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Adidas ups 2012 soccer goal as German jerseys fly

Adidas raised its forecast for sales of soccer products in 2012 to a new record of more than 1.6 billion euros ($2 billion) as fans rushed to snap up jerseys from Germany, hotly-tipped in the Euro 2012 tournament, and replica match balls.

The world's second largest sportswear firm, which also provides the kit for other tournament favorites Spain, had previously forecast sales in the category of above the 1.5 billion euros it achieved in 2010, when soccer's World Cup championship took place.

Once the clear dominant force in soccer, Adidas is facing increasing competition from Nike, the world's largest sporting goods company.

It said, however, that the Euro 2012 tournament, being held in Poland and Ukraine, had allowed it to snatch market leadership in Poland from Nike this year.

"Adidas can already be sure of defending its title as the most successful football brand in Europe and the world," Chief Executive Herbert Hainer told journalists in Warsaw on Thursday.

Among the Adidas soccer bestsellers are Germany replica shirts with more than 1 million of the tops finding their way into shoppers' bags already, making it the most popular Euro Cup shirt Adidas has ever sold.

Replica match balls are also popular, with the group expecting to sell more than 7 million of those.

Adidas' trademark three stripes could be seen on six of the original 16 teams taking part in the Euro 2012: reigning champions Spain, plus Ukraine, Denmark, Germany, Greece and Russia.

Of those, only Spain, Germany and Greece have made it to the quarter finals, with Friday's Germany-Greece match causing a stir for its political connotations.

Adidas also made headlines earlier this week when it cancelled the release of an upcoming sneaker model that featured plastic orange shackles attached to the shoes' heels after a public outcry.

Separately, a New York man sued a unit of Adidas, claiming he was duped about the potential fitness benefits of a line of shoes designed to mimic the effect of running barefoot.

Its shares were 1.1 percent lower at 58.33 euros by 1111 GMT (7.11. a.m. EDT).

($1 = 0.7873 euros)

(Reporting by Victoria Bryan)