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The Nicknames of All 32 World Cup 2014 Teams

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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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Watch These Surfers Crush Nantucket's 'Slurpee' Waves
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Instead of hunkering down with Netflix and hot chocolate during the East Coast’s recent cold snap, surfers Nick Hayden and Jamie Briard spent the first few days of January 2018 conquering icy waves in Nantucket, Massachusetts. The frothy swells resembled a frozen 7-Eleven Slurpee, so photographer Jonathan Nimerfroh, a friend of the athletes, grabbed his camera to capture the phenomenon, according to deMilked.

The freezing point for salt water is 28.4°F, but undulating ocean waves typically move too much for ice particles to form. At Nantucket’s Nobadeer Beach, however, conditions were just right for a thick layer of frost to form atop the water’s surface for several hours. Some of the slushy crests were even surfable before melting after about three hours, Nimerfroh told Live Science.

This is the second time Nimerfroh has photographed so-called “Slurpee waves." He captured a similar scene on February 27, 2015, telling The New York Times, “I saw these crazy half-frozen waves. Usually on a summer day you can hear the waves crashing, but it was absolutely silent. It was like I had earplugs in my ears.”

Check out Nimerfroh’s video of surfers enjoying the icy swell below.

[h/t deMilked]

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Big Questions
Why Is the University of Georgia's Mascot a Bulldog?
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Daniel Shirey/Getty Images

For licensing purposes and the all-important "aww" factor, collegiate football teams like their mascots—and few are as popular as Uga, the handsome bulldog of University of Georgia fame.

When Herman J. Stegeman took over as head coach in 1920, the team, which had previously been referred to as the Red and Black, became known as the Wildcats. Atlanta Journal sportswriter Morgan Blake took issue with the unoriginal moniker, pointing out that it was already shared by at least two other teams in the south—Kentucky State and Davidson.

"I had hoped that Georgia would adopt some original nickname that would stand out," Blake wrote, adding that, "The 'Georgia Bulldogs' would sound good, because there is a certain dignity about a bulldog as well as ferocity, and the name is not as common as 'Wildcats' and 'Tigers.' Yale is about the only team I recall right now that has the name."

One week after Blake's story ran, Cliff Wheatley of the Atlanta Constitution referred to Georgia as the Bulldogs several times in his recap of the team's tie at Virginia. The new nickname quickly caught on, and it wasn't long before the sidelines began to see a succession of canines offering their moral support. A fan named Warren Coleman took his bulldog, Mr. Angel, to games from 1944 to 1946; another bulldog, Butch, served as a mascot from 1947 to 1950 (before he was tragically shot by police who mistook him for a stray).

The Uga lineage began in 1956, when a dog owner named Cecelia Seiler dressed her bulldog in a children's-sized team jersey and took him to home games. Uga I patrolled the field for a decade before his son, Uga II, took up the mantle. Uga V, who reigned from 1990 to 1999, appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated. Uga X, the current bulldog in residence, has been rooting for the team since 2015.

In deference to the dog's position, the University of Georgia goes to considerable lengths to make sure Uga is comfortable during the game. His doghouse is air-conditioned for the warmer months and his jerseys are custom-made. When one of the Uga clan passes, they're buried on stadium grounds in a marble vault. Apparently, not even death will prevent a loyal Georgia mascot from showing their support.

Have you got a Big Question you'd like us to answer? If so, let us know by emailing us at bigquestions@mentalfloss.com.

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