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This is the latest installment of The World Cup According to Kempt™, our series on the stuff that really matters at this summer’s tournament in South Africa (kicking off June 11).

Now that the World Cup is just days away, we figured it was time to unveil what is perhaps our most crucial list of all: our World Cup All-Hair Team. That’s right, the best, most outrageous and/or spectacularly awful locks in this year’s tournament, at every position.

See which players made the cut»

Goalkeeper
David James, England
At 39, the photogenic James has had a variety of coifs over the years, from blond to straight-ironed. But occasionally he blows it out, which is what we find most amazing. Hopefully he’ll do this against the U.S.

Defenders
Carles Puyol, Spain
Between Fernando Torres, David Villa, Gerard Pique, Cesc Fabregas and Sergio Ramos, the Spanish team could have about seven guys on this list. But Puyol demands to be here. His mane is totally ’70s rocker, and we love it for its cheesy machismo. Did Megadeth lose a drummer?

Bacary Sagna, France
Brightly colored braids. We don’t necessarily like it, but we have to respect it.

Glen Johnson, England
Creative cornrows. We’re a sucker for creative cornrows, dreads and what-have-you.

Oguchi Onyewu, USA
The man they call Gooch is opting for an Isaac Hayes/Baron Davis look these days. (In other words, a shaved head and a beard.) But this guy can do pretty much whatever he wants, appearance-wise. Tall. Muscular. Washboard abs. He’s like something out of a GQ fashion shoot. Which might be why GQ had him do a fashion shoot.

Midfielders
Cristiano Ronaldo, Portugal
It seems like we’ve never seen the hair of the second best player in the world completely dry. Could he be pregame-gelling?

Milos Krasic, Serbia
Call him the Serbian Messi. In both craftiness on the pitch (he’s an excellent dribbler) and flopping hair (in this case, blonde hair), he resembles the great Lionel. (Seriously, even their faces are similar. It’s uncanny.)

Florent Malouda, France
Very well manicured cornrows. Also a David James lookalike, from certain angles.

Kaká, Brazil
We would be extremely religious too if we had game and hair like him.

Forwards
Djibril Cisse, France
The Ron Artest of the World Cup.

Salomon Kalou, Ivory Coast
Sometimes, when we look at Salomon Kalou’s thin, tidy strip of hair on the top of his head, we think we’re staring at something else. And we’ll leave it at that.

Coach
Diego Maradona, Argentina
With his big black mane and burgeoning salt-and-pepper beard, the national hero now seems like Papa Diego.

Honorable Mention: Diego Forlan, Uruguay; Lionel Messi, Argentina; Yuji Nakazawa, Japan; Andrea Pirlo, Italy, Carlos Vela, Mexico.

—S.D.

CONTRIBUTORS

  • Russell Brandom