Hair-raising encounters in Chile

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 Colombia’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 Chile 2015 are well on their way to establishing a look of their own. 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”.

“I always style my hair myself,” Ecuador’s Pervis Estupinan revealed to “Maybe the kids back at home will look up to me as a role model and try to copy it; that’d be great.” His team-mate Jhon Pereira added: “We’ve got all kinds of haircuts here in Chile. You can normally tell what’s in fashion just by looking around, but this time we’re all doing our own thing. There’s no such thing as a good or bad ‘do in our camp.”

One member of the New Zealand backroom staff recently received a new look against his will. After successfully qualifying for the Round of 16, the Young All Whites quickly scampered to the dressing room before inviting one of the support team to join them. The staff member in question reluctantly accepted their invitation, sat down and handed the jubilant players a set of clippers. Within minutes, the hair he had been growing for the past 15 years was lying on the floor around his feet. “It’s just our way of celebrating,” New Zealand striker James McGarry later explained with a laugh. “As for the bet, the victim was only too happy to lose!”

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, while in 1998 the entire Romanian team dyed their hair blond upon qualifying for the knockout stages. Will Chile 2015 be the scene of something similarly memorable?

* has compiled a selection of hairstyles from the FIFA U-17 World Cup 2015. Simply ****scroll through the photo gallery **to enjoy.***