11
Jul

Brazil’s embarrassing World Cup exit provokes unexpected sympathy

Should old acquaintance be forgot? It was never going to be, but I hardly expected to be thinking of my friends from Copacabana so soon after landing back in England, and I certainly didn’t expect to be feeling so sorry for them.

The return home came just hours before the first semifinal and, like hundreds of millions of others across the planet, I watched incredulous as the team of the host nation, the greatest of all soccer nations, concede goals to Germany with a rapidity that would have been surprising in the NBA; let alone a sporting arena that had yielded just 1.25 goals per entire game in the previous round, as things became about as tight and tense as international soccer can get.

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After the magnificent Germans had eased off and started saving their energy for Sunday’s final, they stopped at seven, to which Brazil replied with a gesture that produced one in the closing seconds. I was watching in a riverside pub on the south-western fringes of London, slack-jawed like everyone around me, trying to think of precedents but being able to think only of the folks with whom I’d seen all the previous Brazil games.

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8
Jul

World Cup Diary: Tournament has been glorious but problems persist

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BELO HORIZONTE —

Good football, or a least a tournament with good narratives, will cover a multitude of sins. Barring something calamitous in the final week, the chaos that many had feared would characterize the World Cup has not come to pass and nor have the demonstrations against government corruption that dominated last year’s Confederations Cup.

Only Belo Horizonte, where Brazil will meet Germany in Tuesday’s semifinal, has really suffered, an overpass constructed as part of improvements in infrastructure for the World Cup collapsing onto a bus, killing two people and injuring several others. At the weekend, there were demonstrations at the offices of Construtora Cowan, the firm that built the overpass on Avenida Pedro 1, while others have visited the site of the collapse bearing placards that read, “This is the reality of the World Cup,” and “World Cup disaster: Put it on FIFA’s bill.”

Wrangles over that are ongoing. The area around the collapsed overpass has been shut off pending an investigation, with some alleging that short cuts were taken to get the structure in place in time for the World Cup. Local authorities have urged the judiciary to re-open the road in time for the semifinal to ease traffic pressure. “The work won’t be carried it in haste because of the World Cup,” said Colonel Alexandre Lucas Alves of the Civil Defense. “It can only be done when we can be sure there will be no more casualties.”

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Elsewhere, the main issues have been with the police’s habit of acting first and asking questions later. Early in the tournament, partygoers in the Rio de Janeiro district of Lapa were subjected to a baton charge and the indiscriminate use of pepper spray after spilling from bars into a pavement. Eyewitnesses said the mood was jovial and police waded in without warning.

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7
Jul

Brazilian voodoo priest reportedly puts curse on Germany

Brazil might be without talismanic star Neymar for their World Cup semifinal against Germany on Tuesday, but they may have some other magic on its side.image

Yep, black magic enthusiast, Helio Sillman, says that he has placed a curse on Joachim Low’s Germany. “I’ll take their top player and bind his legs so he can’t run on the pitch,” said Sillman.

Yikes!

Of course, this naturally will lead to speculation as to who Sillman has cursed in particular. Could it be keeper Manuel Neuer, whose box-to-box rushes would be rendered useless? Or perhaps it’s Thomas Muller, the team’s current top goal-scorer at the World Cup? Or maybe Miroslav Klose, whose chasing the overall World Cup goal-record?

We’ll find out on Tuesday. As it happens, Sillman actually carries out a ritual before every Selecao game. By placing lit candles inside a small football pitch replica box, he uses a voodoo doll of the opposing team’s best player to curse them.

It almost didn’t work in the quarterfinals, though. Colombia hero James Rodriguez nearly sank the Brazilians, but they clung on to defeat Los Cafeteros 2-1 last Friday.

Needless to say, Neymar, wasn’t saved by Sillman’s black magic, either, with his tournament-ending injury after breaking his back vertebra. To his credit, Sillman is claiming the victories over Cameroon, Chile, Croatia and Mexico as down to his voodoo skills.

If Germany are the next victims of Brazil’s magical run, we’ll know exactly who to thank or blame.

(H/T: Yahoo)

Image provide by Getty

6
Jul

Heartbreaking! Cute little girl cries over hearing of Neymar’s injury

Be honest, when you heard that Brazil’s talisman and face of the 2014 World Cup 2014, was injured and would no longer be able to play in the tournament, did you shed a tear?

If so, you’re not alone.

We doubt you’re as cute and adorable as little Brazil fan Ana Bella, however. After Ana’s mother informed her of Neymar’s devastating injury and abrupt end to his tournament, little Ana’s eyes begin to tear up. Asking “Cadê ele?” (“where is he?”), she can no longer hold back the tears. Before you know it, she’s in floods.

We feel your pain, Ana. We all do.

(H/T: WhoAteAllThePies)

6
Jul

Neymar addresses his legion of fans after World Cup heartache

In Brazil’s potentially World Cup 2014 defining moment vs. Colombia on Friday, Neymar fractured his vertebra that essentially ended his glittering tournament.

As their top goalscorer and standout performer, the 22-year-old Barca star was Brazil’s engine who are hoping to finally win a World Cup on their home soil.

Neymar will do his best to lead them through, though. In an incredibly emotional video, Neymar addressed his millions of fans, promising them that his World Cup dream is not over, just postponed.

"Brazilian people, players, coaches and fans, this is a very tough moment. It’s hard to express my thoughts in words.

"I want to tell you that I’ll be back on the field as soon as possible. I would like to thank you for your support and affection expressed through the messages that have been sent to me.

"My dream is not over yet, it was interrupted due to a move but it is still alive. I am sure my team mates will make sure I can achieve my dream which is to be champion.

"Another dream of mine was to play on a World Cup Final but I won’t be able to do it now – although I’m sure that my team mates will win and be champions along with me and we Brazilian people will be celebrating this achievement.

"Thank you all, hugs."

A touching sentiment, and one that could well inspire Brazil to go on and reclaim the biggest trophy in international football as a result.

Best of luck on your return, big guy.

4
Jul

World Cup Day 20: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

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Tuesday was a day of mixed emotions at the World Cup, to put it lightly.

First, we watched a snooze-fest of a quarterfinal between European foes Germany and France. Hours later, we took in an absolute thriller between Brazil and Colombia. On the one hand, we got the dream semifinal match we hoped for; on the other, we lost arguably the two best players of the World Cup to get there. 

Fourth of July provided plenty of fireworks, albeit in Brazil. To recap what you may have missed, check out our “The Good, The Bad and The Ugly” from Day 20:

THE GOODimage

Brazil vs. Germany for the right to play in the World Cup final. Do we need to say more?

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How did we get to this tasty treat of a semifinal?

First, Germany toppled rival France on Mats Hummels’ textbook header in the first half. And when we say textbook, we mean Germany literally wrote the book on headers. “Fact of the Day:”

So Germany, again, “head” to the semifinals. In fact, it is the first country to reach four straight World Cup semis:

Oh yeah, and this is still happening:

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Later, Brazil and Colombia collided (literally) in what was one of the most wide-open, free-flowing games of football we’ve seen thus far. It was chaos, it was physical, and it was A LOT of fun:

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2
Jul

Air biscuit! Brazil fan farts on Neymar’s girlfriend, she didn’t approve!

One keen Brazilian fan got a little too excited to see Neymar’s girlfriend Bruna Marquezine sitting behind him. 

The supporter got carried away in the moment and filmed himself letting rip in her general direction. Poor Bruna had her reaction recorded and she wasn’t happy - to say the least!

(H/T Metro)

28
Jun

World Cup Day 16: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

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The Round of 16 opened play on Saturday, and what a thrilling start to the knockout stage it proved to be.

First, the entire host nation was on pins and needles as Brazil squeaked by a dangerous Chile side on penalties:

Two hours later, a new King James was crowned as Colombia’s James (Ha-Mes) Rodriguez lifted his side to its first-ever World Cup quarterfinal appearance:

What else made waves on social media as we embarked on the business end of the World Cup? Find out in our latest edition of “The Good, The Bad and The Ugly:”

THE GOOD

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Brazil surviving on penalties assured us that the World Cup would indeed be able to continue on past the Round of 16, which is good (Seriously, could you imagine if the Selecao crashed out this early? Mayhem).

Even better, Julio Cesar emerged as the unlikely hero. Yes, the Julio Cesar of Toronto FC, who was discarded by Queens Park Rangers. Oh, the beauty of the World Cup!

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