World Cup mascots through the years

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14. World Cup Willie, 1966

“I am Willie, hear me roar!” This lion was the mascot for the international soccer tournament held in England.

“With his union flag football shirt and ‘60s mop-top mane, ‘World Cup Willie’ was a high-profile presence throughout England 1966, becoming popular with fans both young and old,” FIFA says online.

13. Juanito, 1970

Meet Juanito, who symbolized the 1970 World Cup in Mexico.

12. Tip and Tap, 1974

Was it double the fun? Tip and Tap were the mascots when the World Cup took place in West Germany.

“These two were the first mascots designed to promote some sort of social message, intended to bring East and West Germany — who were drawn to play each other in the group stage of that tournament — closer to together,” ESPN.com reports.

11. Gauchito, 1978

A youngster named Gauchito was the mascot for the 1978 World Cup in Argentina. Fox Sports reports that his hat, whip and neckerchief “were typical gaucho attire.”

10. Naranjito, 1982

The 1982 World Cup was represented by Naranjito the orange as a mascot.

The fruit reportedly had a special significance: ESPN says that it “was supposed to be a cheery character to symbolise a newly optimistic and positive time after Spain’s emergence from General Franco’s dictatorship.”

9. Pique, 1986

A pepper in a sombrero was the mascot for the World Cup in Mexico.

The character earlier drew scrutiny in 1984: a New York Times article at the time said that the character “is less than a month old, but he is already a target for Mexican nationalists and the butt of tasteless jokes.”

8. Ciao, 1990

This faceless figure was the mascot when Italy hosted the World Cup.

Its name, “Ciao,” also means “hello” and “goodbye” in Italian.

7. Striker the World Cup Pup, 1994

Warner Brothers reportedly created the canine for the 1994 tournament held in the United States.

6. Footix, 1998

This cockerel was France’s mascot for World Cup.

His daughter, a chicken named Ettie, was the mascot for the 2019 Women’s World Cup, which took place in the European country.

“Footix cast his star far into the night sky so it could shine brightly, and after a few years of travelling through the cosmos it came back to him in the form of his twinkling daughter, ettie,” FIFA said in a post online.

5. Ato, Kaz and Nik, 2002

The World Cup in Korea and Japan had three mascots, Ato, Nik and Kaz, who formed “The Spheriks.”

“Orange, purple and blue, these animated creations participated in ‘Atomball’, a fictional football-like sport, with Ato the coach and Kaz and Nik his players,” FIFA said.

4. GOLEO VI, 2006

The pantsless lion was the mascot when Germany hosted the World Cup in 2006 – and also had a friend.

“GOLEO VI’s constant companion, Pille the talking football, is always at his side,” FIFA said in a release. “They are an unequal double-act, as Pille is a right chatterbox who wears his heart on his sleeve.”

3. Zakumi, 2010

Another big cat, Zakumi the leopard, was chosen as the mascot for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

FIFA explained the feline’s name in a release.

“The name is a composition of “ZA,” standing for South Africa, and “kumi” translating into “10” in various languages across Africa,” the statement read.

2. Fuleco, 2014

The mascot for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil was Fuleco, the three-banded Brazilian armadillo.

“Futbol” and “ecologia” are combined for the character’s name, according to FIFA.

“The shell that protects him has evolved to represent the natural beauty of Brazil that he is so committed to protecting,” the organization said.

1. Zabivaka, 2018

This year, the mascot is Zabivaka the wolf, whose name is said to mean “the one who scores.”

As part of his look, the soccer-playing animal sports goggles.

“He has taken to wearing cool sports glasses when he’s in action; he believes they give him special targeting powers on the pitch,” FIFA claims.

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