What’s In A Name?

June 12, 2010 | Thyrl Nelson

A Quick Guide to the nicknames of the 2010 FIFA World Cup participants.




What do you get when you cross an elephant and a winged horse; or a blue Samurai and 11 indomitable lions? Well, it’s World Cup Football of course. For those like myself, who aren’t as “in the know” as they might like to be, but still want to sound like they know, here’s a handy little guide to the nicknames of the 32 clubs competing in South Africa, and a rough translation. So now when the Sons of Sam are taking on the Three Lions, you’ll be just a bit more prepared to discuss it.


Group A

South Africa – Bafana Bafana (The Boys)

Uruguay – La Charruas (Native people of what is now Uruguay)

France – Les Bleus

Mexico – El-Tri (for the tri-colored flag)


Group B

Argentina – La Albiceleste (the white and blue sky)

Nigeria – The Super Eagles

South Korea (aka Korea Republic) – Taeguek Jenosa (The Yin-Yang Warriors)

Greece – To Piratiko (The Pirate Ship)


Group C

USA – Sons of Sam or Uncle Sam’s Army

England – The Three Lions

Algeria – Les Fennecs (The Desert Foxes)

Slovenia – Zmajecki (The Dragon)


Group D

Germany – Die Mannschaft (The Team)

Ghana – The Black Stars

Serbia – Beli Orlovi (The White Eagles)

Australia – The Socceroos


Group E

Netherlands – The Oranje

Cameroon – Lions Indomptables (The Indomitable Lions)

Denmark – The Danish Dynamite or Olsen’s Eleven (after coach Morten Olsen)

Japan – The Blue Samurai


Group F

Italy – The Azzurri or Squadra Azzurra (The Blue Team)

Slovakia – Repre (The National Team, shortened)

Paraguay – La Albirroja (The White and Red)

New Zealand – The All Whites


Group G

Brazil – The Samba Kings

Portugal – Os Navegadores (The Navigators) or Seleccao dos Quinas (The Five Shields)

Ivory Coast – Les Elephants

North Korea (aka Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) – The Chollima (a winged mythical horse)


Group H

Spain – La Furia Roja (The Red Fury)

Switzerland – Nati (The National Team, shortened)

Honduras – Los Catrachos (The Hondurans)

Chile – La Roja (The Red)









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