Now that every team has played at least one game, it is time to do a serious evaluation of aspect of the games...particularly the best names involved in the tournament. Some guidelines in determining these names is required and there are three important aspects to a name: first, it must be fun to say; second, does it have some humorous, unusual, or unintended meaning; and, third, did the player have a good showing thus far in the Cup. Here is my starting XI and honorable mentions along with explanations. I'm going with a 3-4-3 lineup because there were not a lot of defenders to choose from.
Shaka Hislop, T&T—the Trinidad & Tobago keeper is a must have for his gutty performance in a draw against Sweden and how fun it is to say his name quickly and repeatedly. SHAKAHISLOP!SHAKAHISLOP!!SHAKAHISLOP!!!
Defenders – frankly, there were not a lot of options for this position.
Cafu, Brazil—a defender who goes by merely one name has to be included in this list.
Giovanni Van Bronckhorst, the Netherlands—when somebody says “Van Bronckhorst clears,” it makes you want to say Gesundheit.
Oguchi Onyewu—merely a fun name to say. It is like a rollercoaster ride, “Ooo-guuu-chiiiii! On-yeee-wu!!!!.”
Bastian Schweinsteiger, Germany—It may not seem like a great name but his last name loosely translates to Pig Climber.
Gilles Yapi Yapo, Cote D'ivorie—How fun is it to say Yapi Yapo?
Kaka, Brazil—This may be my favorite name. It’s fun to say and it looks like it is pronounced like caca—the Spanish word for poop.
Fred, Brazil—This is a very interesting name only because it is so out of the ordinary for a Brazilian soccer name. Think, “Ronaldinho passes to Kaka, Kaka knocks it to Ronaldo, and Ronaldo drops it off to Fred.”
Stern John, T&T—It’s great when your last name is a first name and your first name is an adjective.
Luca Toni, Italy—it just rolls off your tongue.
Omar Bravo—This is a very appropriate name for a goal scorer. When you score the fans chant Bravo! Bravo! Bravo!
Coach – Otto Pfister, Togo-really? He's a Pfister and his coaching saga with Togo is amazingly humorous, as is his wardrobe selection (see left). I like the shirt open to the navel and blue jeans on the World Cup sideline.
Oliver Kahn, GK Germany—Whether you support or oppose the German side, you can always have fun yelling KAHN!!! whenever he does something great/bad.
Oswaldo Sanchez, GK Mexico—Oswaldo is just a funny name.
Dejan Stankovic, M S&M—when he played poorly, he really stank it up.
Update 6:06 p.m, 6/17/06: Just found this post that talks about the best names of the World Cup.