French striker Olivier Giroud.

French striker Olivier Giroud. Photo: AFP

Bleary-eyed? Too tired for anything? Grumpy and sullen? Me too. A slight touch of ennui, a sense of general dissatisfaction? Yes and yes.  

Been sitting up late or getting up stupidly early to watch the World Cup? Guilty. Your team were worse than useless? No? Well mine was.

So rather than cheering anyone on, I’ve taken to applauding something else – the haircuts. And while the standard of presentation has been quite high, there have been quite a few that, to be frank, have let the side down.

Some stand outs for me have been France’s Paul Pogba, England’s Raheem Stirling and goalkeepers Tim Howard (USA) and Raïs M'Bohli  (Algeria), with both the net custodians rocking the bald head and bushy beard look. The funniest I’ve seen so far was probably the comb-over sported by the Argentine referee in the France-Germany game.

Golden hedgehog: Brazilian star Neymar. Click for more photos

Best and worst haircuts of the World Cup

Golden hedgehog: Brazilian star Neymar. Photo: Getty

But what do I know? For a true guide to the best and worst of Brazil 2014, I needed to call in the specialists.

Seeking expert analysis, I turned to the team at Toni & Guy Georges in Melbourne’s CBD, where salon owner Jo Smith and style director and men’s barbering expert Luke Harris have been watching the contest through the wee hours. Also keeping a close eye on the action for Man Scape has been Paul Macnamara, owner and head barber at Jack the Sniper in Byron Bay.

The worst

First up we’ve the howlers. The shockers. The men who, on the biggest stage of all, have not just let themselves down, but failed their countries too. These are the worst haircuts of this World Cup.

Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal) Macnamara says: "He’s a good looking guy, but has destroyed what was a stylish haircut with an awful zig-zag line. Ronaldo looks like a wannabe gangster, not a professional footballer."
 
Neymar (Brazil) Harris says: "He looks like a golden hedgehog! Stripy yellow highlights that make his hair look dry and are not good for his skin tone. A toner would help with this."

Wayne Rooney (England) Macnamara says: "Please Wayne, shave it off. I know you spent a fortune getting it to grow back but I think it’s time to bite the bullet. Balding is nothing to be ashamed of, and as a man in the spotlight you need to be honest with yourself."
 
Gabriel Paletta (Italy) Harris says: "He’s thinning on top but leaving length through the top. It’s almost a homage to the look of England hero Bobby Charlton in the 1966 World Cup. We feel short is best when faced with this dilemma."

Kyle Beckerman (USA) Macnamara says: "Say no to dreadlocks, kids. They smell, and slow your down on the pitch. Enough said."
  
Asamoah Gyan (Ghana) Harris says: "I don't like the gold number three shaved into the side of his hair. We can see his number on his shirt. He’s also sporting a fluffy Mohawk. Very bad." 

Henrique (Brazil) Macnamara says: "Now, even though I’m based in chilled-out party town Byron Bay, I am not OK with the mullet. It should be business front and back for the Brazilian defender, not a party at the back. Keep the party to Copacabana."
 
Luckily with Neymar injured and all the other big names having feet of clay rather than golden boots, only one of these haircuts from hell will play any further part in the competition. The same is true, unfortunately, of the best, with all but one of these well-groomed superstars currently on the plane home. And we’d such high hopes. At least they’ve gone out in style.

The best

Here are our experts’ picks of the World Cup’s best haircuts:

Olivier Giroud (France) The Arsenal  striker is a firm favourite with our experts. Macnamara says: "A French twist on a '50s rockabilly staple, Giroud is kicking goals with this pompadour. I’m only a fan of the 'disconnect' when it is done well, and the French striker’s stylist has done a cracking job." Smith says: "He’s sporting the modern fade and pompadour effortlessly." 
 
Ross Barkley (England) Macnamara says: "Barkley has a good strong hairline and his stylist has chosen to make a feature out of it with the definitive line across the front, with short back and sides. Mix that in with the perfect fade and you have a super sweet and short cut, much like England’s campaign." 

Andrea Pirrlo (Italy) Smith says: "He’s sporting long hair in a unkempt and stylish way, like he has just stepped of the runway." 

Gerard Piqué (Spain) Macnamara says: "The Spanish centre back has managed what most men want, the effortlessly stylish haircut. Piqué’s hairstyle looks great messy and textured but remains super flexible."
 
Matthieu Debuchy (France) Macnamara says: "The French playmaker is right on trend with this high and tight slick back."
 
Joe Hart (England) Smith says: "His short back and sides give a timeless elegance to this sportsman - clean and dapper."

Robin Van Persie  (the Netherlands) Macnamara says: "A salt and pepper fox at the ripe old age of 30, Van Persie keeps the sides short and tidy. Having a natural curl in his hair, the top is perfect for some texture and height to keep him looking stylish on and off the field."
 
So there you have it. The World Cup has always been known for bad haircuts as much as fantastic football – this edition is upholding the proud tradition of such greats as Hoddle, Baggio, Charllton,  Waddle, Beckham and Valderrama.  
 
What do you think. What’s been the best World Cup haircut you’ve seen? Are the best men's styles in soccer or another code? Who's got the best hair cut in football?

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