Getty Images Sport
Getty Images Sport

The Nicknames of All 32 World Cup 2014 Teams

Getty Images Sport
Getty Images Sport

The 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil is six months out, but there's no better time to pick a side to root for come summer. If you're still parsing through the groups in search of a team, here's a look at each squad in this year's cup and their nicknames.

Group A

1. Brazil: "Canarinho" ("Little Canary")

Named for the squad's famously bright yellow kits. Other less popular nicknames include the just-as-colorful "Verde-Amarela" ("The Green and Yellow"), "Samba Kings" for the nearly-dancing footskills of the team's players, and the boastful "Pentacampeões" ("The Five Time Champions," apparently a moniker that's subject to change).

2. Croatia: "Vatreni" ("The Blazers")

Also known as Bilic's Boys as of late, deriving their second nickname from the surname of current head coach Slaven Bilic.

3. Mexico: "El Tri"

For the three colors (red, white, and green) of the nation's flag. If you want to be more formal, "El Tricolor." 

4. Cameroon: "Les Lions Indomptables" ("The Indomitable Lions")

North Cameroon and North Nigeria split the Bénoué-Gumti lion conservation project, which seeks to preserve the region's lion population.

Group B

5. Spain: "La Furia Roja" ("The Red Fury")

The Spanish side earned their most popular nickname in the 1920 Summer Olympics in Antwerp, where they won a silver medal and popularized the tiki-taka style of playing, concentrating on "flair, creativity, and touch." The team also goes by its primary uniform color—"La Roja."

6. Netherlands: "Clockwork Orange"

The Dutch squads of the 1970s became known for their knack for precision passing, winning them a very Kubrickian nickname for their brand of Total Football (a scheme designed to maintain possession of the ball), a pastiche on the country's famous national color.

7. Chile: "La Roja" ("The Red One")

Though Chile sports a repeat nickname already used by a Group B team, they're the only team in their respective group with a theme song. Penned by Chicagoan indie rockers Manwomanchild, "Chile La Roja" was an unofficial anthem for the team's 2010 World Cup appearance in South Africa. Maybe their universality is chalked up to another nickname: "El Equipo de Todos," or "Everybody's Team," thanks to a fan-favorite attacking style.

8. Australia: "Socceroos"

Journalist Tony Horstead coined the portmanteau of a nickname in 1967 while covering the team's goodwill tour to South Vietnam, borrowing the back end of the name from one of Australia's best-known inhabitants. By 1974, the nickname was included in Australian Women's Weekly sans explanation.

Group C

9. Colombia: "Los Cafeteros" ("The Coffee Growers")

The Colombians' moniker riffs on one of the nation's largest exports.

10. Greece: "Piratiko" ("The Pirate Ship")

Though an unlikely pairing at first glance, Greek sportscasters spawned the name during a telecast of an upset victory against Portugal in the Euro 2004 tournament. The tournament's opening ceremony, hosted by Greece, flaunted a pirate ship. Inspired, Greek color commentator Georgios Halakis said the team had to "become pirates and steal the victory."

11. Ivory Coast: "Les Elephants" ("The Elephants")

Cote d'Ivoire (the country) earned its namesake for a booming ivory trade.

12. Japan: "Blue Samurai"

Blue for the uniforms, "Samurai" for the Japanese warriors of yore.

Group D

13. Uruguay: “La Celeste" ("The Sky Blue One")

The team's secondary nickname ("Los Charrúas") is a little more historical than just a description of the team's dominant hue: the name derives from the Charrúa people, indigenous nomads of Uruguay whose claims to notoriety involve killing Spanish explorer Juan Diaz de Solis and the group's massacre at Salsipuedes Creek in April of 1831.

14. Costa Rica: “Los Ticos”

"Tico" is a colloquial form of "costarricenses," or the Spanish-speaking term for inhabitants of the Latin American nation.

15. England: “Three Lions”

Named thusly for the trio of lions present on England's national football team crest — and the English coat of arms. It's a traditional emblem dating back to the reign of (you guessed it) Richard the Lionheart.

16. Italy: "Gli Azzuri" (“The Blues”)

The running nickname for Italy's national football, basketball, ice hockey, volleyball, rugby union, and rugby league teams, "Azzuri" springs from the plural form of the Italian word "azzuro," or azure blue.

Group E

17. Switzerland: "The Schweizer Nati" ("The Swiss National Team")

Sometimes, brevity is the soul of nicknames too.

18. Ecuador: “La Tri”

Much like Mexico, Ecuador's national football side named itself for the three colors of the country's flag: yellow, blue, and red.

19. France: "Les Bleus" (“The Blues”)

Simple: the principal color of France's primary jersey is blue. 

20. Honduras: "Los Catrachos"

Stemming from General Florencio Xatruch, who led Honduras forces against Nicaraguan president and American native William Walker in 1856, "catrachos" is a catch-all name for Hondurans as said by other Central American countries.

Group F

21. Argentina: "La Albicelestes" (“The White and Sky Blue”)

Again, sticking to the pattern of nicknames-based-on-team-uniform-colors.

22. Bosnia and Herzegovina: "Zmajevi" ("Dragons")

The team's nickname often referred to by international media is a little less ferocious than the popular Bosnian nickname: "Zlatni Ljiljani," or "Golden Lilies," for the lily native to Bosnia and Herzegovina, also appearing on the Bosnian coat-of-arms.

23. Iran: “Team Melli"

Which translates literally to "The National Team." Runners-up for nicknames include "Persian Stars" (used since the 2006 World Cup), "The Iranian Lions," "Lion Hearts," and, most recently, "Princes of Persia," in use since the 2011 AFC Asian Cup.

24. Nigeria: “Super Eagles"

Erstwhile known as the "Green Eagles," the nickname comes from the eagle perched atop a soccer ball on the Nigerian national football team crest. Nigeria adopted the name after a controversial loss at the hands of the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon in the 1988 Africa Cup of Nations final.

Group G

25. Germany: “Nationalmannschaft" ("National Team")

See also: Switzerland and Iran.

26. Portugal: “Selecção das Quinas" ("Team of the Five")

The team is nicknamed for the five shields present on the national football team crest.

27. Ghana: “Black Stars”

In another nod to the team's national flag, Ghana's team name references the eponymous black star that the country's flag sports in its center.

28. United States: “The Yanks"

Informally shortened from the colloquial term "Yankees," other Team USA nicknames include "The Stars and Stripes" and, well, "Team USA."

Group H

29. Belgium: “Red Devils”

"Rote teufel" if you're in Germany, "Rode Duivels" if you're speaking Dutch, or "Diables Rouges," according to the French. The nickname was first used by journalist Pierre Walckiers after a flurry of impressive victories in 1906 against France and the Netherlands — Belgium's uniforms prominently feature red.

30. Algeria: “Les Fennecs" ("The Desert Foxes")

Algeria is more than 80 percent desert (which probably makes for rough soccer conditions.) The titular fennec is a small, nocturnal fox native to Northern Africa.

31. Russia: "Sbornaya" ("National Team")

See also: Germany, Iran, and Switzerland.

32. South Korea: "Taeguk" ("Warriors")

The taeguk (the yin and yang symbol front-and-center on the national flag) is a symbol of balance. The team has also been labeled as "The Reds" for their crimson team kit—the team's official supporters, started in 1995, banded together as "The Red Devils."

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On Top of the World: Remembering the Lost Trend of Flagpole Sitting
Alvin "Shipwreck" Kelly sitting on a flagpole atop the Hotel St. Francis in Newark, New Jersey
Alvin "Shipwreck" Kelly sitting on a flagpole atop the Hotel St. Francis in Newark, New Jersey
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Flappers and bootleggers might be the most memorable aspects of the 1920s, but there's a lesser-known, yet no less colorful, trend from that decade: flagpole sitting. From the glamorous hills of Hollywood to the blue-collar dwellings of Union City, New Jersey, this unusual pastime turned eccentric showmen and ordinary people into overnight celebrities, before the crushing reality of the Great Depression grounded their climb to stardom.

Flagpole sitting is exactly what it sounds like: a person climbing on top of a towering pole, usually in the middle of a city, and testing their endurance by sitting atop it for as long as their body holds up. It began in Hollywood in January 1924, when a former sailor, boxer, steelworker, and stuntman named Alvin “Shipwreck” Kelly was hired by a local theater to sit on a pole outside of the building for as long as possible to drum up publicity for a new movie. Kelly, a New York City native—whose nickname was supposedly inspired by his dubious claims as a Titanic survivor—wowed crowds by perching himself on the pole for an astonishing 13 hours and 13 minutes. The stunt worked, and once it got picked up by the papers, offers started pouring in from more businesses to perform pole-sittings. Kelly was eager to oblige.

News of Kelly's exploits spread, and before long, men, women, and children were climbing poles of their own. There was the three-week feat of Bobbie Mack, a young woman from Los Angeles; Joe “Hold ‘em” Powers, who sat for 16 days in Chicago in 1927 and climbed back down with six fewer teeth than he started with after a storm smacked him face-first into his pole; and Bill Penfield, who braved a pole for 51 days in Strawberry Point, Iowa before a storm forced him down. In 1928, a 15-year-old named Avon Foreman of Baltimore even established a juvenile sitting record of 10 days, 10 hours, 10 minutes, and 10 seconds (he practiced on an 18-foot hickory tree in his backyard). Foreman’s accomplishment was so inspiring to Baltimore mayor William F. Broening that he publicly declared that the youngster exhibited “the pioneer spirit of early America.”

Still, Kelly was the one making a big business out of pole sitting. Even when he wasn’t holding the record, he was the ambassador of the bizarre sport. He toured 28 cities, attracting massive crowds that jammed streets and lined rooftops just to get a glimpse of the daredevil poking out among the apartment buildings and businesses of Downtown, USA.

Kelly's notable feats included an 80-hour sit in New Orleans and the 146 hours he spent high above Kansas City's Old Westgate Hotel. But even those were overshadowed by his largest-scale stunts: 312 hours on top of Newark’s St. Francis Hotel in 1927, 22 days on a pole above a dance marathon (another endurance fad of the time) in Madison Square Garden, and 23 days in 1929 in Baltimore’s Carlin’s Park on a pole that was 60 feet high. By Kelly’s own calculation, he’d spend around 20,613 hours pole-sitting during a career that lasted over a decade.

His peak came in 1930 when he lasted 49 days and one hour on a 225-foot pole on Atlantic City’s steel pier. The feat was witnessed by as many as 20,000 onlookers during the weeks he spent up top, becoming one of the first of many spectacles that would grace the pier in the 1930s. (He’d eventually be followed by acts like Rex, the water-skiing “wonder dog”; JoJo, the boxing kangaroo; and the city’s infamous diving horse routine.)

Estimates of Kelly’s fees range from $100-$500 a day throughout his career, paid by whatever outlet needed the publicity and sometimes by crowds who spent a quarter to get a view of his act from nearby hotel rooftops. And what did those onlookers see, exactly? A man on a circular padded seat high above the rabble, sometimes reading the paper, other times enjoying a shave. For food, he’d stick mainly to a liquid diet of broth and water, along with cigarettes, all of which were lifted up to him in a bucket. When he needed to sleep, he’d stay seated by wrapping his ankles around the pole and securing his thumbs into holes in his seat before nodding off. That's if he rested at all—he was also known to deprive himself of sleep on the pole for as long as four days.

The big money would dry up soon after his Atlantic City stunt, and the realities of the Great Depression put an end to flagpole sitting as a career. With up to a quarter of the population unemployed, people were apparently less interested in opening their papers to stories of men and women testing endurance at the top of a pole for more money than the readers would likely see all year.

"As Shipwreck Kelly analyzed it, it was the Stock Market crash that killed pole-sitting as the golden egg that paid the goose," a writer for The Evening Sun in Baltimore put it in 1944. "People couldn't stand to see anything higher than their busted securities."

Kelly’s personal story ends on a similarly somber note. Penniless and stripped of his daredevil veneer, he died of a heart attack in 1952 at the age of 59, his body found not far from the room he rented on West 51st Street in New York City. Underneath his arm at the time of his death was a scrapbook of newspaper clippings detailing his accomplishments as a once-champion flagpole sitter.

Though flagpole sitting has fallen out of the public eye since the Depression, it has occasionally shown faint signs of life. In 1963, 17-year-old Alabama native Peggy Townsend cruised past all of Kelly's highest marks by spending 217 days on a pole for a radio contest. That time was later beaten by Kenneth Gidge, who topped her at 248 days in 1971 before becoming an artist, inventor, and New Hampshire state representative later in life.

Today, the occasional pole-sitter still pops up in the news, though they're now most likely perched for protests or as living art installations. Regardless of the purpose behind it, it's unlikely that a person atop a flagpole will ever attract a sea of thousands of onlookers again—and the days when a man like Kelly could become a household name and dub himself the "Luckiest Fool on Earth" seem long gone.

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This Water Bottle Doubles as a Foam Roller
Mobot
Mobot

It hydrates and it massages. The MOBOT bottle, as spotted by Outside magazine, is being billed as “the world’s first and only foam roller water bottle,” and many outdoor and adventure enthusiasts swear by it.

The stainless steel bottle is wrapped in non-toxic EVA (ethylene-vinyl acetate) foam, which can be rolled along your calves, hamstrings, glutes, or arms to soothe sore muscles and relieve joint paint. It was designed with athletes in mind, but we could see it being used by stressed-out office workers with stiff muscles who could benefit from a little self-care. Plus, the lightweight bottle is great for keeping your beverage cold all day, whether you’re at work, at an amusement park, or at the beach. A top loop allows it to be hooked onto a backpack or beach bag.

The bottle is available in three sizes: the 40-ounce “Big Bertha,” the 18-ounce “Firecracker,” and the 27-ounce “Grace.” There’s a range of colors and patterns to choose from, including neon-colored camouflage for those moments when you can’t decide whether you want to stand out or blend in.

You can order it on Amazon, but some styles have already sold out. Check out MOBOT's video below to see different ways of using the bottle.

[h/t Outside]

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