Time For Some World Cup Nightmare Fuel

It may be the world's most popular sporting event, but the World Cup has a dismal record when it comes to host nation mascots. We had forgotten just how dismal until reader Bernd Wilms of Düsseldorf, Germany, sent us a collection of them dating to 1974. So in case you thought that Germany's current World Cup mascot, Goleo the (we think) Lion was the most pointless and confusing in recent history, we present this rogue's gallery and beg to differ. True, Goleo looks disturbingly like the Masturbating Bear from Late Night with Conan O'Brien, and the object he's holding begs the question "where's the rest of the body?" But get a load of the following:

• As bad as Goleo is, nothing makes us want to tear our hair out in clumps like Germany's 1974 mascot duo, Tip and Tap. We're not sure which is which, or why their shirts don't fit. We just know that in real life, there would never be a school day when they weren't throughly beaten up.

Gauchito is cute, and his family is flush due to the Puma endorsement. Not sure what demographic they were aiming at, however.

• Oh Christ, make it stop. We promise we'll never do drugs again. (Spain, 1982).

• Nothing says national pride like a Tijuana gift shop figurine. (Mexico 1986).

• "It was a horrible crash, officer. He drove right through the railroad crossing and all that's left is this ball." (Italy 1990).

• Disturbing, evil and quite possibly radioactive, a good example of when night terrors are committed to paper. (Japan/South Korea, 2002).

Save us, Keggy! You're our only hope!