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Trophy hunting: World Cup replicas selling fast in Vietnam

AFP  |  Hanoi 

In a workshop on the outskirts of Hanoi, workers busily mould, set and hundreds of replica trophies as orders flood in ahead of next week's tournament.

Demand in football-mad is soaring for the hand made plaster models of the real 18-carat gold that will go to the winners of the month-long hosted by that starts Thursday.

Vuong has been making the foot-tall replicas since in South Africa, perfecting his hand-carved design over several months to give as gifts.

"Initially I didn't want to sell the trophies, I was just trying to feed my passion for and give them to friends and family," said the 57-year-old Manchester United fan. But they proved so popular he now sells them and expects to receive 3,000 orders this year -- triple the number he made in 2014.

With just three assistants in his small workshop he's struggling to keep up with demand.

"I work all day to fill the orders, but it's not enough. I have to work until midnight," said Nhat, exhausted, as workers pour plaster nearby.

His spray-painted gold versions of the coveted sell for just USD 3.50 -- a steal compared to the estimated USD150,000 price tag on the real number designed by the late Italian

That version, the World Cup Trophy, has been in play since 1974 when it replaced the original Jules Rimet given to in 1970 after it clinched its third World Cup win.

The original was stolen in when the back wall of its case was removed by thieves in 1983 and has never been recovered.

For Nhat's customers, the replicas add a sprinkling of glory before

"Holding the trophy I feel like Zidane (when he) won in 1998", national team supporter said.

It's a small consolation for fans like who have little hope of seeing -- a lowly 102nd in FIFA's official rankings -- compete in any time soon.

"If they do, I'll give my trophies away for free," said

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Sat, June 09 2018. 13:30 IST