Sao Paulo: Beginning with Thursday’s opening match of the World Cup the ‘magic spray’ which is used to treat injuries will have a new partner in mystical vapour: the vanishing spray. This latest addition to the aerosol array is an official’s tool to keep players back.
Once the referee calls for a free kick, he whips out a tiny can that he carries in a special belt, then sprays a bit of what looks like shaving cream at the spot where the kick should be taken before quickly pacing off the 10 yards. He then draws a line on the ground to show where the wall must go. If a player moves in front of the line before the ball is kicked, the referee can easily show the offender a yellow card for encroachment.
Save the flag or finger?
Sao Paulo: An Argentine soccer fan suffered a broken finger late on Tuesday after three Brazilians tried to rip an Argentina flag from his hands in World Cup host city Belo Horizonte, the website of local newspaper Estado de S.Paulo reported. Brazil plans to beef up security inside and outside stadiums where Argentina play in order to minimise the chances of any violence between rival hooligans.
Javier, the philosopher
Santos: Mexcio’s Javier Hernandez is set to start on the bench for Friday’s World Cup match against Cameroon but he will accept such a decision philosophically despite being his country’s highest active scorer with 35 goals.
“In no way do I feel like a first-choice player, that’s how I’ve felt from when I was 12 or 13. The simple fact of being in the squad makes me happy, very motivated, with a new dream and trying to enjoy it to the maximum,” Javier said.
The European brigade
Sao Paulo: European clubs have provided more than 75 percent of players at the World Cup despite fewer than half the 32 teams coming from Europe. The European Club Association says the continent’s teams have sent 563 players to Brazil, representing 190 clubs in 23 different countries. Bayern Munich and Manchester United each have 14 players at the World Cup, the ECA says. The ECA says almost one in six World Cup players is registered with an English club.
Big Head predictor
Sao Paulo: In the sleepy Brazilian coastal village of Praia Do Forte, there lives a 25-year-old loggerhead turtle named Cabecao, or Big Head, according to a website. Big Head predicts that his country is going to win its first match of the World Cup. Recall Paul the Octopus, who accurately predicted the outcome of eight matches in the 2010 World Cup?
Kite surfer collision
Rio de Janeiro: The Netherlands captain Robin van Persie and defender Daryl Janmaat emerged unscathed Tuesday after a collision with a kite surfer on Rio’s Ipanema beach. Neither player showed any ill effects of the incident at the Netherlands training session on Tuesday afternoon, at the Estadio da Gavea, in Rio.
Leo’s mansion mission
Sao Paulo: Sky-high property prices in Brazil have claimed a new victim in Argentina forward Lionel Messi, the world's highest-paid footballer. Messi scrapped plans to rent a mansion for his family outside the city of Belo Horizonte for the duration of the World Cup, according to O Estado de S. Paulo.
Messi and his staff thought the 150,000 reais ($67,600) rent for a month-long stay in the 21,500-square foot mansion was expensive, Estado said. In addition to proposing a lower rent, Messi's entourage pressed the landlord to put up an enclosure for privacy purposes.