Brazil 2014 Unveils Armadillo as World Cup Mascot

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The armadillo will be named in November (FIFA)
(WFI) The three-banded armadillo is the official mascot of the Brazil 2014 World Cup. It will be named Amijubi, Fuleco or Zuzeco after a public vote.

World Cup organisers launched the mascot as part of Brazilian broadcaster TV Globo’s weekly Fantástico entertainment show on Sunday, where he was welcomed by Brazilian football legend Ronaldo, who is a member of the organizing committee’s management board.

The three-banded armadillo is indigenous to Brazil. It’s one of only two species of armadillo that can roll into a ball.
“I’m delighted to welcome such an important member to the 2014 team,” said Ronaldo.

“The mascot will play a key ambassadorial role in the next two years. I’m sure he will inspire many young football fans in Brazil and all over the world with the great passion which he has for the sport and for his country.”

The mascot’s launch followed a week of activities in which the mascot made a series of unofficial visits all over Brazil, according to FIFA.

This tour included the distribution of 2014 blue balls representing the armadillo’s unique blue shell on the Boa Viagem beach in Recife and introductions to Brazilian football fans through digital appearances during several live football broadcasts.

The Brazil 2014 mascot has his own official song, “Tatu Bom de Bola”, sung by Brazilian music star Arlindo Cruz.

The final mascot design was chosen by FIFA and World Cup organisers after a review of 47 different proposals created by six different Brazilian agencies. Brazilian children aged 5 to 12 were also surveyed for their opinions, with the favourite being the armadillo, created by 100% Design.

“The fact that the three-banded armadillo is a vulnerable species is very fitting,” said FIFA secretary general Jérôme Valcke.
“One of the key objectives through the 2014 FIFA World Cup is to use the event as a platform to communicate the importance of the environment and ecology. We are glad to be able to do so with the help of a mascot who I’m sure will be much-loved, not only in Brazil, but all over the world.”

The mascot has yet to be named. The Brazilian population get the chance to give the armadillo a name by taking part in a public voting process running until the middle of November.

The three options, which were decided upon after a vote by a high-profile judging panel including Brazilian legend Bebeto are Amijubi – a representation of friendliness and joy – and two names which link to the ecological message, Fuleco and Zuzeco.

The name will be announced on Nov. 25.

South Africa 2010's mascot was a yellow and green leopard called Zakumi, which was popular among football fans and sold well as part of the World Cup merchandising effort.

Last month, the official match ball for the Brazil World Cup was named the Brazuca. Made by adidas, the name was revealed by FIFA and Brazil 2014 organisers after a public vote by over one million Brazilians. “Brazuca” is an informal phrase used to describe national pride in the Brazilian way of life and is said to symbolise emotion, pride and goodwill to all.

By INSIDER’s Mark Bisson

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