Only six times has the FIFA World Cup of Soccer featured an animal mascot. Let’s check out this mascot sextet and roar along with them and the crowd!
World Cup Willie – England, 1966
World Cup Willie wasn’t just the first World Cup animal mascot, he was the first World Cup mascot period! Willie, an anthropomorphic cartoon-style representation of the British Lion, was created by commercial artist Reg Hoye in advance of the eighth staging of the World Cup held in England from July 11th through 30th of 1966. Though Willie was extremely successful (as were the host team), it would be nearly three decades before another animal assumed the onerous responsibilities and duties of an official FIFA World Cup mascot. (images via David in Lisburn above and Alexander Johmann at top)
Striker – USA, 1994
The 15th FIFA World Cup took place from June 17th through July 17th of 1994 with games spread across nine cities in the United States. It was perhaps expected that the USA, after reaping a marketing bonanza at the Los Angeles Summer Olympic Games a decade earlier, would drop the ball with their 1994 official World Cup mascot. “Striker, the World Cup Pup” was neither appealing nor memorable despite being designed by the Warner Bros. animation team; seemingly he was just a two-dimensional average dog outfitted in an American team uniform. (image via Kyle T.)