World Cup: mascots over the years

By Natasha Sporn ASSOCIATED PRESS, ITV/Rex Features, AP/Fifa
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A look back at the good, the bad and the downright weird mascots

A gallery of the official World Cup mascots since their instigation in 1966 See Gallery

World Cup mascots were first used in England 1966 and sparked a tradition of mascots for the major footballing event ever since.

We take a look at all the World Cup mascots since and look ahead to Fuleco the armadillo for 2014.

ITV/Rex Features
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England 1966: World Cup Willie

World Cup Willie, the fluffy lion, was the first official mascot of the World Cup competition and the mascot of the 1966 tournament in England. Willie was the creation of Reg Hoye with the idea of a lion based on his son Leo. Willie even had his own song.

© dpa/Corbis
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Mexico 1970: Juanito

A small boy wearing a Mexico jersey and a large sombrero became the first 'human form' World Cup mascot. Named Juanito, the Mexican boy had a popular Spanish name and supposedly represented a typical young football fan. Something about him looked innocent and clean - a theme of the World Cup that followed given that not a single red card was shown on the pitch.

AP Photo/Peter Hillebrecht
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West Germany 1974: Tip and Tap

Little boys Tip and Tap were the official mascots of the 1974 World Cup hosted by West Germany and appeared to not have fitting jerseys either - just like their predecessor Juanito.

© dpa/Corbis
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Argentina 1978: Gauchito

Argentina followed the small boy trend - once again neglecting animal themes - when they announced Gauchito as the mascot for the 1978 World Cup. His name was derived from 'gaucho' which means cowboy in Spanish and his attire was based on the typical appearance of one - the necktie, the hat and the cattle whip in his right hand. In contrast to the previous youthful mascots, he also appeared to own a shirt that covered his midriff.

© Central Press/Getty Images
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Spain 1982: Naranjito

Spain opted for a fruit theme for their shot at a World Cup mascot, coming up with nothing more than a smiley orange named Naranjito (a derivative of the Spanish for orange) holding a football.

© Bob Thomas Sports Photography/Getty Images
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Mexico 1986: Pique

A jalapeño pepper called Pique became the second mascot produced by Mexico - following Juanito the boy in 1970 - named after the Spanish for spicy (picante). He sported a moustache and wore a big sombrero in an attempt to bring Mexican culture into the World Cup mascot.

AP Photo/Bruno Mosconi
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Italy 1990: Ciao

In a break from 'live' characters, Italia '90's official mascot was a tricoloured stick figurine with a football for a head (no eyes, ears, nose or mouth...) and looked as if he may break at any given minute.

© dpa/Corbis
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USA 1994: Striker

When it came to the Americans to produce a World Cup mascot they chose to take the animal path, like England in 1966, but opted for a domestic house pet rather than a national symbol. Striker the World Cup Pup wore red, white and blue and supposedly enjoyed playing football.

AP PHOTO/HO
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France 1998: Footix

A rooster named Footix did the job of official World Cup mascot in 1998 when France hosted the competition. Footix was dressed in the tricolour pattern of the official ball (of which he holds a copy) of the World Cup games that year.

LEE JAE-WON/Newscom/RTR
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Korea/Japan 2002: Nik, Ato and Kaz

'The Spheriks' comprised Ato (coach), Nik (blue player) and Kaz (purple player), who lived in the Atmozone and landed down on Earth to become the official mascots of the 2002 World Cup, jointly hosted by Korea and Japan.

AP Photo/Hermann J. Knippertz
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Germany 2006: Goleo VI and his sidekick Pille

Goleo VI the Lion and his talking football sidekick Pille became the official mascots of the 2006 World Cup in Germany. The lion caused controversy as he appeared not to own any trousers, as well as a lion being closely linked historically to both England and the Netherlands. Company NCIC who made and licensed Goleo declared bankruptcy in May 2006.

HENRY ROMERO/Newscom/RTR
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South Africa 2010: Zakumi

Zakumi the Leopard was the official mascot of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa and was depicted in green and yellow to match the colours of the host country's football kit. His name was derived from the country code for South Africa - ZA - and the word 'kumi' meaning 10 in several African languages.

AP Photo/FIFA, File
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Brazil 2014: Fuleco

Fuleco the three banded armadillo is the official mascot of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. The armadillo is an endangered species in Brazil and is also native to the lands. The blue of Fuleco's shell represents the clear skies and water of Brazil, while his name is a combination of 'futebol' and 'ecologia', in an attempt to encourage people to look after the environment as well as enjoying football.