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World Cup Mascots: From Willie to the Nutty Armadillo

by | 19th, September 2012

SO, an armadillo it is.

Not the most obvious choice for Brazil’s World Cup mascot, but then the nut had already been by Crystal Palace’s legendary P. Nut, and the connotations of the word “Brazilian” are hardly suitable for a family-friendly cuddly toy.

Anyway, it’s all for a good cause raising awareness of an endangered species and it’s not as if other country’s efforts haven’t had their own idiosyncrasies.

England 1966: World Cup Willie

This cool little dude is the daddy of them all. Not just the first Word Cup mascot, but the first modern mascot of all in a marketing and branding kinda way. Later emulated by the European Championships and winter and summer Olympics.

Mexico 1970: Juanito

Mexico is the most “iconic” of World Cups, and the first televised in colour. Then there were the bright yellow shirts of Brazil’s legendary side, and the memorable graphic and font of the tournament logo. Hardly surprising, then, that the rather predictable mascot a boy in a sombrero remains largely forgotten. Note the cunning adidas branding.

West Germany 1974: Tip and Tap

“Tippy-tappy” football a full three deacdes before Barca. WM stands for Weltmeisterschaft, by the way.

Argentina 1978: Gauchito

The World Cup was a massive PR exercise for the Argentinian junta, but that isn’t actually a rubber cosh in gauchito’s hand it’s a gaucho whip, for use on horses. Gauchito sounds like a cross between ‘gaucho” and “cheat” something that crossed Brazilian minds when the host nation won 6-0 in suspiciously easy circumstances against Peru to eliminate Brazil on goal difference. Note how Puma got the boot action this time.

Spain 1982: Naranjito

A Spanish orange in football kit. His name means orange. There is nothing more to say. And if you have ever wondered what he would look like with human legs, then wonder no more…

Mexico 1986: Pique

He’s a jalapeno pepper and his name comes from picante, which refers to spicy peppers and sauces. And hey, surprise, surprise he’s wearing a sombrero!

Italy 1990: Ciao

Hello, what’s this? “Hello” the stick man, that’s who. A typically striking effort from the home of stylish design.

USA 1994: Striker

A disappointingly generic cartoon dog, designed by the warner Bros animation team. So much less interesting than the USA’s real-life cartoon, Alexi Lalas…

France 1998: Footix

A cross, apparently, between “football” (French for “football”) and Asterix, the most popular Frenchman of all time. Alternatives were put forward, but this cockerel won with over 90 per cent support from the French people.

Japan and South Korea 2002: Ato, Kaz and Nik

These computer-generated forerunners of Wenlock and

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Posted: 19th, September 2012 | In: Key Posts, Sports Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink