Portugal's wide man Luis Nani caused a stir when he turned up for training with his squad number (17) shaved into his head. The Portuguese had just been crushed by a relentless German side afforded a numerical advantage after Pepe's sending off and there were questions about the timing of Nani's new do - surely this was the time for hard work in training rather than a new haircut?
However, it's a trend that has bewitched a few footballers during the competition. Asamoah Gyan, Ghana's star striker, also shaved his squad number (3) into the side of his head and it proved a lucky omen as he put his side 2-1 up against a strong German side. The games have been notable not only for the amount of beautiful football that's been played, but also for the weird and wonderful haircuts showcased by flamboyant footballers. World's best Cristiano Ronaldo reportedly shaved a Zorro-esque zig-zag into the side of his head in support of Erik Ortiz Cruz, the cortical dysplasia sufferer who Ronaldo supported financially through surgery.
The delicate inscriptions of squad numbers reminds us of a time when people shaved the legendary Nike ticks into their head, a pledge of allegiance to their favourite designer. Emblematic of the sports brand's devoted following, the hairstyle became a cultural phenomenon in the 1990s and 2000s - we take a look back at the trend that may have inspired the recent flurry of squad number shavings that we're seeing in Brazil 2014.
The Nike hairstyle became so popular that barber shops in the UK even began incorporating Nike ticks onto their pricelists. In Peckham's Jowas Barbers, you can get yourself a Nike tick for just a quid. Bargain. The simple swoosh emerged around the turn of the millenium as a leading fashion trend amongst Britain's youth; who were desperate to demonstrate their up to date affection for the world's leading sports brand. It was here that Nike transcended the boundary between brand and movement – no-one paid anyone to shave a swoosh into their heads, the phenomenon became a street style all on its own.
Of course, the brand is no stranger to hairstyles. Nike Barbershop launched in '93 and starred basketball legends such as Dennis Rodman chatting breeze and chilling big in a downtown barbers. Since then, Nike have advertised the weird and wonderful haircuts of their players, including the "R9" and the "Mario Balotelli". France's midfield wonderkid Paul Pogba is another player with a unique style - shaved at the sides with a bleached mohawk, he's definitely staying away from the simple.
So as we appreciate these theatrical shavings at the tournament, let's enjoy the theory that it all began when people starting ticking their own boxes.
This month we've got photographers all over the world documenting the elation and despair of this tournament. Check the Dazed Digital Fever Pitch page for our daily photo feed from each city and #dazedfeverpitch on Instagram to see the world’s greatest spectacle from an entirely different perspective.
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