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Armadillo chosen as 2014 World Cup mascot
Published : 19 Sep 2012 11:47:11
Brazil has chosen an armadillo as the mascot for the 2014 World Cup, football's world governing body FIFA has revealed, although the cartoon creature has yet to be named.
"I'm delighted to welcome such an important member to the 2014 team," said legendary Brazil striker Ronaldo, who is now on the local organising committee for the competition.
"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 three-banded armadillo, which is indigenous to Brazil and known as the "tatu-bola", is an endangered species. Its cartoon likeness wears a white "Brazil 2014" t-shirt and green shorts and has its own official song.
FIFA said in a statement on its website fifa.com that they and organisers analysed 47 different designs from six different Brazilian agencies and researched how they were received by the main target audience of children aged five to 12.
The governing body's secretary-general, Jerome Valcke, said the choice of the endangered armadillo was "very fitting", as one of the tournament's main aims was to raise awareness about the environment and ecology.
The armadillo mascot currently does not have a name but Brazilians will get a chance to vote on one of three possibilities: Amijubi, Fuleco or Zuzeco.
World Cup mascots of previous tournaments include cuddly lion World Cup Willie for the 1966 edition in England, Zakumi the leopard for South Africa 2010 and Naranjito the cartoon orange for Spain 1982.