo of every match. Scouring their opponent’s defense for weak points until they ultimately find the one and only striking point needed to win. The Spanish approach is intricate and precise, and with talented players like Gerard Pique, Carles Puyol, and Andres Iniesta who play for FC Barcelona together, and Xabi Alonso and Sergio Ramos of Real Madrid, the team is the equivalent of the USA Basketball Dream Team. Then on top of that you add the country’s best player, David Villa, who is currently the top goal scorer of the tournament, and there is no question why Spain has reached their very first World Cup Final this year. The only slip-up in what has been an otherwise perfect path to the title match was the first game of the tournament against Switzerland, where Spain lost 1-0.

adidas Jo'Bulani Official World Cup Final Match Ball - Netherlands Versus SpainFor the Oranje, the 4th ranked team in the world, their team may not be about precision and control, but they play with a passion and excitement that seems to be matched only by their fans. In fact the Dutch have not lost a match so far. The Dutch will look to capitalize with furious attacks on any and every mistake. Like Spain, the Flying Dutchmen won all of their qualifiers. However unlike the Spaniards, Netherlands has not lost a match in the tournament, despite being down 1-0 against the world’s top ranked team, Brazil. The Dutch came back to win 2-1 thanks to two goals from their top goal scorer Wesley Sneijder, who combined with Arjen Robben, makeup one of the best attacking offenses in the tournament. A completely different approach than their next opponents, but proven to be effective in getting Netherlands to the final match.

No matter who wins, it will be the country’s first World Cup title, and one of the most important matches in their country’s history. Nothing will be withheld, and everything will be on the table. For Spain, patience is not only the key to victory but their greatest asset. For Netherlands, pushing that patient offense of the Spaniards into a mistake will be the key to victory. If there is any slight mental advantage for either team, Netherlands knows that Spain can be beaten, the Swiss did it. Will that be enough of a mental edge to overcome patience and precision of Spain?

As great as both these teams are, it is truly too close to call. We will have to watch Sunday at 2:30 PM EST on ABC to find out.

images via yahoo

World Cup Watch: Spain Wins First Title

World Cup Watch: Seeing Orange in South Africa

words_Nick Engvall

The final score may have been 3-2 but Uruguay really didn’t have much of a chance despite what the stat sheet says. From for minutes, the Dutch were on the offensive; Netherlands scored on a beautiful long-range goal from Giovanni Van Bronckhorst at the 18th minute, and consistently seemed to be on the attack from that point on.

Although Uruguay evened up the match just before the half thanks to a goal from Diego Forlan, Netherlands came out from the half attacking. In the 70th minute, Wesley Sneijder scored his fifth goal of this year’s World Cup, tying him with Spain’s David Villa for the most in the tournament so far. The Dutch were not even finished celebrating the goal, when three minute later Arjen Robben added a third goal, and all but assuring the team’s advancement into the final.

Uruguay didn’t give up, ever. They grabbed another goal in extra time and were attacking until the official blew the whistle signaling the Netherlands victory, and their spot in the final match for the first time since 1978.

adidas adipure IIIA Netherland player’s adidas Predator X.

Diego Forlan celebrates a goal in the adidas F50 adiZero.Diego Forlan celebrates a goal in the adidas F50 adiZero.

Dirk Kuyt in the adidas Predator XDirk Kuyt in the adidas Predator X.

Wesley Sneijder in the Nike T90 LaserWesley Sneijder in the Nike T90 Laser.

Arjen Robben and Martin Caceres both wearing the adidas F50 adiZero.Arjen Robben controls the ball in the adidas F50 adiZero.

Arjen Robben and Walter Gargano fight for the ball both wearing the adidas F50 adiZero.Arjen Robben and Walter Gargano fight for the ball both wearing the adidas F50 adiZero.

Wesley Sneijder and Giovanni Van Brockhorst celebrate, both wearing the Nike T90 Laser.Wesley Sneijder and Giovanni Van Bronckhorst celebrate, both wearing the Nike T90 Laser.

World Cup Watch: Spain Wins First Title

World Cup Watch: Into the Semi Finals They Go

words_Nick Engvall

You can doubt the Netherlands no more. With most critics as naysayers, Netherlands defeated one of the tournament’s favorites today to take the first of the four semi-final spots.

Five-time World Cup champions and expected finalists Brazil, scored a goal against themselves, and could not keep pace with the “Oranje” team.

The top ranked team in the world got on the board first with a goal from Robinho early. After that it was the heart of Netherlands team that proved to be stronger. Wesley Sneijder took a shot from quite a ways out that skipped off the head of Brazilian Felipe Melo to tie the match. In the 68th minute it was Sneijder again, this time heading a corner kick into the back of the goal to put Netherlands ahead for good.

Netherlands will face Uruguay who came away victorious in by far the most exhilarating match of the tournament so far. It came down to a shootout between Ghana and Uruguay and just as the Ghanaian team missed their very last opportunity of the extra time, their last shot in the shootout also came up disappointing.

Ghana’s Asamoah Gyan missed a penalty kick as time in the extra period expired, in what would have surely had the crowd at Soccer City Stadium going crazy, but instead the ball bounced off the crossbar. Ironically, the kick was rewarded to Ghana after a handball on the goal line by Luis Suarez. With the fifth kick in the shootout, after a stop from the Uruguayan goal keeper, Sebastian Abreu lightly tapped in a deceiving shot to give Uruguay the victory.

Saturday, Germany will face Argentina, and Spain will face Paraguay for the final two spots in the semi-finals.

Robhino of BrazilRobinho in the Nike T90 Laser.
Wesley Sneijder of NetherlandsWesley Sneijder of Netherlands in the Nike T90 Laser.

Nigel De Long of NetherlandsNigel De Long of Netherlands in the adidas adiPure III.

Arjen Robben of NetherlandsArjen Robben of Netherlands in the adidas F50 adiZero.

Dirk Kuyt and Mark Van Bommel of NetherlandsDirk Kuyt and Mark Van Bommel of Netherlands both wearing the adidas Predator X.

Diego Forlan of UruguayDiego Forlan of Uruguay in the adidas F50 adiZero.

Kevin Prince Boateng of GhanaKevin Prince Boateng of Ghana in the adidas F50 adiZero.

Sulley Muntari and Kevin Price Boateng of GhanaSulley Muntari in the Nike CTR 360 and Kevin Price Boateng  in the adidas F50 adiZero.

Asamoah Gyan of GhanaAsamoah Gyan of Ghana in the adidas F50 adiZero.