Football fans await to see the season's mascot during the World Cup. The figure of choice and background story has always been a subject of great interest and intrigue.
The ILoveQatar.net (ILQ) team is here to have you fondly remember the various mascots from the years 1982 till 2022. You can also check out these mascots at the World Cup mascots exhibition at City Center Doha!
The 1982 mascot 'Naranjito' was inspired by Spanish oranges. Donned in the host country's kit uniform, the mascot got its name from the Spanish word for Orange, 'Naranja'.
The mascot of the tournament in Mexico was called 'Pique', one of the country's most significant ingredients-Jalapeño.
Mexican cuisine is known for including Jalapeños, and this mascot did justice to it by being a Jalapeño wearing a 'Sombrero' (traditional Mexican hat).
Its name was inspired by the Spanish term for spicy peppers and sauces, 'Picante'.
Unlike typical mascots that tend to be fluffy animals or fruits & vegetables, this one was rather unique.
The mascot 'Ciao' was designed by a self-taught graphic designer who had submitted an entry when the Italia 90 organising committee called on a competition. He claimed to have come up with the idea at a traffic signal.
Many accepted, appreciated and approved of the mascot as they believed it represented the start of a new era and a futuristic Italy; most importantly, it set them apart from the rest.
The 1994 mascot 'Striker' was iconic as it was designed by the renowned 'Warner Brothers' who kept it simple at heart. Humbly inspired by a domestic pet dog, the choice was due to it being so common in American households.
It also represented the American flag with the tri-coloured kit.
The rooster is one of the national symbols of France; hence, was the ideal choice of inspiration for the respective tournament. It also replicated the national team shirt with 'FRANCE 98' wording on the chest.
The name 'Footix' was a combination of the words 'football', and the 'ix' was from the much-loved Astérix comic strip.
The mascot for this tournament was symbolic as it was the first time there were three elements to a mascot.
Unlike many other mascots inspired by existing elements, Ato, Kaz & Nik were computer-generated futuristic characters. They also had their version of the game termed 'Atmoball'.
Interestingly, they got their names through public voting, which was taken at McDonald's branches across the countries.
A lion and talking football, Goleo VI & Pille, were the mascots of choice for the German tournament. The name Goleo was inspired by the term 'goal' and the Latin for lion, 'Leo'.
The talking football was named 'Pille', a commonly used word for football in Germany.
'Zakumi', the mascot, was a friendly twist on leopards. The animal was chosen because it is very common in South Africa.
The green and gold colours were inspired by that of the national sports teams kit. 'ZA' is a commonly used acronym for South Africa, and 'Kumi' was an African term for '10'.
The 2014 mascot 'Fuleco' paid homage to the endangered 3-banded-armadillo, native to Brazil. Its name came from the Portuguese words 'Futebol' (football) and 'Ecologia' (ecology).
The 2018 mascot known as 'Zabivaka' was brought to life by a student at Tomsk State University. She claimed to be inspired by Disney.
The character of choice was a wolf wearing sports glasses to protect himself from his high-speed run.
The mascot was a subject of much debate at the time as people interpreted the sports glasses to be winter glasses that weren't deemed relevant to a summer event. However, it was put to rest with due clarification.
The mascot for the Qatar tournament, known as 'La'eeb', gets its name from the Arabic term 'super-skilled player'.
Unlike its predecessors, this mascot is one of a kind as it belongs to a parallel universe known as the 'mascot-verse'.
He gets his features from traditional Qatari menswear elements, the 'Ghitra' and 'Igal'. Typically worn with a thobe (white robe), the 'Ghitra' is a white cloth worn on the head, kept in place by a black woven ring known as the 'Igal'.
Sources: FIFA / World Soccer / Who ate all the pies / People's Daily Online / its nice that
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