July 12, 2018 / 3:44 PM / 5 months ago

Nike celebrates two World Cup finalists

Soccer Football - World Cup - Croatia Training - Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow, Russia - July 10, 2018 Croatia coach Zlatko Dalic and players during training REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov

MOSCOW (Reuters) - The World Cup final on Sunday will not only be an all-European affair but an all-Nike match. For the first time in its history, the American sportswear manufacturer will be providing the kit for the two finalists, France and Croatia.

The result is a significant victory for Nike, as rival Adidas is a long-standing and prominent partner of FIFA and the World Cup.

“We’ve had three of the four teams make the semi-finals and then two of our teams made the finals, which is a first time for Nike,” Elliot Hill, Nike president of consumer and marketplace, told Reuters.

“We’ve been in the game of football for over 20 years, and it’s the first time that we’ve had an all-Nike final with both teams wearing Nike.”

Adidas sponsored 12 of the 32 teams at the World Cup finalists compared to Nike’s 10 but saw one of its most prominent clients Germany knocked out in the group stage while eight of its teams fell in the round of 16.

“In addition to the kits, we’ve had great success with our players,” said Hill.

“We have over 65 percent of the athletes wearing Nike football boots. That’s more than all the other brands combined. So it’s been a really successful World Cup for us, on and off the pitch.”

Of the other manufacturers, Puma supplied kits for four teams, New Balance for two and Errea, Hummel, Uhlsport and Umbro one apiece — the latter being the distinctive Peru shirt with the red diagonal stripe.

Reporting by Catherine Koppel; Editing by Christian Radnedge

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