Many Americans become casual fans of soccer when the FIFA World Cup rolls around. Still, there’s a lot about the sport that they don’t get. For starters, what’s up with some of the team nicknames? Here are five of the strangest:
Netherlands: Clockwork Orange
So are their fans not hooligans, but droogies? Are they forced to watch the games with their eyes propped open and someone dripping saline solution into them at regular intervals? Are they prone to “ultra violence” after a tough loss? Could they have picked a creepier movie to name themselves after? Maybe Eraserheads was taken.
Germany: Die Mannschaft
It doesn’t take a multi-linguist to figure out that this nickname used by non German-speaking media means “the manshaft” in English. It was just a matter of time before a major sports team was named for a dick. Imagine the headline if the Germans win: Penis Envy. And let’s not get into what their mascot must look like.
Denmark: Olsens Elleve
In English that means “Olsen’s Eleven,” Olsen being head coach Morten Olsen. With a name like that you almost expect George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon and company to come running onto the pitch. Probably best if they stick with Danish Dynamite, which doesn’t invoke the image of a bunch of Hollywood pretty boys (or worse, these two):
Okay, they’re trying to make a connection to the self-contained continent’s indigenous, pouched animal. But it’s impossible for the rest of us to avoid making the connection to the Underoos brand of children’s underwear. Although if the Aussies picked the right superhero, that could make for some pretty bitchin’ unis.
Ivory Coast: Elephants
Considering that the poaching of pachyderms for their tusks is a huge problem in Africa, an African nation that once was the center of the ivory trade adopting the nickname “elephants” for its soccer team seems a little, well, insensitive. It’s not like any U.S. sports teams reference America’s checkered past by using caricatures of Native Americans in their logos. Oh wait…