Nestle.jpg (1663342 bytes)Nestle Cereal Company, in conjunction with World Cup 98, issued soccer cards in combination with special boxes of their product in various countries. These boxes have surfaced in five countries: Mexico ("Corn Flakes"), France ("11Chocapic"), United Kingdom ("Shreddies"), Spain ("Chocapic" and "Estrellitas") and Germany ("Clusters," "Sporties," and "Cini-Minis"), with the first three being primarily the same issue. The German boxes differed entirely from the others as to design and content.

The three similar boxes incorporated the card into the design of the box itself. The cards were of the "3D" or "Magic Motion" variety, that appear to move when tilted. They were referred to as "Video Cards," and were placed into a cutout in the box, to look somewhat like a miniature television. Small versions of the cards were printed in a regular format on the back of the boxes, essentially providing a checklist. The boxes themselves were, of course, printed in the language of the country in which they were issued.

Ten different players have been pictured in the video card format. (see table right)

While eight cards showed up in every set, the two cards for Batistuta and Kahawji appear to be "odd man" issues, restricted to the European or Mexican editions.

Few specifics are known about the Spanish boxes. The "Chocapic" version contained the "video" cards, but no list of players is available. The "Estrellitas" boxes had cards printed on the back of the carton. Again, no word is available concerning the players pictured or the format of the cards.

The cereal boxes from Germany were altogether different from the other issues, as were the cards. The boxes were complete, with no cutout portions, and contained three cards, packaged like most cereal premiums. The cards were not of the "3D" variety, but were regular 2" x 2" cardboard items by Panini, different from the company's regular World Cup issue.

There were twenty-eight cards in the set, twenty-five of them players, but there was no pattern to the selection. While Mexican players were pictured, there were no other teams from Latin America or CONCACAF, and the Far East was totally excluded. The European teams included Italy, Germany and France, but not England or Holland.

The cards were of excellent quality -- indeed, much better than the regular Panini World Cup set. The pictures on the front were good action shots and the back contained a close up of the player. The complete player list appears below.

The set also included three non-player cards: a World Cup 98 logo card, a mascot card and a trophy card, all printed with a "glitter" background. The side of the box contained an offer for an album in which to mount the set. It is interesting to note that there must have been some licensing problem with the German side. While all of the other players are represented in their National Team kit, the German players are in a bright blue, obviously retouched, uniform with no printing or even numbers.

Another World Cup box from Central America appeared on the internet recently, for Lucky Charms. No cards were included or offered. The box simply had a cartoon picture printed on the back of the box with the France 98 logo.

Although they have been touted on the "internet" as being "RARE, LIMITED EDITIONS," with boxes selling in the ten, twenty and thirty dollar range, these items might start to turn up in greater numbers, and at cheaper prices, now that the cup is history. Completing a set of the "3D" cards for your collection, without any consideration of the country of origin, will probably be fairly easy. However, collecting the cards in conjunction with the various boxes in different languages might prove a little more difficult and expensive.

The German cards might prove especially hard to find. Since most of the "3D" cards are visible on the front of the boxes, it is easy to select the various players to complete a set. Since the German issue are contained inside the box, you do not have the same opportunity to pick and choose.