World Cup of Handsome
And I'm back. I've dug myself out of the lazy hazy days of June and July aka The World Cup of Handsome. Sleepless nights and hungover mornings, all of which things I never thought my 31-year old body could handle, but I did.
Did I think I would be this into the world cup? of course not. I don't know half of what happens in the sport (although I do know a lot more than I used to now), but I do know that the spectrum of handsome in my brain has widened so much now. Not just physically but in skill. The more goals you make? The more handsome you get. The more goals you stop, the hotter you grow in my eyes.
And so this will not be a list of actual good players, but a subjective list of good-looking players in my eyes. Because though I've been quiet on the blog (and the podcast), my heart has been burning brightly offline. Welcome to the World Cup of Handsome.
I don't think I even saw Federico Fazio play but one thing I love about the World Cup is the amount of facial hair that goes around. There's a lot of different kinds and this full beard is my favorite. You will also notice a pattern here. This is pretty much the number one common denominator for 90% of this list. Beards.
Then there's his hair and his eyebrows -- clearly, hair is a big deal here. I am all in for it. I'm not very familiar with the Italian league but A.S. Roma, here I come.
And because beards come in all shapes and sizes, here we have one of the craziest beards of the World Cup from Mile Jedinak, whom we didn't see too much because Australia didn't make it to the Top 16. I feel like if Jonathan Van Ness of Queer Eye watched the World Cup, seeing this beard would render him struggs to func because this beard is the wildest.
But still, whenever Jedinak would come out with that beard, he was hard to not watch. I didn't know the team Aston Villa existed but now, I definitely want to check them out.
Runners Up: There isn't much competition for crazy beards in this team but Leckie has a very hipster moustache (and a handsome face)
Hot damn this team. I was asked to choose 3 teams to support and Belgium was one of them because goodness, they do not run out of cuties. Little did I realize they were actually a good team.
I'll start with Jan Vertonghen, age-appropriate match for me with just enough facial hair to get me going. Also, he's married with 2 kids and such a wonderful father as his Instagram shows, but that's not the point. The point is, he's a cutie and he's 31 and I can watch him be talented and handsome all day long.
And because let's be honest, Belgium brought me the hotties, there was Mousa Dembele who I did not see enough. Why was he not played enough? I hear he's good so why waste the handsome on the sidelines?
Look at that face. The eyebrows. That side of the head shave. I could mirror this photo and just stare at him all damn day. I'm very excited to see Dembele and Vertonghen play for the Tottenham Spurs now. Clearly, my team has been chosen for me already.
Let's be honest, the main reason I got into this ENTIRE FIFA thing is because my cousin Acid told me to google the words Chadli and Cosmo. I highly recommend this practice. When you're feeling down and blue, just google those two words together and I'm guaranteeing a brighter day for everyone. Go on. Do it. I encourage you to do so. You may leave this page. I hope you come back. But if you don't, I won't blame you. Chadli does this.
It doesn't hurt that he actually scored during pivotal moments of the match and brought some points in for his team. If this man could play shirtless, it would cure hunger. I wish it were the case. Instead, we are to be grateful for the beard + man bun. I really have never heard of his club but I guess now I'll have to research him a bit more.
Runners-Up: De Bruyne because even if he goes against everything i deem to be handsome (pale and no beard) there’s something adorable about him. Also Lukaku because holy shit. When he runs. I am watching that back and those legs. Yes please. Courtois, I admit was also very attractive to me. Until I read about him leaving his pregnant Wife. Not cool, bruh.
And now begins my love for goalies. Alisson Becker is handsome. Beard: check. Looks cute holding kids: check. The only downside, he’s got pretty bad skin. I feel for him because he most probably has a team of people making sure he looks good. So the fact that skincare is a problem means it runs deep.
I’m not picky though. That fierceness. The biting? I’m in for this shit. I don’t know much about Liverpool, but I sure do want to learn more now.
I’ve never seen someone so aggressive on the field as Falcao. And though I admit, I prefer the good guys to the bad ones, sometimes you need someone to break the rules. Also, he reminds me of the other guy from The Walking Dead. Not the lead guy, the other guy that was a great sidekick and was probably going to break the rules to survive.
I honestly thought he was going to beat someone up on the field but he somehow restrained himself. I do wish for more beard but the lack of beard (though you can tell that scruff is a nice foundation for a big beard) is made up for by the passion. And boy, does he have a lot of that. So go on with the over effusive reactions to any calls from the referees, just don't get red-carded. I would not mind seeing more of you.
Runners Up: I didn't really follow the Colombian team as much as I probably should have, but Cuadrado for that very good smile and Zapata because I am a sucker for a great grin. Why must there be so many leagues! How am I supposed to catch him in Milan?
It took me a while to find a good photo of Bryan Ruiz, but don't be fooled. The beard is there. And a smattering of tattoos just to add a cherry on top of this sundae. I also appreciate the 90s boyband haircut -- a bit long and a bit unkempt, and just the right length. I'm sometimes distracted though that they're not distracted by their hair flopping into their eyes as they play. Still, he looks like a little boy but the facial hair adds to the manliness.
And like most footballers, his Instagram account is filled with family photos and him dressed up or down. Either way, I approve. Too bad we didn't see too much of Costa Rica. I wouldn't have minded a bit more of them.
You're now going to see a slight pattern to the men featured on this list. They're most probably brunette, with a beard (either a slight one or a full one) and possibly multiple tattoos.
Coming up second place, team Croatia gave me Vedran Corluka. I also didn't give Croatia much attention until they started beating everyone from the Top 16. And I not-so secretly wanted them to cream. France in the finals but second place ain't bad for the team and Corluka is a good enough treat for me.
Runners-Up: I still appreciate a clean-faced cutie who looks awkward because he probably knows people think he's cute but he can't smile properly for the life of him and that's what Livakovic is. Also perennially in disbelief (or at least his facial expressions say so, Kramaric. Still, both cuties
I realize I didn't get to pay attention as much to many of the teams (and as I write this one, I can't believe I have 24 more teams to go through). But Denmark gave me a lot of options and I chose Lasse Schöne.
I'll give it to him -- this haircut is not the standard look of this year's event (that would be the shaved side, gel on top look). This one reminds me more of Beckham in the aughts, but he pulls it off. And the abundance of beard pushes me over the edge. So yes, I support you.
Runners-Up: because I can't resist a great smile, Jørgensen came a close second (and also, he's not afraid to show his abs) while Delaney can pretty much pass as an actor (or Mats Hummels' little brother). Either way, a win.
Hot damn, Salah. I wish we had seen more of you. Going against the norm of the usual shaved-sides, gel-ed on top, hair fare at the Cup, Mohamed Salah is rocking a fro that just fits him so well. It's just the right amount of styling on the field and a lot of primping off it to maintain this look. And I totally approve.
It also doesn't hurt that his smile is epic. He's always smiling and his full beard framing that gorgeous smile is just plus points all around. After much wiki-ing, I see he's from Liverpool, so it looks like I'll be seeing him a bit more than the others as I try my hand at the English Premier League.
Runners-Up: Who knew Egypt was where it's at. From Fathi (I really cannot resist a great smile), to Gaber (twinning fros with Saleh), to Ekramy (hunk of a man + goalkeeper + beard trifecta), to Said (styling in a suit and with just enough beard), this team is winning me over belatedly.
I had not initially been rooting for England, BUT my cousin and her husband who were the reason I even got into this in the first place were all for them, so it was hard NOT to root for this team and wish football would just come home.
Admittedly, there aren't a lot of beards on this team, but there was a lot in Ruben Loftus-Cheek (that name is a mouthful and I don't mind one bit). Look at the beard. Look at the legs. Look at that smile. You just can't go wrong. He didn't get as much time on the field as I'd have liked but when he was there, it was all smiles ahead.
And a special shout out goes to Gareth Southgate -- the best dressed and best bearded manager of the World Cup. I will give it to him and his iconic waist coast but also, he just looks like the most elegant man with that beard. The beard changes everything.
I saw older photos of him as a player sans beard and it was not the same. This is a gamechanger and clearly, he took the team to the semifinals and brought a nation together. I salute the styling. I am in love with the beard. I wish he had an Instagram.
Runners-Up: Kane, obviously, because Captain Kane and his golden boot (and beard) were all sorts of inspiring. Dele, even if I didn't get enough screen time (I like the leanness) and Lingard, even if he is possibly the most millenial of the bunch and is working that merch to death (his victory dances are the cutest).
Despite being the world champions (and they worked for it, I'm sure), my track record with the French hasn't been the best and so my opinions are definitely biased, but Hugo Lloris, goal keeper extraordinaire and keeper of my heart definitely won me over in his bright yellow attire, his team-captain-goodness and that facial hair that looks groomed to an inch of its life. Seriously, how many men can you say look phenomenal in head to toe bright ass yellow. Not a lot, I tell you.
It doesn't hurt that he's got the cutest Instagram filled with photos of his daughters and just his magnificent beard. Allez les bleus.
Runners-Up: Also, this entire team wins tightest kits because despite the fact that everyone in this sport has a banging body, nobody quite had the most well-fitting shirts as the French. These kits were tailored af. I don't blame them. Nzoni looks great in a tailored anything; Griezmann, looks like the boy next door if you lived in a fancy Parisian arrondissement, and Fekir is giving me all the Jake Gyllenhaal vibes and I am not complaining.
The other team I was betting on (I was allowed 3 teams), was Germany. Because of my newness to this sport, I didnt' realize they were the last World Cup's champions. I chose them because well, they had a lot of good looking men.
And because this list needs to move on, I'm focusing on Mats Hummels. He is not what I had in mind when I thought German team and yet, he is one of the reasons I went all in. It's too bad we did not see a lot of his beard, his dark gorgeous hair and damn that jawline. I don't think I'll be following the German league but I sure will be stalking his account (thank goodness for quite an active social media presence). He also reminds me of a very handsome version of Kevin Richardson from the Backstreet Boys but that's neither here nor there.
Runners-Up: Müller on the other hand, is exactly what a German would be like in my head except he's totally adorable and totally cute to me. I don't get why. He doesn't have a beard, and he doesn't have the dark hair, but I like him anyway. Neuer really reminds me of Paul Walker meets Taylor Kitsch. Khedira has that long face thing that I like. And of course, Trapp is a honey trap because that man is sweet as hell.
The third team of my picks is Iceland and not necessarily because of the hot guys (though there are, of course), but because the story of this team is adorable. I love the Viking clap. I love how some players have day jobs! And I just love how the country comes together to really support the hell out of the team.
And though it was glorious to see them beat Argentina (or rather draw with them), it was sad that they didn't make it very far. Maybe next time! For now, let's appreciate Gylfi Sigurdsson who definitely looks like a tall glass of water -- quench this thirst. He definitely looks super clean cut and just a smattering of scruff to go on. It also looks like his hair is NEVER ever out of place, but those arms are distracting and I honestly don't know what else to say. Let us take a moment to appreciate.
Runners-Up: Gislason because you don't get blue steel staring plus blonde man bun for the price of one. He is working it. And then there's Finnbogason, who smiles a bit more but also has a really sharp haircut. I guess they like it neat in Iceland. I would say yes to either, we all know this.
I did not see enough of Iran and now I'm wishing I did because after going through the player roster, there is a lot to watch out for. I don't usually go for the super pretty ones but it's hard to pass on Milad Mohammadi because everything about him is just screaming YES.
The photo there doesn't quite do him justice but it just proves that with or without a head full of hair or a complete scruff, he rocks both looks. And that jawline. Those eyes. How can one say no? You don't. You say yes, just like I say yes. Say yes to Milad. Peace out.
Runners-Up: Haji Safi because chiseled jawlines are always a good idea, I'd like to think as a general rule. Rezaeian because you've always got to have that wildcard with the wild hair -- he's giving Salah some competition. And some Jahanbakhsh because why not add some pretty in our lives
We know this team does not have the facial hair, but they have their own distinct something and their manliness just oozes off of them. I really wished they had gone further than they did for some Asian representation but I'm so proud of what they were able to do. In part thanks to Maya Yoshida and he is giving me major Ken Watanabe vibes. I like me some manly men and this dude ticks all the boxes for me.
Neat haircut without being too clean, just the right amount of scruff and very broad shoulders. Damn son, you're making me want to get lost in Japan again.
Runners-Up: This team was just so full of life and I couldn't help but root for Kagawa, in all his energetic glory (and also adorably cute), and the ever-smiling Hasebe, who definitely gave me cute older brother who you would totally crush on feels.
For a country filled with cuties, I was pretty surprised there weren't as many to choose from the team. However, that doesn't mean there wasn't any. In fact, the team played so valiantly that I really do wish they all get exempted from mandatory military service because they really brought it alongside Japan for Asian representation.
And it is without a doubt that my top pick goes to Son Hueng Min (who also plays for Tottenham) because he is just all sorts of cuteness. I felt every emotion he went through and I just wanted to give Sonny a hug by the end of it all. It was so heartbreaking but they gave it their all. I am definitely all in with him and the Spurs.
Runners-Up: Koo looks like he very tan older brother to Son and somehow I can imagine fic being written about an imagined bromance between these two oppas. Maybe I'll be writing it.
I did not think I would be this enamoured by goalies. They really do keep my heart and Guillermo Ochoa is no exception. Despite the clean face, he's giving me cherub vibes with that mane.
And he was quite good, too, keeping Germany from making any goals that first game (I was rooting for Germany) but man this guy made it hard to not root for Mexico when they were just giving it their all. Never cut your hair, Ochoa.
Runners-Up: I would not kick Ayala out of bed, at all. Though he's got the generic football hair (all gelled up and really really straight part), I would say his smile totally makes up for the hair.
And just to keep on with my strange attraction to goalies, we also have the smouldering looks from Munir El Kajoui. I definitely did not watch them enough or closely enough but this goalie has got it.
Lack of facial hair aside, he's got that serious look in his eyes that makes me think he means business. It's too bad they didn't get far, because I wouldn't mind close ups of this keeper at all.
Also, special shout out to the Morocco manager, Renard. Hot damn their manager is old but still got it. He was also angry all the time but I guess that's what managers mostly do. I actually googled him after and saw that he's got a lovely wife and family and looks nice when he smiles. Too bad he didn't do a lot of that at the World Cup.
Runners-Up: This team just kept on giving. From midfielder, Belhanda, who would probably rough me up (in the best way possible) to Ait Bennasser, who's clean cut but bad boy vibes is all I really need right now. Yes, please, Morocco.
I'll leave it to my friend Malini but I regret not giving the Africa teams as much attention as I could have, but Nigeria's William Ekong is a treat in itself.
I was supporting Iceland and though I wasn't a fan of Nigeria beating their ass in Game 2, I'll give it to Ekong and that chiselled face of his (and body) and just over-all gorgeous self. It's always tough when the team you're rooting for is up against a team of cute players. How am I supposed to choose, FIFA?
Runners-Up: And yes, it would have been crazy if Moses missed that goal, he still looked pretty darn cute with his cartwheel doing so. And the hair! I can imagine it takes a lot of maintenance (or none at all? how does men's hair work?!) so keep smiling, Moses. You look great.
This wasn't even a difficult choice. From the moment goalie, Jaime Penedo came out of that hallway, holding hands with a little kid and looking amazing, I knew I was dead. It's always so heart warming when a team makes it to the World Cup for the first time (pretty much like myself, as a first time viewer). He seemed really into interacting with that kid, too.
And though this reference will only make sense to Filipinos, but he gives me an Anton Del Rosario vibe (maybe it's the long face and the eyes) but I dig it. I dig them both. See you around, Panama. And I hope I see more of Penedo (though I think he's retiring, so I don't even know).
Runners-Up: I guess when the team is new to the World Cup, they get super aggressive and Panama was no exception. In fact, Gomez was just all out crazy, picking fights and being all pushy. It didn't necessarily add to the attraction but a little fire never hurt.
I did not see enough Peru (2 games down and just one above Australia) but I do love me a goalie (have you noticed?) and Pedro Gallese is a good goalie as they come. Look at that focus in his eyes?
After researching his Instagram, he also likes carrying babies, smouldering in the sidelines, and generally being a style icon with all that swag. I've always wanted to visit Peru, and now I have more reason to do so.
I also appreciate a guy that knows he's got style and flaunts it. From the hair to the physique (I'm not a big fan of the goatie, but I won't say no either)
Runners-Up: I also like the combination of baby face + beefy body and Corzo delivers on these points. I don't get to give defenders much love cause I'm always looking at the goalies, but for Corzo, I'm in.
I won't pretend to know much about Poland (all I know is that Pope John Paul was from there) and that Grzegorz Krychowiak is a cutie with a great smile.
I won't pretend I know how to say his name or that I know his career (i know he played) but I know his hair and that face will get him places (i.e. my heart)/
His Instagram is chocful of him looking great on the field and off (he looks damn great in a suit, too). So why not, Poland? Why not, indeed.
Runners-Up: Who knew Poland had so much love to give? Between Bereszyński's boy next door vibes and Bednarek's I'm-cocky-but-do-you-really-mind (no, I don't) look -- I wish these boys had gone further.
There are guys who are heartbreakers that you stay away from and then there's Rui Patricio who you wouldn't mind breaking your heart (and you'd totally come back for seconds).
This goalie (again -- do I never learn?) just has bad news bears written all over him but from that facial hair to that haircut to the body (of, course), you can tell why I'm totally under his spell. Also, the matching names (Patricio, meet Patricia) does not hurt one tiny bit. Hello, sir. I want more.
Runners-Up: So I heard Portugal is a really good team and it's apparently because of some GOAT? But honestly, I'm here for the hotties and Portugal is not lacking in them. I can't say Moutinho's name properly but I can appreciate him for sure. Then there's Silva, with just enough scruff and a great smile. Take me back to Portugal, please.
You guys. I have to admit, it was hard for me to find someone in the host country's team. But the joke was on me. Because I not only found 1 guy, I found 2.
Russia has TWINS! And though only one twin played, twice cuteness is adorable, right? Alexey Miranchuk may be the brother that played (and happens to be the slightly cuter one, too -- damn is the world not fair at all), but his brother, Anton is just as adorbs.
How many football teams can boast of twins in their roster? Ok, I don't actually know and maybe it's a lot but I find this fact very very cute. Twice as nice, that's for sure.
Runners-Up: Now if they let Erokhin have a twin, I would be very very pleased. But they didn't. Life is fair. That much pretty twice would be criminal.
I won't lie and say I knew the Saudia Arabia team offhand, but upon research and this entry has been all about that, I found that Abdullah Otayf is a cutie with great facial hair and a great smile.
And though Saudia Arabia didn't make it to the Top 16, I will appreciate this dude's super sunny smile. And now that I know he's 25, boy do I feel older than usual. I know that most of these players are children but reading the years they were born still makes me feel archaic. Thanks, Otayf.
Runners-Up: And on first glance, I thought I found twins here, too but no, they aren't. Still, Alsahlawi is just as cute as Otayf. I'll take that as a win.
For a team that was pretty good (I mean they drew with Japan and beat Poland in the first round, you'd think they'd have a great Instagram presence. And sadly, they do not. It took me forever to find accounts and much more decent photos.
What this team lacks in social media dominance, they make up for in cheekbones and bone structure. Damn, Idrissa Gana Gueye has bones you could cut things on. Looking sharp, son.
Runners-Up: What I love about the Senegal team is their IGs may have been hard to find, but they look like they're having so much fun in them. Kouyate just seems to be having a ball (and looking cute at that), while Sane makes me want to have fun with him, if you know what I mean.
Meanwhile, Serbia was shockingly easy to find and what a treasure trove I did find. I literally had to pare down the choices because player after player, Serbia kept on giving.
And what a gift Aleksandar Prijovic is to the world. From the bad boy looks (he literally looks like a henchman in a random action movie, but a good looking one), to the long locks (neatly tied in a pony tail at that), the tattoo sleeve got me. I'm a sucker, what can I say?
Runners-Up: But also Serbia has variety, so they have cutie next door, Zivkovic who looks like a really nice, nerdy (but sporty) high school friend you might friend zone but probably shouldn't. And they also have Milivojevic, the older brother of your friend whom you shouldn't be crushing on cause they have a large age gap but you do anyway.
I have a soft spot for the Spanish team because Spain but I have to say I was pretty shocked that I didn't feel the panties dropping for every single team member. I admit standards are bit higher for this team.
However, all those expectations were met in the form of Gerard Piqué. because really, if Shakira chose him, who am I to disagree with her choices? hips don't lie and neither does Pique's gorgeous locks, face and just general self. I wont' call his wife a beautiful liar because she is speaking the truth. Pique is king.
Runners-Up: Like I mentioned, there was a lot here and let me just rattle off names because: De Gea (goalie and hello man bun, though a bit gaunt, lord knows I'd like to feed him); Nacho (because how can one not love the sound of that name and the look on that face); Ramos (because being a bad boy never looked this good); Monreal (because he gives me good dad vibes and we all like a good guy sometimes); Isco (even if you run kinda funny, you're still very cute).
Though Sweden wasn't on my radar much, I have to admit, I was remiss to not give them as much as I could have. After all, I do love IKEA and Swedish meatballs, why did I not give the Swedish team more of a chance?
Especially because Emil Forsberg, Swedes at their best is a fine specimen of all that I have been missing. Blonde and blue eyes? Check. Great biceps? There, too. And then there's that smile. I'm dead.
Runners-Up: I appreciate that Sweden attempted to have diversity and Olsson and Thelin aren't just here to fill the quota because they are contributing so much hotness to the team. Then there's Durmaz, who has clear wild Viking blood (and hair) running through him.
I do love me some Swiss cheese and Swiss Miss (don't laugh, I loved that powdered drink), so why didn't I think I would love the Swiss team just as much? My loss and regrets clearly.
And goalie (yes, they're back), Yann Sommer is making me regret not paying more attention back then. No really, he looks like a model. Admittedly, the head band that doesn't hold back hair is my pet peeve, but for him, I'll give him a pass. I guess Switzerland is a good idea.
Runners-Up: And I could go on and on but I'll say that Schär and his dimples (and smile and gorgeous face) are a very close second, with Rodriguez (for a bit more flavor) coming up as third. I'm quite pleased with the Swiss.
By this portion of the list, I'm four days in and definitely on the early hours of the morning and just wanting this list to finally end. And yet, there at the end, we get surprises. Because Tunisia isn't going out quietly. They're finishing strong.
And what a way to finish me off with goalie, Mouez Hassen. He's also the same age as my little sister but what is this silly little fact supposed to matter anyway? It does not. Because in my dreams, Mouez is into older ladies (me) and definitely in running as keeper of my heart. Thank you, Tunisia for not dropping the ball.
Runners-Up: And the rest of the team ain't gonna be kicked out of bed either with Meriah leading the pack all scruffy and hot. Then Sassi, the friend that's always disappointed in you because he knows you can do better (him). Why yes, we could do better.
And if you've reached it to the end of this list, I congratulate you and present Uruguay's finest (and ye of the tightest kits ever): Martín Cáceres (with bonus Cavani on the side).
Goddamn, these kits are tight and begging to be taken off, so why wouldn't they just indulge us and take of a shirt or two? While he's at it, he can let down that hair from that glorious man bun of his. or unflex those muscles that are clearly straining. Or not, he could remain perfectly hot just the way he is. After all, we like him already.
Runners-Up: I cannot deny that the combination of Suarez and Cavani was a bit too much to handle. Their aggressiveness bordered on violence at times but I liked it. Too much. But wait, there's more! With names like Urretaviscaya (quite the mouthful) and a pretty face like Bentancur, you know the team has a deep bench of cuties.
Seriously, pat yourself on the back if you're still reading this. I don't know how I managed to finish all the countries, but we did. I am not pleased with having 40 countries in the next world cup, but I'll have four years to prep for that. Thank you, Instagram for breathing new life into me. Thank you, FIFA. Thank you, football.