The mascot for next year's European Championship in Germany will be a teddy bear — and this time it won't be naked from the waist down.
The mascot made its first appearance Tuesday morning by surprising children at a primary school in Gelsenkirchen, where it was set to appear again later before the team’s friendly game against Colombia.
The large-headed mascot with big eyes has shorts — in contrast to the 2006 World Cup mascot, a lion named “Goleo” that was widely ridiculed for not having pants.
The as-yet unnamed teddy bear also has a soccer jersey, socks and boots. Fans were to help name it by choosing between Albärt, Bärnardo, Bärnheart or Herzi von Bär. “Bär” is the German word for bear.
“As a parent, I know how important it is to stimulate children’s imagination,” Euro 2024 tournament director Philipp Lahm said. “With the launch of our tournament mascot, we hope to create a fun and likeable character that will inspire them to enjoy playing football.”
The mascot is due to appear in host cities over the next year. Germany will host the tournament from June 14-July 14, 2024.