Pictured above is the official mascot for the 2010 World Cup. I bet you’re frothing at the mouth for soccer right now. First created for the ’66 cup in England, World Cup mascots are suppose to symbolize the host country. In reality, they do a terrible job while looking ridiculous.
While some are forgivable (Juanito at Mexico ’70, for example), the following are more pathetic than a Brazilian flopping on the field like he had just been doused with face-melting acid. So as we gear up for South Africa, here are the top 10 dumbest-looking World Cup mascots ever:
10. Gauchito, Argentina ’78
This one’s not soooo bad. At least he’s sporting Puma, the best soccer brand ever made. But Gauchito, armed with his butter knife whip, looks more like something you’d find on a cereal box than the face of the world’s largest sporting event.
9. World Cup Willie, England ’66
Ah, the one that started it all. It’s a lion wearing a Union Jack for a shirt. But it’s the name the really gets me—Willie. That’s the best you Brits could come up with, eh? World Cup Willie? When asked for comment, Queen Elizabeth II reportedly said at the time, “That’s the dumbest name I’ve ever heard.”
8. The Spheriks, Korea/Japan ’02
The Japanese are crazy. Make ‘em share a room with Koreans, and this is what they come up with. As the first and only computer-generated mascots to date, The Spheriks were known for making Teletubies green with envy… and for causing Western supporters to quickly usher their young children out of harm’s way.
7. Pique, Mexico ’86
Look, it’s a jalapeño pepper with a mustache and sombrero. How stereotypical!
6. Footix, France ’98
Hey, everyone. It’s Woody Woodpecker holding a soccer ball! France, I know the cockerel is a national symbol, but you’re not even trying. Not that you needed to though. At least you won the World Cup on home soil that year
5. Goleo and Pille, Germany ’06
No. That’s all I got.
4. Ciao, Italy ’90
Oh my, what originality, Italy! A stick figure made out of blocks. Oh, I get it, the blocks are the same color as your flag. I see what you did there. Amazing. And a soccer ball for a head. That’s just the icing on the cake. Well done, folks. Let’s have a round of applause.
3. Naranjito, Spain ’82
Really Spain? This is what you came up with? An orange that looks like Humpty Dumpty? You were just a cheap cash advance away from hiring a real PR firm but instead you had to DIY. I’m speechless, really.
2. Striker the World Cup Pup, USA ’94
It may have had the best facilities of any World Cup, but the USA ’94 mascot was definitely lacking. The World Cup Pup? It looks like he was drawn in the ’30s, not the ’90s. And what the crap does a dog have to do with America? I like dogs and all, but this is meaningless, juvenile, and boring.
1. Tip and Tap, Germany ’74
You’re still doing it wrong, Germany. Affectionate boys bearing midriffs? Ridiculously long feet? Rosy cheeks? This is hands-down the worst attempt at a mascot, not just in the World Cup, but in the entire world. It’s like a political cartoonist from some rubbish German paper was asked to throw something together in the final hour. This is what he came up with. Mascot fail.