The Nicknames of All 32 World Cup 2014 Teams
The 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil is six months out, but there's no better time to pick a side to root for come summer. If you're still parsing through the groups in search of a team, here's a look at each squad in this year's cup and their nicknames.
1. Brazil: "Canarinho" ("Little Canary")
Named for the squad's famously bright yellow kits. Other less popular nicknames include the just-as-colorful "Verde-Amarela" ("The Green and Yellow"), "Samba Kings" for the nearly-dancing footskills of the team's players, and the boastful "Pentacampeões" ("The Five Time Champions," apparently a moniker that's subject to change).
2. Croatia: "Vatreni" ("The Blazers")
Also known as Bilic's Boys as of late, deriving their second nickname from the surname of current head coach Slaven Bilic.
3. Mexico: "El Tri"
For the three colors (red, white, and green) of the nation's flag. If you want to be more formal, "El Tricolor."
4. Cameroon: "Les Lions Indomptables" ("The Indomitable Lions")
North Cameroon and North Nigeria split the Bénoué-Gumti lion conservation project, which seeks to preserve the region's lion population.
5. Spain: "La Furia Roja" ("The Red Fury")
The Spanish side earned their most popular nickname in the 1920 Summer Olympics in Antwerp, where they won a silver medal and popularized the tiki-taka style of playing, concentrating on "flair, creativity, and touch." The team also goes by its primary uniform color—"La Roja."
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6. Netherlands: "Clockwork Orange"
The Dutch squads of the 1970s became known for their knack for precision passing, winning them a very Kubrickian nickname for their brand of Total Football (a scheme designed to maintain possession of the ball), a pastiche on the country's famous national color.
7. Chile: "La Roja" ("The Red One")
Though Chile sports a repeat nickname already used by a Group B team, they're the only team in their respective group with a theme song. Penned by Chicagoan indie rockers Manwomanchild, "Chile La Roja" was an unofficial anthem for the team's 2010 World Cup appearance in South Africa. Maybe their universality is chalked up to another nickname: "El Equipo de Todos," or "Everybody's Team," thanks to a fan-favorite attacking style.
8. Australia: "Socceroos"
Journalist Tony Horstead coined the portmanteau of a nickname in 1967 while covering the team's goodwill tour to South Vietnam, borrowing the back end of the name from one of Australia's best-known inhabitants. By 1974, the nickname was included in Australian Women's Weekly sans explanation.
9. Colombia: "Los Cafeteros" ("The Coffee Growers")
The Colombians' moniker riffs on one of the nation's largest exports.
10. Greece: "Piratiko" ("The Pirate Ship")
Though an unlikely pairing at first glance, Greek sportscasters spawned the name during a telecast of an upset victory against Portugal in the Euro 2004 tournament. The tournament's opening ceremony, hosted by Greece, flaunted a pirate ship. Inspired, Greek color commentator Georgios Halakis said the team had to "become pirates and steal the victory."
11. Ivory Coast: "Les Elephants" ("The Elephants")
Cote d'Ivoire (the country) earned its namesake for a booming ivory trade.
12. Japan: "Blue Samurai"
Blue for the uniforms, "Samurai" for the Japanese warriors of yore.
13. Uruguay: “La Celeste" ("The Sky Blue One")
The team's secondary nickname ("Los Charrúas") is a little more historical than just a description of the team's dominant hue: the name derives from the Charrúa people, indigenous nomads of Uruguay whose claims to notoriety involve killing Spanish explorer Juan Diaz de Solis and the group's massacre at Salsipuedes Creek in April of 1831.
14. Costa Rica: “Los Ticos”
"Tico" is a colloquial form of "costarricenses," or the Spanish-speaking term for inhabitants of the Latin American nation.
15. England: “Three Lions”
Named thusly for the trio of lions present on England's national football team crest — and the English coat of arms. It's a traditional emblem dating back to the reign of (you guessed it) Richard the Lionheart.
16. Italy: "Gli Azzuri" (“The Blues”)
The running nickname for Italy's national football, basketball, ice hockey, volleyball, rugby union, and rugby league teams, "Azzuri" springs from the plural form of the Italian word "azzuro," or azure blue.
17. Switzerland: "The Schweizer Nati" ("The Swiss National Team")
Sometimes, brevity is the soul of nicknames too.
18. Ecuador: “La Tri”
Much like Mexico, Ecuador's national football side named itself for the three colors of the country's flag: yellow, blue, and red.
19. France: "Les Bleus" (“The Blues”)
Simple: the principal color of France's primary jersey is blue.
20. Honduras: "Los Catrachos"
Stemming from General Florencio Xatruch, who led Honduras forces against Nicaraguan president and American native William Walker in 1856, "catrachos" is a catch-all name for Hondurans as said by other Central American countries.
21. Argentina: "La Albicelestes" (“The White and Sky Blue”)
Again, sticking to the pattern of nicknames-based-on-team-uniform-colors.
22. Bosnia and Herzegovina: "Zmajevi" ("Dragons")
The team's nickname often referred to by international media is a little less ferocious than the popular Bosnian nickname: "Zlatni Ljiljani," or "Golden Lilies," for the lily native to Bosnia and Herzegovina, also appearing on the Bosnian coat-of-arms.
23. Iran: “Team Melli"
Which translates literally to "The National Team." Runners-up for nicknames include "Persian Stars" (used since the 2006 World Cup), "The Iranian Lions," "Lion Hearts," and, most recently, "Princes of Persia," in use since the 2011 AFC Asian Cup.
24. Nigeria: “Super Eagles"
Erstwhile known as the "Green Eagles," the nickname comes from the eagle perched atop a soccer ball on the Nigerian national football team crest. Nigeria adopted the name after a controversial loss at the hands of the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon in the 1988 Africa Cup of Nations final.
25. Germany: “Nationalmannschaft" ("National Team")
See also: Switzerland and Iran.
26. Portugal: “Selecção das Quinas" ("Team of the Five")
The team is nicknamed for the five shields present on the national football team crest.
27. Ghana: “Black Stars”
In another nod to the team's national flag, Ghana's team name references the eponymous black star that the country's flag sports in its center.
28. United States: “The Yanks"
Informally shortened from the colloquial term "Yankees," other Team USA nicknames include "The Stars and Stripes" and, well, "Team USA."
29. Belgium: “Red Devils”
"Rote teufel" if you're in Germany, "Rode Duivels" if you're speaking Dutch, or "Diables Rouges," according to the French. The nickname was first used by journalist Pierre Walckiers after a flurry of impressive victories in 1906 against France and the Netherlands — Belgium's uniforms prominently feature red.
30. Algeria: “Les Fennecs" ("The Desert Foxes")
Algeria is more than 80 percent desert (which probably makes for rough soccer conditions.) The titular fennec is a small, nocturnal fox native to Northern Africa.
31. Russia: "Sbornaya" ("National Team")
See also: Germany, Iran, and Switzerland.
32. South Korea: "Taeguk" ("Warriors")
The taeguk (the yin and yang symbol front-and-center on the national flag) is a symbol of balance. The team has also been labeled as "The Reds" for their crimson team kit—the team's official supporters, started in 1995, banded together as "The Red Devils."