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Fuleco was announced as the mascot for the 2014 Football World Cup on the 25th of November 2012. Fuleco is a combination of the Portuguese words Futebol (football) and Ecologia (ecology). The character is a cartoon-like representation of the Brazilian three-banded armadillo.
In January of 2012 the Caatinga Association, an environmental NGO, proposed using the three-banded armadillo as the 2014 Football World Cup mascot. This proposal was accepted by FIFA in March of that year.
A total of 47 proposals were submitted to FIFA for the World Cup mascot by Brazilian design agencies. The designs were tested with Brazilian children, and a design from the firm 100%Design eventually proved to be the most popular and appealing character.
A few different names were considered for the mascot including Amijubi (a combination of the Portuguese words for friendship and joy) and Zuzeco (derived from the words for blue and ecology). An open vote was held to decide the name of the mascot, with 48% of Brazilians selecting Fuleco in a vote that 1.7 million Brazilians participated in.
Fuleco is intended to bring environmental awareness to the 2014 Football World Cup, and the mascot represents a species which is currently considered vulnerable by the IUCN. Fuleco’s environmental theme is consistent with attempts to make the 2014 Football World Cup the most environmentally friendly in the history of the tournament.
• The Brazilian three-banded armadillo is one of two species of armadillo that can roll into a ball, one of the features that made it a suitable candidate for the World Cup mascot
• This species of armadillo is found only in eastern Brazil on a narrow band of territory just below the equator
• 89% of Brazilians were able to recognize the mascot within just two days of his launch
• The mascot already has his own Brazilian nickname, and is also known as ‘tatu bola’
• Fuleco has already been active in preparations for the 2014 World Cup, travelling around the country to promote the tournament and even assisting in planting turf at new World Cup stadiums
• Fuleco has also travelled overseas for appearances in London and Zurich
Now that you’ve met Fuleco, find out more about the 2014 Football World Cup match ball from Addidas.