Every 2018 World Cup Team Name Code, Explained

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With the FIFA 2018 World Cup underway, fans less familiar with international soccer may take a look at the score and wonder: Wait, who’s playing in this game?

In most cases, World Cup team names take their scoreboard acronyms, also known as FIFA codes, from the first three letters of their name in English. But there are a handful of exceptions. Here’s a complete list of the FIFA codes for all 32 teams competing in the 2018 World Cup, along with explanations when their origin isn’t immediately clear.

  • ARG: Argentina
  • AUS: Australia
  • BEL: Belgium
  • BRA: Brazil
  • COL: Colombia
  • CRC: Costa Rica. Because Costa Rica’s name is two words long, the FIFA code takes the first letter from each word instead of the first three letters. The second “C” is from the “C” in “Rica.”
  • CRO: Croatia
  • DEN: Denmark
  • EGY: Egypt
  • ENG: England
  • FRA: France
  • GER: Germany
  • ISL: Iceland. In French, “Iceland” is spelled “Islande.” The FIFA Code refers to the French spelling.
  • IRN: Iran. The International Olympic Committee country code for Iran is “IRI,” which stands for “Islamic Republic of Iran.” The FIFA code removes the “a” from “Iran,” abbreviating the name to IRN, in line with the country codes set out by the International Organization for Standardization.
  • JPN: Japan.
  • KOR: South Korea. FIFA refers to South Korea’s soccer team as the “Korea Republic national football team.” The team code is the first three letters of that name. North Korea’s FIFA code is “PRK” for “Democratic People’s Republic of Korea,” though only South Korea is playing in this year’s World Cup.
  • MEX: Mexico
  • MAR: Morocco. The name refers to the French spelling of Morocco, Maroc.
  • NGA: Nigeria. The country code “NIG” belongs to Niger, so “NGA” is used to distinguish Nigeria.
  • PAN: Panama
  • PER: Peru
  • POL: Poland
  • POR: Portugal
  • RUS: Russia
  • KSA: Saudi Arabia. KSA stands for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
  • SEN: Senegal
  • SRB: Serbia
  • ESP: Spain. ESP comes from the French spelling for Spain, Espagne.
  • SWE: Sweden.
  • SUI: Switzerland. The FIFA abbreviation refers to the French spelling of Switzerland, Suisse.
  • TUN: Tunisia
  • URU: Uruguay
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    Write to Alejandro de la Garza at alejandro.delagarza@time.com