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SAMBA BEATS

Cheers to the crowd

Rio de Janeiro: The average attendance at 2014 World Cup matches is now the second highest of all time with an average gate of 52,762, overtaking the 52,491 at the 2006 tournament in Germany, Fifa said on Sunday. The record average attendance was set in the United States in 1994 at 68,991.

The total attendance after 60 matches with four still to play stands at 3,165,693, meaning an average of 98.3 per cent capacity across the tournament.

In secret

Santo Andre: Germany have spent most of their time at the World Cup behind the high walls of their ‘Campo Bahia’ fortress on the shores of the Atlantic — largely avoiding contact with fans, locals and the media.

With their uniquely meticulous style of doing things, the Germans have created an almost impermeable cocoon around their exclusive resort with its 14 luxury villas, shielding their players from the outside world and its distractions.

Ban man

Rio de Janeiro: Brazil’s chief media officer Rodrigo Paiva has been banned for three matches and fined 10,000 Swiss francs ($11,200) by Fifa following a half-time bust-up in their last 16 match against Chile in Belo Horizonte on June 28. Fifa’s Disciplinary Committee handed Paiva the ban — with a further one match suspended — after he was involved in a fracas in the tunnel at the Mineirao stadium.

Decline

Brasilia: After the attack-minded tactics and goal glut of the group stages, the World Cup quarter finals were predictably marked by caution.

Only five goals were scored across the four games, one a penalty and one a direct free-kick, and the average per match at the finals has crept down to 2.6, still the highest since 2.7 in France 1998, but far short of the record of 5.4 in Switzerland in 1954.

Hope 62

Sao Paulo: Brazil have won a World Cup after losing their best player and they will be looking to the memory of 1962, when Pele was injured against Czechoslovakia, as an omen to get them over the loss of injured talisman Neymar.

“In the 1962 World Cup, we lost Pele. The team then released Amarildo on the world, a player who even today is remembered very fondly, and who helped Brazil win their second World Cup,” Carlos Alberto Torres, captain of the great 1970 side, has said.

Safety first

Rio de Janeiro: Brazil’s justice ministry said police have detained the alleged leader of Argentina’s infamous football hooligans inside a World Cup stadium. The ministry said Pablo Alvarez was taken into custody Saturday at the Brasilia Stadium.