Don’t Pjanic! It’s The Funniest Names at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil

The 2014 World Cup of soccer is just around the corner, starting with a match between hosts Brazil and challengers Croatia this Thursday. The World Cup is always a special occasion, which we particularly celebrate here at the Blog of Funny Names, as it brings together some of the finest names in the world of sport from all around the world.

Here are some of the top pickings from this year’s crop of players (plus a coach or two).

We begin with the most punnable name of all, the surprisingly quick Italian striker Ciro Immobile. Expect the commentators to relish that one. Runners-up in this category are Bosnian midfielder Miralem Pjanic, who can instill a sense of urgent unease among any defense, and Belgium’s Eden Hazard, who is considered one of the more dangerous attackers in the tournament. You’ll also have to excuse Ghana’s Christian Atsu.

Ange Postecoglou doesn't think there's anything funny about his name. Do you? Mmhmm.

Ange Postecoglou doesn’t think there’s anything funny about his name. Do you? Mmhmm.

Speaking of commentators, one of the most fun parts of watching the World Cup if you don’t actually care about sports is hearing the announcers struggle with the hard, long, exotic names. This year these names include :

  • Lazaros Christodoulopoulos
  • Sokratis Papastathopoulos, both from Greece
  • Reza Ghoochannejad with the Iran squad, and
  • Timmy Chandler, USA.

Just kidding with that last one. The US team is a bit short of funny names this year, but at least there’s Mix Diskerud and a guy named Jozy.

My favorite names tend to be the ones that are super fun to say, where the name works well as just a general exclamation of joy. These names definitely fall in to that category :

  • Mohamed Zemmamouche, Algeria
  • Vincent Aboubakar, Cameroon
  • Michael Babatunde, Nigeria
  • Boubacar Barry, Ivory Coast
  • Moussa Dembele, Belgium


The Brazil team has always had the great players of the world, with exotic names such as PeléRomario or Garrincha. This year, their team is again the favorites, and contains such tongue twisters as Hulk, Maxwell, and Fred.

Yes, seriously, Fred.

In the most German name competition, finalists Volker Finke and Bastian Schweinsteiger both deliver the goods, but the latter is irresistible.

If you’re more into mythical creatures that devour all they face with a breath of fire, maybe Colombia’s Faryd Mondragon will float your funny name boat.

Or maybe you’re more of a Wilfried Bony type. Who isn’t, really? The Ivorian strikes definitely has one of my favorite names of the tournament.

Wilfried isn't so bony.

Wilfried isn’t so bony.

In the “reasonably hard to spell” category, we find these guys :

  • Azubuike Egwuekwe, Nigeria
  • Cedric Djeugoue, Cameroon
  • Ognjen Vranjes, Bosnia

Australian coach Ange Postecoglou is the funniest named coach, Belgium’s Romelu Lukaku has the best syllabic consistency in his name, and for full names, it’s hard to beat Jean-Daniel Dave Lewis Akpa Akpro of Ivory Coast.

Special mention is owed to the South Korea team, which has 5 players named Kim, 4 named Lee and another 4 with the name Park, making up 52% of their entire team with just those three names. Good luck telling them apart, commentators.

Finally, I was delighted to find that worldwide pop sensation Xherdan Shaqiri is turning out for Switzerland in the World Cup. That should make everyone happy.

Did I miss your favorite? Point it out in the comments! Stay tuned for more silly World Cup coverage in the weeks ahead.






About Arto

Co-founder of the Funny Names Blog, Hawaiian shirt enthusiast, and holder of a funny name himself with too many vowels for any sensible person. Currently residing in San Diego, California, scouring through obscure documents on a hunt for more funny names.
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17 Responses to Don’t Pjanic! It’s The Funniest Names at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil

  1. marksackler says:

    Ciro Immobile, a player? Really/ I always thought that was an aria from Rigoletto.

  2. Dave says:

    Wilfried Bony! What a name!!

  3. ksbeth says:

    this is a fantastic list of amazing names. i’m quite sure immobile spent his life working to prove his name to be wrong.

  4. kerbey says:

    I don’t know anything about World Cups, but speaking of cups, I’m amazed by these two boobs: Aboubakar and Boubacar. I’m pretty sure that’s also the name of a West African comic strip duo, kind of like Calvin and Hobbes.

    I thought -opoulos meant “son of,” like George Stephanopoulos is son of Stephan, but then does that make Lazaros Christodoulopoulos the son of Christ O’Doul (a non-alcoholic Christian beer), and one who is risen from the dead at that? He should be able to perform some miracles on the field.

    • Arto says:

      Christ O’Doul sounds like the kind of exclamation ol’ folksy Dave might have made when finding out his beer is non-alcoholic. That’s real good. I don’t know about the etymology there because typing that many letters into a search would probably break Google.

      The Two Boubs. It could also be a hit comedy team in the realm of the Three Stooges. Strong material.

  5. wdydfae says:

    Hey I thought I read and liked and commented on this one already! That must have been the FNitN post.

    This one just whizzed right by me.


    • Arto says:

      It must have. I cunningly switched it up by posting Friday super early and Monday super dooper late. Whizzed that one right past ya!

  6. Pingback: Neymar Stuns at The World Cup, a Blandino Draft Class, and Funny Names in the News 85 | The Blog of Funny Names

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