Friday, 30 May 2014

The 10 best names at the World Cup

Once I had the idea to write this piece, I was dismayed to see that Bwin had already beaten me to it. They've got a couple of the obvious ones, such as Carlo Costly and the gloriously monikered Yeltsin Tejada. However, in my opinion there were some pretty key omissions from their list, so here's an alternative Top 10 Best-Named Players at Brazil 2014.
Costa Rica and Alajuelense
You genuinely cannot beat a reserve goalie from an exotic nation who sounds like he has every chance of being cast as the next Dr Who. Or, as suggested by @GavHutchinson: "Right Arm, Fast (Vauxhall End)". That is also spot on. Patrick Pemberton: the most dashing, debonair name at Brazil 2014.

2) Frickson Erazo 
Ecuador and Flamengo
Wow! A name that is as satisfying to say as it is wonderful to gawp at. Frickson Erazo. FRICKSON Erazo. Frickson ERAZO. He sounds like man in a Vic & Bob sketch, perhaps a visiting cousin of Vic's from the Tropics, who keeps a bread-stick behind his ear for no apparent reason and carries a bright green tree-frog around in a Tupperware box with air holes. 
USA and Rosenborg
Notoriously debauched Scandinavian hard house DJ, best known for releasing a banging compilation CD every summer.
Bosnia and Elazigspor
I'm refusing to call him anything other than "Onion Bhajis". Just you try and stop me.

5) Serey Die 
Ivory Coast and Basel
An appealing figure, during his career he has: 1) cancelled his own contract; 2) been sent home from his new club after the president saw him in action and assumed they'd hired the wrong man; 3) been suspected of match-fixing; 4) slapped a 13-year-old ballboy in the face resulting in an eight-match ban. I like him already. He's also a midfield enforcer called Die. 

- "Hi, looks like you'll be marking me today, what's your name?" 
- "Die!"
- "Hey, take it easy pal, game's not even started yet... Jeez, this guy's a loony."
Ghana and Esperance
You just know the poor sod's going to score a calamitous own goal and have endless "awful" and (for those trying to be more original) "offal" puns made on his name. I'm hoping, like his Indiana Jones namesake, he runs as if being chased by a massive runaway boulder.

7) Waylon Francis 
Costa Rica and Columbus Crew
Easily the most 'hick' name at the tournament, how delicious it would be if the boy Waylon becomes one of its surprise stars. It could only be better if he was called Cletus. The name Waylon also makes me think of Steve Earle's character in The Wire, so bonus points there.

8) Fred 
Brazil and Fluminense
- "Hi, I'm the main striker for host nation Brazil. I am, essentially, a figurehead for a troubled nation's hopes."
- "Wow, you must have a really exotic name like Rivelino, Ronaldinho and all those other brilliant -inhos, right?"
- "Well, not so much."
- "Oh. Well I assume you're blessed with astonishingly silky skills then?"
- "Nope. I'm pretty functional to be honest."
- "I have to admit, I'm feeling pretty underwhelmed by this conversation. What is your name then?"
- "Fred."
- "Fredinho?"
- "It's just Fred."

9) Mohamed Lamine Zemmamouche 
Algeria and USM Alger
Zemmamouche! Zemmamouche! Will you do the fandango?

10) Mehrdad Pooladi 
Iran and Persepolis
Look, I've resisted including Miguel Angel Ponce in this list. I've avoided the temptation to chuck assorted Bums, Suks and Dongs from the South Korea squad in here, but I'm not so mature that I can resist a man called Pooladi. Plenty of great jokes start with a "poo" and so does his name. His name is sometimes spelt "Pouladi" with a "u". If you spell it that way then you are just the worst. Unless the BBC and various others have deliberately misspelt it for a giggle, in which case we are just the worst. Either way: "Pooladi woah-oh-oh, Pooladi woah-oh-oh..."


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