The Evolution of FIFA World Cup Mascot 1966 – 2018


Mascots are now quiet common in every sport events and it is no different when it comes to

Football World Cup 2018 Mascot. Mascots encompasses the particular spirit of the event as you can see, Zabivaka the wolf, meaning “The One Who Scores” in Russian, is the Official Mascot of 2018.


However, did you know that mascots are recent invention having only been established in 1996? Here’s a closer look into how World Cup mascots have advanced since its beginnings.


1966 – England – World Cup Willie

World Cup Willie of 1966 was a lion; the very first mascot was created by Reg Hoye, who is also popularly known for illustrating some of Enid Blyton books.


1970 – Mexico – Juanito

Juanito, wearing green Mexico kit and a sombrero represented the average football fans in Mexico in 1970.


1974 – Germany – Tip and Tap

Just like Mexico, Germany in 1974 decided to dedicate all football fans by using two boys as mascots symbolizing a united Germany, by that time Germany had already split in West and East.


1978 – Argentina – Gauchito

Quiet similar to Juanito, Gauchito was the Official Mascot in 1970, but the only difference is that he wears Argentinian colours and neckerchief.


1982 – Spain – Naranjito

World Cup 1982 mascot was not a human one, but an orange fruit, Naranjito, synonymous with Spain. His round appearance and resemblances to football was humorous side to its design. 


1986 – Mexico – Pique

Once again Mexico held cup in 1986 which was criticized for stereotyping the Mexican people. Pique, jalapeño pepper, a popular part of their cuisine was the mascot with a moustache and sombrero gave a humorous sense. 


1990 – Italy – Ciao

In 1990, Italy decided to go different and came up with a stick figure with Italian flag colours and a football for a head. This was the first time in football world cup, where football held an important role in design.


1994 – USA – Striker (The World Cup Pup)

Designed by Warner Brothers, 1994 mascot was simply a dog, a popular domestic pet, wearing red, white and blue American Flag.


1998 – France – Footix

The traditional symbol of France, Cockerel was the official mascot in the colours of French flag holding a football.


2002 – South Korea and Japan – Ato, Kaz, and Nik (The Spheriks)

For the first time, official mascots were computerized and futuristic. The three mascots were Ato (orange/yellow), coach and Nik (blue) and Kaz (purple) are the players for fictional sport of “Atmoball”.


2006 – Germany – Goleo VI (sidekick – Pille)

Targeted for younger audience, 2006 mascot was Goleo, the lion and a talking football, Pille.


2010 – South Africa – Zakumi

The animal mascot trend continued for 2010, a leopard Zakumi, coloured in yellow and green to signify South Africa where ZA stands for South Africa and Kumi for several African languages.


2014 – Brazil – Fuleco

After six Brazilian agencies were tasked with coming up with mascot for 2014 World Cup, Fuleco, the armadillo won. Brazil depicted the environmental issues through this design where the armadillo, vulnerable, combined the word football and ecology in Portuguese to name Fuleco.


2018 – Russia – Zabivaka

The 2018 World Cup tournament mascot is Zabivaka, created by Yekaterina Bocharova and was selected by over 1 million Russians voting for it and was revealed on live television.


The designs may be evolving constantly, but one thing remains constant through all these years, the unshakeable passion for football. Let’s fire up this 2018 World Cup fever!