The history of football is also a history of memorable haircuts. Who can possibly forget the side partings of the 60s and 70s, the flowing manes of the 80s or the blow-dried, curly-headed styles of the 90s? Each successive generation has been responsible not only for a new age of football on the pitch, but also a new era of hair styling.
Some players have even developed their own styles and have become world-famous for their unique haircuts, such as Columbia’s Carlos Valderrama with his magnificent blonde shock of curls. Former England captain David Beckham, for his part, became a true trendsetter with his constantly changing hairdos and provided inspiration for many of his contemporaries.
Even the generation currently competing at the FIFA U-17 World Cup 2013 are well on their way to establishing a look of their own. They are hoping to become the stars of the future, but the hairstyles worn by the players in the United Arab Emirates are very much those of the present.
And although there is a wide range of different hairstyles on display, from the mohican to the undercut or sidecut, the overriding approach appears to be "the wilder, the better."
Extravagant lucky charms
Several players in the Brazilian ranks are wearing mohawks apparently inspired by their compatriot, Barcelona and Brazil star Neymar. Meanwhile, Austrian player Valentin Lazaro is going one step further with his bleached blond spikes.
Explaining his extravagant appearance, the midfielder told FIFA.com: “I’ve always had ‘different’ hairstyles. I’ve got a slightly crazy personality and I want my hair to reflect that. I go to a special hairstylist in Salzburg about twice a month. As long as my haircut keeps bringing me luck, I don’t plan to change it.”
Elsewhere, Italy’s Gennaro Tutino is wearing an adventurous combination of curls and short hair, whilst the hairstyles of several of the Argentinian players can best be described as ‘military.’ However, it remains to be seen whether Sebastian Driussi, Lucio Compagnucci and German Ferreyra were, in fact, styled by an army barber.
A “criminal” in defence
Slovakia’s Denis Vavro has opted for a similarly military crew-cut. Indeed, if the 1.87-metre tall centre-back was not already formidable enough, the stripe of hair down the middle of his otherwise shaven head does the rest.
“I’ve been wearing my hair like this for about a year. I wanted to try something new, and I really like it,” Vavro revealed when speaking with FIFA.com, adding with a laugh: “But when my friends and team-mates first saw me with this haircut, they said I looked like a criminal!”
Who knows what “hair-raising encounters” still await between now and the final on 8 November? It certainly would not be the first time that a new haircut has caused a stir during a FIFA World Cup.
Ronaldo became world champion and adidas Golden Boot winner at the 2002 FIFA World Cup with his notorious triangular cut, whilst in 1998, the entire Romanian team dyed their hair blond upon qualifying for the knockout stages. Will UAE 2013 be the scene of something similarly memorable?
FIFA.com has compiled a selection of hairstyles from the FIFA U-17 World Cup 2013. Simply click through the photo gallery on the right-hand menu to enjoy.