A Dutch firm offering orange helmets (left) shaped like those worn by German soldiers during the Nazi era and aimed at Dutch soccer fans visiting Germany for the World Cup has upset the Netherlands' football authority.

Free Time Products, the firm behind the helmet, defends it as a bit of harmless fun.

"During the World Cup the playing field is different. We ought to be able to poke a bit of fun at our arch-rivals the Germans," Weno Geerts of Free Time Products told Dutch daily De Telegraaf.

The Website advises fans to wear the helmets with their "infantry" friends, or in "battalions" at the stadiums.

But football's governing body in the Netherlands, the KNVB, said the helmets were in bad taste.

"They claim not to want to emphasise the war, but are achieving the very opposite," said KNVB's Frank Huizinga.

"This is clearly not in the spirit of a football tournament."

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