Other teams identify themselves through the color of their kit. This is particularly common in Latin American countries, whose inhabitants are deeply patriotic and feel a strong attachment to the color of their flag, which almost always coincides with their national team’s colors. This has given rise to nicknames such as “la Albiceleste” (“the White and Sky Blues”) of Argentina, “la Celeste” (“the Sky Blues”) of Uruguay, “la Verde” (“the Greens”) of Bolivia, “a Canarinha” (“the Canary Yellows” in Portuguese) of Brazil, “la Tricolor” (“ the Tricolours”) of Colombia and Ecuador, “la Roja” (“ the Reds”) of Chile, “la Albirroja” (“the White and Reds”) of Paraguay, “la Blanquirroja” (“the White and Reds”) of Peru and “la Vinotinto” (“ the Burgundies”) of Venezuela.
In the case of “la Vinotinto”, the nickname did not come about because of the player’s penchant for Butgundy whine, but because of the colors of their shirts. Venezuela would also qualify for the sobriquet of “la Tricolor”, as their flag is very similar to that of Ecuador and Colombia, but that name was already over-used in Latin America. However, although Colombia and Ecuador are known to their fans as “la Tricolor”, the former are better known internationally as “la Seleccion Cafetera” (“the Coffee Makers”). Completing the series of teams that are identified with their colors is Mexico, another team who refer to themselves as a tricolor, although in this case they usually shorten their name to “el Tri”.
Nevertheless, reference to color is not the sole preserve of Latin American teams. There are also clear examples of this phenomenon in Europe in the shape of “les Blues” of France, whose attachment to the color blue steams from the color of the French army uniform between 1914 and 1941, and the “Azzurri” of Italy, who wear blue because it is the color of the flag of the Raoyal House of Savoy, even though Italy became a republic after the Second World War and changed its flag to a green, white and red tricolor. The Dutch nickname. “Oranje” also steams from a royal dynasty, in this case the House of Orange.
“Nicknames are also linked to patriotism, to the love of one’s country expressed through the national team,” points out Poli. We also must not forget the “All Whites” of New Zealan, although this epithet is not an expression of patriotism like the Latin American nicknames but is simply a variation on the name of the famous New Zealand rugby team, the “All Blacks”.