World Cup Players: Still Touching Each Other

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Photo: Alex Livesey/FIFA/Getty Images

American sports fans are familiar with a limited vernacular of jock love: so-quick-you-might-miss-them butt-pats, high-fives that fold into back-slapping hugs, and occasional victory dog piles (reserved for championship games).

But, once every four years, the FIFA World Cup offers a glimpse into the wider world of totally-not-gay international man-on-man affection. The stakes are high, and the ratings are even higher, yielding a catalogue of physical expression. In the first week alone, we’ve seen faces passionately clasped between two hands, the most consoling of shoulder nuzzles, and a few running leaps into teammates’ arms to rival Rachel McAdams in The Notebook.

If you’re in it for the PDA, there are no losers.

UPDATE: The second week of the World Cup brought even more nuanced physical intimacy among players. Click through for coach hugs, three-way hugs, hugs for opponents, and one very avuncular Swiss smooch.