World Cup 2014 Inspires Baby Names

If you're a football fan expecting a baby, the World Cup might be more than a welcome distraction from the stresses and strains of pregnancy. The players come from all the corners of the world - and they bring with them names from all over the world, too. From Hector to Fabien to Edison, there are some brilliant names in this year's World Cup squads that might give parents-to-be pause for thought.

And even if the 'beautiful game' makes you want to gag, you might find yourself with a whole new perspective if you look at it as a unique opportunity to find some unusual and unique baby names. Your friends will wonder what's come over you.

We'll get you started with some of our favourites...

Xabi Alonso (Spain) - Xabi is a shortening of the popular Hispanic name Xavier, which derives from a Basque surname meaning 'the new house' and was popularised by 16th century saint Francis Xavier.

Raheem Sterling (England) - Raheem is an Arabic name, also spelt Rahim, which means 'kind' or 'compassionate', naturally making it a popular Muslim baby name.

Hugo Lloris (France) - Hugo is the Latin form of Hugh, a popular male name in medieval Britain introduced by the Normans. It derives from the Old German 'hug', meaning 'mind', 'heart' or 'spirit'.

Lionel Messi (Argentina) - Lionel is a diminutive form of Leon, which comes from the Greek for 'lion'.

Jefferson (Brazil) - Jefferson, which simply means 'son of Jeffrey', is the a common boys' name in Brazil. Seems strange, but Anglo-Saxon historical figures (Nelson, Emerson, Wagner) have long been a favourite with Brazilian parents.

Bernard (Brazil) - Bernard comes from German elements meaning 'brave bear', and arrived in Britain with the Norman conquest. Several saints bore the name, doubtless contributing to its spread.

Gordon Schildenfeld (Croatia) - Gordon doesn't ring very Croatian, and is in fact of Scottish origin. A surname, it gained popularity as a given name after the legendary colonial general Charles Gordon.

Landry Nguemo (Cameroon) - Landry has a complicated history - it originated as a medieval first name, from Land-rick, meaning 'land ruler' in Old German. It then became almost exclusively a surname, before regaining minor popularity as a first name in recent decades.

Albert Adomah (Ghana) - Albert is a Germanic name formed of the words for 'bright' and 'noble', and has therefore long popular among the European nobility, such as Britain's Prince Albert.

Hector Moreno (Mexico)- the name Hector, taken from one of the heroes of Troy in Greek mythology, is widespread in the Spanish-speaking world. It means 'holding fast' or 'to restrain'.

Cedric Djeugou (Cameroon) - Cedric was invented by Sir Walter Scott for his 1819 novel Ivanhoe. He was inspired by Cerdic, the semi-mythical founder of Wessex.

Jasper Cillessen (Netherlands) - Jasper (or Caspar or Gaspar) is the apocryphal name of one of the three kings who visited baby Jesus, along with Melchior and Balthazar. It means 'treasurer' in Persian.

Jackson Martinez (Colombia) - Jackson is probably a reference to US president Andrew Jackson. Like Jefferson, it is an example of South American parents looking north for naming inspiration.

Victor Moses (Nigeria) - Victor is one of the most popular English names in Nigeria. The word comes from Latin and was particularly popular in the 19th century.

Lazaros Christodoulopoulos (Greece)- Lazaros (and the Anglicised form, Lazarus) derive from the Hebrew name Eleazar, meaning 'my God has helped'. Jesus famously raised Lazarus from the dead.

Milan Badelj (Croatia) - Milan is a common Slavic name and has no connection to the Italian city of the same name. It comes from the Slavic root 'mil', which means 'dear'.

Constant Djakpa (Ivory Coast) - Constant is a 'virtue name', often given by parents hoping to instil Christian values in their offspring. Constantine is a variant on this name.

Leroy Fer (Netherlands) - Leroy derives from the Old French spelling of 'le roi', which means 'the king' and is common French surname. It was first used as an English given name in the 19th century.

Godfrey Oboabona (Nigeria) - Godfrey means 'peace of God' and comes from the Old German 'Godafrid'. The Normans brought the name to Britain.

Harrison Afful (Ghana) - meaning simply 'son of Harry', the surname Harrison was borne by two US presidents, which may have contributed to its emergence as a given name in the 19th century.