Here's your exclusive guide to the team nicknames of the teams participating in the 2010 World Cup set to kick off this Friday from South Africa. Background explanation provided if merited.
South Africa- Bafana Bafana- it means "the boys, the boys" in Zulu, one of the 11 official languages of the host country
Mexico- El Tri- as in the tricolored national flag.
Uruguay- Los Charruas- an indigeneous people who once resided in the area now occupied by Uruguay, northern Argentina and southern Brazil before the arrival of Spanish explorers in the 16th century.
France- Les Bleus- "The Blues" after their signature home jerseys or alternatively what the Irish are singing after the "Hand of Gaul" goal by Thierry Henry that sees them at home this summer.
Argentina- La Albiceleste- team colors (this is a recurring theme already), white and sky blue. Anyone else secretly rooting for the Argies just to see if Maradona honors his commitment to streak through Buenos Aires?
Nigeria- The Super Eagles
Greece- The Pirate Ship- because they stole not only the opening match but also the final from the Portuguese at the Euro 2004 finals. Suggestion to the Greeks, find another nickname.
South Korea- Taegeuk Warriors, Tigers of Asia or the Red Devils- the Taegeuk symbol, representing ying and yang, features prominently in the center of the South Korean flag.
U.S.A.- The Yanks- I would personally prefer Sam's Army.
England- The Three Lions- i.e. Rooney, Lampard, Terry
Algeria- The Desert Foxes- I thought that was Rommel, dangerous opponent be careful USA.
Slovenia- nothing, no nickname, but they could garner one and a lot of attention for this small alpine nation if they make noise in this group.
Germany- Die Mannschaft- means literally "the team", not sure what the German translation would be for "the team that might be unexpectedly knocked out in the first round in a real tough group especially because there best player, Michael Ballack, is out with injury" maybe schiesse.
Australia- Socceroos- who doesn't like Kangeroos, the adorable creatures native down under or those sweet sneakers with the pocket on the side circa 1988.
Ghana- The Black Stars- if Mos Def and Talib Kweli had a favorite soccer team this would be it.
Serbia- White Eagles
Holland- Clockwork Orange, Oranje, The Flying Dutchmen- could we bring back the long hair, the headbands and the short shorts. Total football, I love it and love the country and not just cause of the tolerant attitude of marijuana.
Japan- Samurai Blue- leave the Hanzo's at home lads, they don't qualify as carry on luggage and you'll be home soon anyway.
Cameroon- The Indomitable Lions- i.e. Roger Milla, Rigobert Song
Denmark- Danish Dynamite, Olsen's Eleven- the coach has been there long enough (10 years) to get his name into the team nickname, that's dedication.
Italy- Azzurri- named for the traditional color of their home jerseys. The defenders return with essentially the same squad from 4 years ago, only problem everyone is 4 years older, slower, less likely to repeat their collective success.
Paraguay- Guaranies, La Albiroja- the indigenous and still existent population in Paraguay. Also see: much better than everyone thinks and likely to win the group if Italy drops the Jabulani.
New Zealand- All Whites- I suppose that differentiates them from the Rugby team known as the All Blacks. In fact only shot the Kiwis might have is if the All Blacks come out and scare away the competition with the Haka.
Slovakia- no nickname as of yet. Might I suggest "the country formerly known as the Slovakia in Czechoslovakia"
Brazil- A Selecao- or how about o melhor equipo do mundo. Seriously their running out of room on the jersey for another world cup star. Qualified for every World Cup, five titles, Samba, scantily-clad women.
Portugal- Seleccao das Quinas- refers to the five shields inside the Portuguese shield, try to catch a glimpse of it while Ronaldo is flailing to the ground once again. Such a great player, such a bad actor.
North Korea- Choilima- nothing else is known about this team for fear of reprisal from the regime. No joke, North Korea's manager tried to designate attacker Kim Myong-Won as the team's third keeper but FIFA ruled that is where he must play should he ever enter a game in South Africa.
Ivory Coast- The Elephants Africa's best squad drawn into the tournament's toughest group. If Drogba can play they might just give rise to the entire continent with an upset over one of the top dogs.
Spain- La Furia Roja- the red fury. Not so much on the international stage until recent triumph at Euro 2008 which was part of an unprecedented undefeated run of two and half years. Expectations, and wagers, are now higher than ever.
Honduras- Los Catrachos- Honduras and El Salvador fought a war over two hotly contested matches back in 1969, lucky for the Swiss and Spanish they don't have much of a Navy. Chile, consider yourself warned.
Switzerland- Le Nati, Schweizer Nati- it translates as the national team in French, German, Italian or Romansh. Two things are certain about this team, they'll be on time for all their matches and won't be at all bothered by the altitude at some of the South African venues.
Chile- La Roja- Just the Reds, no fury here. Good young players, the best Argentine coach in the tourney, lots to gain for a serious run at 2014 or maybe 2010.