Even if you're not a huge soccer fan
, the World Cup offers many rich sources of entertainment.
For one, Americans can use the month-long soccer tournament
's six-hour time difference as a handy excuse to drink beer before noon. The Cup can also serve as the basis for pick-up chatter with hot international girls
But one hugely underappreciated source of World Cup jollies can be found in its plethora of strange and terrifying coaches. For some reason -- possibly an unfamiliar combination of jock couture, lifelong cigarette consumption, gimlet-eyed egomania and crazy foreign haircuts -- international soccer coaches tend to look like they should be ensconced in heavily fortified island compounds, preparing to unleash photoplasmic death rays if their demands are not met.
Asylum has found six soccer honchos whose extravagantly evil looks are worthy of an assignment for 007. Your task is to imagine running around in short pants, obeying their commands.
1. Pim Verbeek (Australia)
The Dutch specialize in churning out gun-for-hire coaches who end up in far-flung corners of the soccer world, and Verbeek (pictured above) epitomizes the breed.
Not only does he lead Australia's heavy-booted Socceroos
-- while they may not beat you, they're going to beat
you, if you catch our drift -- but he has the world-weary mug of a hardened professional who only inflicts pain for business reasons. Plus, there is something very unsettling about the name Pim.
2. Diego Maradona (Argentina)
Maradona is not only one of the greatest players of all time, he is also the only one of our choices who lives like a Bond villain in real life
Does he hang out with Fidel Castro
? Sure. Flatten reporters with his Mini Cooper
? Done. An extreme, operatic personality, Maradona (below) will either guide a talent-laden Argentina to soccer immortality, or stage one of the most flamboyant flame-outs in World Cup history. Either way, mullets and wolf beards are a go!
3. Dunga (Brazil)
Like Pele, Ronaldo and other beloved legends of Brazil's patented form of high-art soccer, Dunga (pointing like a madman below) uses just one name. And there the resemblance ends.
Known as a no-B.S. tough guy during his playing career, this flat-topped tyrant has stirred controversy by remodeling Brazil's iconic squad in his own image. In other words, he plans to run his team like it's in that Rio gun flick "City of God
." How is anyone supposed to samba in a bikini to that?
4. Matjaz Kek (Slovenia)
Besides the fact that "Matjaz Kek" may be the most Bond-villain-y name ever, the dumpling-shaped Slovene capo (see below) looks like he should be the figurehead of an extreme and eccentric post-Yugoslavian political movement.
This is a face that was made to go on 50-foot-tall banners.
5. Bob Bradley (U.S.)
Stop looking at us! Stop looking at us! We may not have the most glorious soccer pedigree in this country, but we can take pride in producing the most skeletal and unnerving coach in the 2010 World Cup.
Bradley's shorn head, bony countenance and icy, impenetrable concentration-camp-guard stare may serve as one of Team USA's few built-in competitive advantages, as he will literally freeze the souls of our opponents.
6. Kim Jong-Hun (North Korea)
While we assume that this gentleman isn't a direct relative of the charismatic and intriguingly dressed Dear Leader of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea
, we can't be sure. Because when it comes to North Korea, you can never be sure.
The zany wild card of international nuclear diplomacy is also this World Cup's mystery meat
. Consigned to the so-called "Group of Death" to face powers like Brazil and Portugal, Kim's unknown players, who have minimal international experience, will likely be destroyed.
Then again, they have the Juche Idea
("the spirit of self-reliance") on their side. And probably some pretty chilling "incentives" to do well.