Frankfurt, Germany • Argentina's World Cup victory over the Netherlands Wednesday puts the South American team one step away from soccer's ultimate prize. For its uniform supplier, the championship has already been won, whatever the outcome of Sunday's final in Rio de Janeiro.
Argentina, sponsored by Adidas, triumphed on penalty kicks in Sao Paulo to eliminate a Dutch side outfitted by Nike of the United States. In the final, it will face fellow Adidas-backed team Germany, which defeated Nike-supported Brazil 7-1 on July 8. The Herzogenaurach, Germany-based company also outfitted the Spanish team that won the last World Cup in 2010.
The prestige of outfitting the victor counts in a closely contested market that has the two adversaries seeking any edge. Nike, the world's largest sporting-goods supplier, and Germany's Adidas, which is No. 2, are benefiting from billions of dollars' worth of soccer shoes, jerseys and other gear sold this year, partly due to the lift supplied by the World Cup.