Lions and eagles
However, no nicknames are more accepted and repeated among fans than those that compare national teams with animals, with lions and eagles being the most popular choices. The king of the jungle is thus alluded to in the nicknames of Bulgaria (“Lavovete”), England (“the Three Lions”), Luxembourg (“D’Leiwen”), Macedonia (“Creveni Lavovi” or “the Red Lions”), Irak (“Osod Al Rafideen or “the Lions of the Two Rivers”), Singapore (“the Lions”), Cameroon (“les Lions Indomtables” or “the Indomitable Lions”), Marocco (“les Lions de l’Atlas” or “the Atlas Lions”), Cong DR (“les Simbas”, meaning “the Lions” in Swahili), Senegal (“les Lions de la Teranga” or “the Lions of Hospitality”) and Iran (“Shirants Perse” or “the Persian Lions”).
Eagles, meanwhile, are very bit as prominent as lions and are found in the nicknames of Poland (“Polskie Orly” or “the Polish Eagles”), Serbia (Orlovi), the United Arab Emirates (“Al Sukoor”), Mali (“les Aigles”), Nigeria (“ the Super Eagles”) and Tunisia “les Aigles de Carthage” or “the Eagles of Carthage”).
“Animals that inspire fear or respect tend to be chosen,” explains Poli. “They are not chosen at random; nobody opts for the duck or the ant. The lion and the eagle are probably the animals that best embody the idea of strength and power and are the ones that appear the most on flags and shields. They are used to seek respect and possibly inspire fear.”
Other nations whose nicknames feature wild animals such as the lion are the “Asian Tigers” of Korea Republic, the “Sang Harimau” (“the Malaysian Tigers”) of Malaysia, the “Golden Jaguars” of Guyana, the “Panthers” of Gabon, the “Likuena” (“Crocodiles”) of Lesotho, the “Mambas” (named after the most poisonous snake in Africa) of Mozambique and “Al Theeb Al Ahmar” (“the Red Wolves”) of Bahrain.
Closely related to eagles are hawks, who appear in the nicknames in the national sides of Montenegro (Sokoli), Saudi Arabia (“Al Sogour Al Akhdar” or “the Green Hawks”) and Sudan (“Sokoor Al Jediane” or “the Desert Hawks”).
Teams often liken themselves to warriors, as illustrated by the sobriquets used by the Caribbean island of Anguilla (“the Rainbow Warriors”), Nambia (“the Brave Warriors”), Puerto Rico (the “Coqui Warriors” after the coqui frog) and Zimbabwe, who are simply known as “the Warriors”.