Weird World Cup

2014-07-04 11:39

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The 2014 Fifa World Cup has provided fantastic goals, nail-biting encounters, slick football and some strange moments.

‘Jinxed’ Maradona

Maradona is as famous for controversy as he is for his footballing skills. This time, the Argentinian great accused Fifa of stopping him from entering the Maracana stadium to watch his country’s first match, a 2-1 win over Bosnia-Herzegovina. Fifa denied this.

Maradona also decided to watch Argentina’s final group match against Nigeria from his hotel because the country’s football association president said he’d jinxed them against Iran.

Julio Grondona said Lionel Messi’s stoppage-time winner was thanks to “jinxed” Maradona leaving the stands.

Maradona responded by showing Grondona the finger on live television.

Naked swimmers

Croatia players were left fuming after photographers hid in the bushes of the team’s training camp and snapped pictures of players swimming in the nude. The outraged players decided to boycott the media. Unfortunately for the Croatians, the incident was more memorable than their World Cup campaign as they crashed out in the group stage. Americans discover the World Cup World Cup fever finally caught on in the US as they fought their way out of one of the toughest groups to reach the last 16. Soccer, as the US calls football, has never been as big a sport like American football, baseball and basketball, but record numbers of viewers tuned in for this World Cup.

Troubled Africa

While two African teams reached the knockout stage for the first time in World Cup history, most of the headlines featured stories of chaos in the African teams’ camps. Cameroon were involved in a pay dispute that delayed their arrival in Brazil, Ghana players ridiculously demanded that cash be sent to them and Nigeria’s players seemed more focused on their unpaid bonuses than their last-16 match against France. Then there were the bust-ups. Cameroon’s Benoit Assou-Ekotto head-butted team-mate Benjamin Moukandjo after an argument during their match against Croatia.

Ghana’s Kevin-Prince Boateng and Sulley Muntari were sent home before their match against Germany. Boateng swore at his coach while Muntari struck a team official.

A star is born

Colombia’s James Rodriguez went from being a virtual unknown to one of football’s most famous names. His goals during Colombia’s 2-0 win over Uruguay in the last 16 was met with admiration by team-mates, his coach, and even celebrities like Rihanna.

“Rodriguez!!! But he’s just a boy!” Rihanna said. Rodriguez will turn 23 the day before the World Cup final.

Missing Pele

Have you seen Pele? The Brazilian legend was not at the opening ceremony and was reportedly stuck in traffic for their second match. While there are some suggestions that Pele had a fallout with Fifa, others believe he is no longer as popular in Brazil as he once was.

“People here don’t take him as seriously as foreigners,” journalist and historian Marcos Guterman told AFP.

“Pele is a symbol of a great era for Brazilian soccer, but he’s part of the past.”

Brazil icon Pele appears to have been shunned. Picture: Reuters

Brazilian model Gisele Bundchen, though, is certainly not part of the past. After much confusion, Fifa confirmed that she would be part of the World Cup final ceremony on July 13.

However, Fifa secretary-general Jerome Valcke dismissed reports that Bundchen would present the trophy to the winning captain.

Suárez-inspired sex toy

A Swedish online sex store has introduced the “Suárez nipple clamp” after Uruguayan striker Luis Suárez bit Italy’s Giorgio Chiellini.

The ‘Suárez nipple clamp’. Picture:

“Maybe [Suárez] will be proud to spread a bit of pleasure and love, despite his error on the field,” said Oliver & Eva director Tobias Lundqvist in an AFP report.

With a four-month ban from football, Suárez might just be tempted to do so.

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