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FIFA Power Rankings for World Cup Soccer Team Names

Posted June 9, 2014

The problem with most World Cup teams is that their names are an afterthought. Unlike in American sport, where our team names mean everything (e.g. Utah Jazz), World Cup team names are nowhere near as important as say, wearing ugly jerseys or dominating the sport. In this World Cup there are 3 teams that reference the color blue, because nothing inspires passion like "GO blue ...? (ahem. cough)."

Some teams go with the very literal "the team," but a few winners, who in fact have no chance of winning the World Cup, have names that could make a good showing on Monday Night Football. Tonight we rank our favorite team names, and we swear we have avoided FIFA's corrupting influence (did you see my sweet new car?)
Our official nickname source was Wikipedia, or our own memory.

32. Russia

Nickname: none
Maybe you'll come up with a team name by the time you host your own World Cup? How about the Crimea-inals?

31. USA

Nickname: Yanks, Stars and Stripes.
This is the country that invented the Big Mac, Bruce Springsteen, the iPhone and Freedom. Yet soccer is not popular enough here for a consensus around nicknames?

30. Uruguay

Nickname: Los Charrúas
Los Charrúas are a nomadic indigenous people from South America. This is equivalent to the Cleveland Indians, or the name of the Washington football team.

Teams called 'The Team.' Yay the team!

29. Iran

Nickname: Team Melli (national team)

28. Switzerland

Nickname: La Nati (The National)
Switzerland loves everyone's favorite indie Brooklyn band.

27. Portugal

Nickname: A Seleção

26. Germany

Nickname: Die Mannschaft
Sounds vaguely militaristic. But still, 'the team.'

25. Brazil

Nickname: A Seleção

Self-referential Division

Next up, names of teams for what people call us. Shouldn't the US be the Gringos? Or the Diabetics?

24. Costa Rica.

Nickname: Los Ticos

23. Honduras.

Nickname: Los Catrachos

The Color League

22. Italy.

Nickname: Azzurri (blue)

21. France.

Nickname: Les Bleus

20. Ecuador.

Nickname: La Tricolor
Because their flag has three colors.

19. Mexico.

Nickname: El Tri
Because three colors, but this time, something masculine.

18. Chile.

Nickname: La Roja

17. Netherlands.

Nickname: Oranje
I chose Orange over red because I like to wear orange more. Suck it, Nate Silver.

Round of Sixteen

If this were the World Cup, the teams above would have been sent home after the first round.

16. Argentina.

Nickname: Sky Blue
Valid, this is the name of the Sky Blue FC,the national women's soccer league team for New Jersey.

From here on out we get into NFL land with animal names, and then it gets proper weird.

15. Australia.

Nickname: Socceroos
Just stop. Why not call yourselves some other iconic thing, like The Soccer-Uggs?

14. Cote d'Ivoire.

Nickname: Les Elephants

13. Nigeria.

Nickname: Super Eagles
Because how do you improve on the already awesome eagle? You make it super.

12. Croatia

Nickname: The Blazers
Or should we call them the Men in Blazers?

Fairy Tale Land

11. Belgium

Nickname: The Red Devils
Take something almost as boring as Chile, and spice it up with a little Hell. Nice. Hail Satan.

10. Greece.

Nickname: Piratiko (The Pirate Ship)
Pirates? We've all seen how inconvenient it can be to play soccer on the deck of a pirate ship.

9. Bosnia and, um, Bosnia... Bosnia (Plus One).

Or is it Bosnia & Hermione?
Nickname: Zmajevi (Dragons)
Dragons edge out pirates.

8. Japan.

Nickname: Blue Samurai
This month I get to see Blue Samurai vs the Pirate Ship. Is this match in Legoland?

7. England.

Nickname: Three Lions
Also the name of 10,000 pubs across Britain.

6. South Korea.

Nickname: Taegeuk Warriors
I don't know what Taegeuk means but it's really, really fun to say. Taegeuk!

5. Spain.

Nickname: Furia Roja
Normally I'd throw them back in the rankings because of the color-based name, but I love the Red Fury. Vamos España!

4. Ghana.

Nickname: Black Stars
As much as I dislike Ghana for running over my dog so many times, I sure do like the name. They could be a great Reggae band. In fact, instead of beating the US a third time, why not give up soccer altogether and play some music!

3. Colombia.

Nickname: Los Cafeteros
The Coffee Growers. We here at All Day Coffee love coffee growers.

2. Cameroon.

Nickname: Indomitable Lions
The lions have been a long favorite of mine, since they made it into the semifinals in 1990. I could have put them at #1, but at this point the name feels a little shopworn, if not domitable.

1. Algeria.

Nickname: Fennec Foxes
They sound like a Seattle folk band, but honestly: it's alliterative and I had to look up the word 'fennec.' It's a small species of desert fox. Congratulations, Algeria. As you are eliminated in the first round, be satisfied that you have the coolest name.



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