I. Pakistan--I'm not sure if it's the flaming soccerball or...wait...no...it's definitely the flaming soccer ball. Pakistan's badge looks like something that would be batted around an MLS expansion team office in the late 90s. Only better because they all hold on to it.
IV. Azerbaijan--Similar to the Pakistani logo, I appreciate a little bit of the "ball on fire" motif. But it's nice that the Azerbaijani powers that be chose to have the ball falling rather than soaring, and allowed the flames to match the national flag.
VIII. Romania--One of the more recent eliminations, I'm a big fan of the Romanian spinning wheel of death motif. The whirling colors make for a nice piece of perspective, as if there's an entire universe spinning around the ball (something the New York Cosmos also use to great effect). The simple primary colors of the national flag, and the language surrounding the claim are perfect for a classic, timeless look.
IX. Benin--The second 70s era logo, Benin's choice uses the ball more pointedly than the others did, turning it into a "b" for "Federation Beninoise". I said when they were eliminated that it looked like a soccer version of the Montreal Expos, or Milwaukee Breweres logo, something that both covered the letters of the location and team and also evoked the sport (with gloves and balls implied in both)
X. Guatemala--The most decidedly postmodern of all the federation logos, Guatemala has a sweeping set of arcs that seem to be at once a parrot, a ball, a keeper mid-savea gigantic eyeball, or god knows what. Whatever it is, it definitely stands out and signifies that Guatemala is a serious country...for artistes nouveau.
a subtle connection to the African continent. It look slightly like an elementary art project, but that just reflects how soccer unites everyone and infuses a childlike joy.
So there you have it, the style champs we'll be rooting for on the Road to Russia