The World Cup is serious business but there’s also a lighter side to the tournament with plenty of quirky facts and stories surrounding World Cup teams and players.
Here are 5 of the quirkiest facts pertaining to the Cup.
1 – Mo Salah’s Presidential Votes
Egyptian star Mohamed Salah is so popular in Egypt, he received the second highest vote in the Egyptian presidential elections.
The fact the Liverpool English Premier League star wasn’t an official candidate didn’t perturb the football loving Egyptian public who deliberately spoilt their voting ballots by writing down his name.
The 25-year-old, who booted 43 goals across all competitions, collected more than 1 million votes equating to 5 percent of the popular vote.
Remarkably, that was the second highest voting percentage behind the President’s vote.
2 – Football names
From ‘Coffee Growers’ to the ‘Team of the Castles’ to ‘Dynamite’, there’s an array of quirky nicknames amongst the 32 teams in Russia.
Known as ‘Los Cafeteros’, Colombia are ‘The Coffee Growers’, Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal are the ‘Team of the Castles’ (Seleccao das Quinas) while one of Australia’s Group C foes Denmark are known as the ‘Danish Dynamite’.
The most common nicknames are the ‘Eagles’ and ‘Lions’.
England (The Three Lions), Iran (Shirane Pars – The Lions of Persia), Morocco (Atlas Lions) and Senegal (Les Lions de la Teranga, The Lions of Teranga) have Lions in their nicknames while Nigeria (The Super Eagles), Poland (Polskie Orly – The Polish Eagles), Serbia (Orlovi, The Eagles) and Tunisia (Les Aigles de Carthage, The Eagles of Carthage) all have Eagles in their nicknames.
Australia’s ‘Socceroos’ nickname not surprisingly, has the only Kangaroo infused in their nickname.
3 – Mexico’s record losses
Mexican fans will be nervous when their country faces World Cup heavyweights Germany with the Mexicans holding the unwanted record of having the most number of World Cup losses with 25.
Another defeat to Germany or to Group C opponents Sweden or South Korea, will see the Mexicans notch their 26th loss in Cup history.
4 – Baby Boom
Fans of the winning country tend to celebrate long and hard after a World Cup triumph and the World Cup winning country is rumoured to see a baby boom 9 months after the World Cup.
Brazil are the favourites to take out this year’s Cup in Russia, so if Neymar and the Brazilians can lift the trophy, there could be a baby boom in Brazil in 9 months’ time!
5 – Half of World’s Population to watch Cup?
If this year’s World Cup gets an expected increase in fans across the world tuning in to watch the Cup, then half of the World’s population could be watching this year’s Cup.
In the last World Cup in 2014, more than 3.2 billion people watched the Cup, which is almost half of the world’s population.
Millions more are expected to watch this year’s tournament!
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