World Cup – Battle of the Mascots


World Cup – Battle of the Mascots

World Cup fever is building nicely, and one of the hallmarks of any classic World Cup is a truly memorable mascot.

In 2018, it’s the turn of Zabivaka the wolf to entertain the crowds in Russia.

Will he stick in the memory like some of these classic mascots below?


Name: Naranjito
Species: An anthropomorphised orange
Year: 1982 World Cup, Spain


In retrospect, a giant orange seems a strange choice to market the world’s biggest sporting spectacle, but kudos to the Spanish organisers – Naranjito is certainly one of the more memorable efforts from down the years.

Eccentricity rating: 9/10
Iconic rating: 6/10


Name: Ciao
Species: A stick man (at least we think)
Year: 1990 World Cup, Italy



Another fabulously inventive choice of mascot for possibly the best World Cup of all time, Italia ‘90.

Like Italian football at that time, the organisers kept things simple with their official tournament mascot – and Ciao remains instantly recognisable to this day.

Eccentricity rating: 9/10
Iconic rating: 8/10


Name: Ato, Kaz, and Nik (The Spheriks)
Species: Unverified
Year: 2002 World Cup, South Korea / Japan

2002 Korea Japan


World Cup mascots leapt into the 21st century with a futuristic effort in 2002 from those two technological powerhouses, South Korea and Japan. No-one can still quite pin down exactly what they are, but Ato, Kaz, and Nik definitely added a splash of colour to a tournament that became famous for producing shock after shock.

Eccentricity rating: 8/10
Iconic rating: 6/10


Name: Pique
Species: Jalapeno pepper
Year: 1986 World Cup, Mexico


A jalapeno with a moustache wearing a sombrero? The Mexicans certainly didn’t hesitate to play up to national stereotypes with Pique – although not everyone in the host country took the design so light-heartedly. The ’86 mascot’s name was also a play on the abbreviation for penalty kick – ‘PK’ – still commonly used in North and South America commentary to this day.

Eccentricity rating: 8/10
Iconic rating: 7/10


Name: Footix
Species: Gallic rooster
Year: 1998 World Cup, France


Dazzling the ’98 tournament with his plumage in the colours of the Tricolore, Footix the cockerel surely deserves a place in the canon of great football mascots. The Gallic rooster is one of the unofficial national symbols of France and Footix proved an instant hit with French supporters as they stormed to World Cup glory on home soil.

Eccentricity rating: 6/10
Iconic rating: 8/10


Name: World Cup Willie
Species: Lion
Year: 1966 World Cup, England

World Cup Willie


The original and the best – Willie started the tradition of mascots that has continued through every World Cup to the current day. England winning certainly helped his longevity in the mascot fame stakes, but World Cup Willie remains the trailblazer for all that followed.

Eccentricity rating: 6/10
Iconic rating: 9/10


Who deserves the crown of best World Cup mascot?
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All image sources from PA Images


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