Starting on June 14, billions of people around the world (3.2 billion in 2014) will be tuning in to watch the FIFA World Cup in Russia. For those less than enthused by large internationally televised sporting events, nearly five straight weeks of inescapable soccer matches doesn’t exactly sound like a fun time. But instead of avoiding every sports bar, outdoor restaurant, and weekend barbecue for the next month, why not find a reason to try and actually enjoy the games this summer?
While Team USA failed to qualify for the championship (sigh), that doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of other international replacements out there to root for. (I mean, have you seen the Nigerian team’s uniforms?) After scouring all 32 qualifying teams, we narrowed the competition down to the 15 most attractive contenders at this year’s World Cup, who are not only impressive on the field, they’re also quite easy on the eyes. So now, at least, you know who to root for.
Known for: Those lips! That hair! That smile! This dreamy Swiss goalkeeper (and Rafa Nadal look alike) started playing soccer when he was just 5 years old and is considered one of the team’s biggest assets. But Sommer doesn’t only live and breathe sports, turns out, he also has a lovely food blog full of healthy recipes! (Excuse us while we daydream about Yann in our kitchen.)
Team: South Korea
Known for: As the top Asian scorer in Premier League history, Heung-min Son is quite popular in his home country of South Korea and in England, where fans of his team, Tottenham, usually greet his arrival on the field with chants of the song “Here Comes the Sun.”
Known for: While much of the attention (both on the field and off) remains on Portugal’s megastar Cristiano Ronaldo, André Silva is poised to make a name for himself at this year’s World Cup. The baby-faced forward was picked up last year by AC Milan for €38 million—and it doesn’t hurt that he has a cute smile and thick head of hair either. Ronaldo, watch out!
Known for: Known as “Mo” to his more than 16 million Instagram fans and 6 million Twitter followers, this uber-popular Egyptian forward is currently recovering from a shoulder injury he endured at the Champions League final in May. If he bounces back, bets are on that Salah could become one of the stars of this year’s World Cup, as even rival Cristiano Ronaldo said he could be a possible contender for the Ballon d’Or.
Known for: In 2014, Chadli caused a small sensation after posing nude in U.K. Cosmopolitan as part of an effort to raise awareness for cancer. “As a footballer, my body’s my tool—so I have to take care of it,” he said to the magazine at the time. “I’m pretty happy with the way I look and what my body is capable of.” Ditto, Chadli. Ditto.
Known for: The midfielder with killer cheekbones is one of Spain’s greatest assets thanks to his unstoppable stamina and ability to map out plays and passes that lead to goals. He also has his priorities straight, missing a few games last season to spend time with his wife and son after his premature birth in January. (After five months in the hospital, little baby Silva is finally home.)
Known for: The petite, tattoo-covered Coutinho has been called “The Little Magician” because of the tricks he manages to pull off on the field. His precocious talent got him signed to Inter Milan for €4 million when he was only 16. This past January, Barcelona brought him on for €160 million, ranking him as the third most expensive football transfer, behind Brazilian teammate Neymar and Frenchman Kylian Mbappé. For those wondering if he’s single, we regret to inform you he’s been married to his childhood sweetheart since 2012.
Known for: One of the youngest players at the World Cup, Mbappé was dubbed “le petit Obama” after he gave an eloquent press conference last year that won over reporters. The teenage striker seems well on his way to a future in politics, as he’s already been invited to a diplomatic lunch at the Palais de l’élysée by French president Emmanuel Macron.
Known for: Not only is he tall, dark, handsome, and one of team Germany’s best defenders, Hummels is also a philanthropist. Last year, he traveled around Malawi as a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador and became one of the first soccer stars to pledge 1 percent of his salary (around $180,000 a week) to Common Goal, an organization that helps bring soccer initiatives to disadvantaged kids.
Known for: He’s been called the “new Javier Zanetti,” which, if you know anything about Argentine soccer, is kind of a huge deal.
Known for: Rodríguez became a star at the 2014 World Cup after earning the top scorer spot at the championship and for the signature salsa moves he liked to perform after scoring a goal. As for his extracurricular activities, Rodríguez has just launched his own cryptocurrency called JR10, becoming the first active soccer player to dabble in blockchain.
Known for: This comely defender has been called the “rock of Japan’s defense.” If you’re looking for some advice on how to improve your game, he just released a new inspirational autobiography, Unbeatable Mind, last month.
Known for: Akinfeev is captain of the Russian team and one of its biggest star players. He’s going into the World Cup as the goalkeeper with the most clean sheets (a game in which the opposite team fails to score a goal) ever in the country’s history.
Known for: Dele Alli (who goes by Dele) is considered one of the best midfielders in the Premier League. Aside from his killer game, Dele also makes headlines for his fashion-forward style (enjoyed by his 3.6 million Instagram followers) and has recently launched his own clothing line, BoohooMan by Dele, which includes satin bombers, pastel suits, and printed hoodies.
Known for: Sorry, what were we talking about? We lost our train of thought because abs, abs, abs. Oh, he’s also the second top scorer on Uruguay’s team, so yes, he’s also good at sports.