Forget tactics or best players; all you need to know about the World Cup before it begins is which players have the strangest, most noteworthy haircuts. That way, you can school your friends when they gawk at Marouane Fellaini's afro or Cristiano Ronaldo's perfectly sculpted Bacary Sagna's blonde-dyed braids. Here's a break down of the hairstyles you'll likely be talking about for the next few weeks.
Neymar of Brazil
One of the tournament's best goal-scorers also has one of the interesting haircuts, as Neymar sports buzzed sides, long sweaty bangs, and a thick rat-tail in the back. Neymar should be front and center for hometown favorites Brazil, so get to know this thick mohawk-like style well. It doesn't quite compare to his straight-up mullet at the Olympics, but hey, you take what you can get.
Marouane Fellaini of Belgium
The six-foot-four midfielder adds another six inches when you factor his poofy afro onto the measurement. And no, he doesn't do anything special to get it that big. "“I wash it sometimes," he told Mirror Online. "But that’s it."
Bacary Sagna of France
Sagna will be running the right back position for Les Bleus with his patented black-and-yellow braids in tow. The Frenchman says the peculiar hair was a result of a bet with his father in his younger days, and he has kept them as his trademark ever since.
Kyle Beckerman of the United States
Kouassi Gervais Yao of Ivory Coast
Yao, who also goes by Gervinho for his Roma team, uses a black headband to cover up his plentiful braids and massive forehead that has inspired its own Tumblr account. Even his friends make fun of his hair; when fellow players Yaya and Kolo Toure, Drogba, and Kalou were asked who among them had the best hair, they pointed to Gervinho only to immediately burst out laughing. That's what friends are for, right?
Cristiano Ronaldo of Portugal
Peel your eyes away from Ronaldo's bod to glance upon his hair, which has one perfectly placed spit curl on his forehead, just like Clark Kent. Confirmed: Ronaldo is Superman. And in case you want that haircut, there are plenty of Youtube videos to guide you.
Asamoah Gyan of Ghana
Dyeing your jersey number in your hair, as the flashy-scoring Gyan did at the Africa Cup last year, gets our seal of approval. He brought the big '3' out in a tune up against South Korea on Monday, so expect to see it in play against the U.S. in the World Cup's group stage.
Wayne Rooney of England
The star forward got two — yes, two — hair transplants to stymie his male-pattern baldness, so he clearly cares about his coif. The least we can do is mention that he now has a (mostly) full head of hair.
Ermin Bičakčić of Bosnia and Herzegovina
The product-aided high-flying 'do is the calling card of the Bosnian center back, with a Chia Pet-style poof straight out the top of his head.
Iker Casillas of Spain
Spain's star goalkeeper is all about the front flip and letting those long bangs go wild. Bring out the '90s boy band comparisons (minus the blonde dye).
Georgios Samaras of Greece
Samaras has a definite rock star vibe going on, with long hair and a scruffy, unkempt beard. And since Greece has a relatively easy path ahead in the group stage, the Greek forward could be on your screens for a while.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.