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SAMBA BEATS

There’s space for fans

Recife: For many fans, the experience of seeing their team in the World Cup will be out of this world, but for the American and German astronauts aboard the International Space Station, it will literally be the case when their teams clash in the tournament.

Americans Reid Wiseman and Steve Swanson and German Alexander Gerst will be watching from 230 miles above the earth when their teams meet in their final Group G game at the Pernambuco arena, in Recife, on June 26.

Pope hope

Vatican City: Pope Francis is hoping the World Cup will be played in a spirit of fraternity and fair play, and be a sign of solidarity among people. In a video message in Portuguese to fans and organisers in Brazil, the Argentine pope said that sport was not only a form of entertainment, but above all a means to promote the good and build a more just, fraternal and peaceful society.

Fee pinch

Turin: The Italian football team is quite literally acting pricey at the World Cup, inviting the ire of journalists wanting to cover the four-time champions in Brazil. The Italian Football Federation has imposed a fee for providing video news at press conferences in Brazil — a move that has been condemned by editors, publishers and news agencies.

In danger

Oslo: The armadillo, mascot of the Fifa World Cup, is threatened with extinction in the wild because of hunting, loss of habitat and even from the soccer tournament itself, scientists said on Thursday. There are fears that all the World Cup publicity may lead people to adopt the cute animals as pets, putting their dwindling numbers under further pressure.

Late, in style

Salvador: Wire stadium fences are being unfolded, new X-ray security machines are being unpacked at entrances and clouds of dust billow across roads leading to the World Cup venue — Arena Fonte Nova in Salvador.

The work in progress on Thursday suggested that not everything may be ready.

“That is the Brazilian style. We leave everything for the last moment,” said Maria Flavio, a volunteer working at a media gate.

Truck record

Salvador: A World Cup adventure in the vast expanse of Brazil is a demanding task for any fan but one Dutchman arrives having already clocked up 21,000 kilometres in his truck ‘Nellie’ before a ball is kicked.

Ben Oude Kamphuis, 53, rolled across Brazil's northern border in late May in his original 1955 Chevy, after a five month journey that began in San Francisco and incorporated desert, mountains and rainforest on his way through 12 countries to the World Cup hosts.

Agencies