Regardless of who qualified, who narrowly missed out and who didn’t have a hope in hell, there’s still everything to fight for. Which nation’s fans will be crowned the loudest? Whose will be the prettiest? And which countries will be conspicuous by their absence?
2. The World’s Most Annoying Fans
In 2010, South Africa introduced the world to the vuvuzela. These elongated kazoos were fun for five minutes – and then they just became really annoying. South Africa won’t be at the World Cup this year, but their legacy may live on in the honk of 100,000 vuvuzelas.
3. The World’s Most Colourful Fans
4. At the 2014 World Cup, Ghana’s fans will surely be the brightest…
5. …Unless you include the Dutch, whose sea of orange may cause viewers to feel seasick.
6. Pro tip: Dress as garishly as you like for the World Cup, but don’t feel constrained by your team colours. This Portuguese fan has got the right idea:
7. The World’s Most Travelled Fans
To watch their team in Brazil, South Korean supporters will have to travel a whopping 11,000 miles. In fairness, South Korea did enjoy automatic qualification and home advantage when it co-hosted the 2002 World Cup with Japan. The two nations don’t seem so chummy these days, after South Korean fans unfurled a political banner denouncing the Japanese occupation during a recent match between the sides.
8. The World’s Most Tolerant Fans
Spare a thought for the minnows who won’t be appearing at the 2014 World Cup or any other World Cup this century. This is the national stadium of Bhutan, ranked 207th in the world. Their record defeat? A 20-goal gubbing at the hands of Kuwait.
9. The World’s Most Excitable Fans
Poland won’t be at the World Cup either after a 1-0 defeat to Ukraine put paid to their qualification prospects. It’s a shame as their fans would have had a ball in Brazil. At club level, Polish supporters are known for their exuberance, including these Lech Poznań fans who can be seen bringing the ruckus – AT AN UNDER 12s MATCH.
10. It’s not just supporters who get carried away – even pets have been known to catch football fever:
11. The World’s Wildest Fans
There’s good-time-party wild and then there’s burn-the-stadium-to-the-ground wild. These Boca Juniors fans fall firmly into the latter category thanks to their all-consuming passion for football.
After River Plate scored in the Superclasico derby, Boca supporters responded by throwing flares at the opposing fans and setting fire to the stand. On June 15th, the bitter rivals will be rooting for the same side when Argentina start their World Cup campaign. Things could get heated.
12. The World’s Funniest Fans
Germans? Funny? Yes, you read that right. After fourth division club side FC Magdeburg suffered a lengthy goal drought, their fans dreamed up an ingenious way of showing their team the route to goal.
Lazio’s Miroslav Klose may be 35 years old, but the talismanic striker should require little help in finding the back of the net at what will be his final World Cup. Should the Germans be eliminated in the group stages, however, it’s good to know their fans will see the funny side of it.
14. Which country boasts the world’s most attractive fans – the Brazilians? Spanish? Italians? No, that honour must surely go to the English.
Still, at least they made it to the World Cup, which is more than can be said for the Scots. The long-suffering Tartan Army deserve some kind of award, if only for their good behaviour and um… sense of style?