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SAMBA BEATS

Merkelís fingers crossed

Berlin: Chancellor Angela Merkel, who will watch Germany play Argentina in the World Cup final in Brazil on Sunday, said she did not mind what the score line was, so long as Germany win.

“But a European country has never won a South American World Cup. That is why we all have to cross our fingers again, as Argentina will be trying very hard. I don’t mind (the scoreline), so long as we win,” Merkel said.

Safety first

Rio de Janeiro: More than 25,000 soldiers and police, the biggest security detail in Brazil’s history, will be deployed around Rio de Janeiro to control Sunday’s World Cup final between Germany and Argentina at the Maracana Stadium.

Jose Mariano Beltrane, security secretary for the state of Rio de Janeiro, said there will be 9,300 Brazilian defence forces and at least 10,000 military police. “This will be the biggest security operation that the city or country has ever seen,” Beltrane said Friday.

Of trends

Rio de Janeiro: As a rampant Germany walked off the pitch at half-time against Brazil on Tuesday night, five-nil to the good, the country took to the Internet. “What is the highest score in a World Cup victory?” they Googled at a rate 370 times higher than the norm.

Similar search habits and emotional trends of the 32 nations in the World Cup finals have been revealed by Google after it analysed more than two billion World Cup-related searches for the 62 matches played so far.

Not a fugitive

Rio de Janeiro: A World Cup ticketing executive who fled a Rio de Janeiro hotel just before police arrived to detain him is not “a fugitive,” his company said. The executive, Ray Whelan, is with his laywer, the Match company, which has close links to football’s governing body, Fifa, said.

Final ref

Rio de Janeiro: Nicola Rizzoli of Italy will be the referee for the World Cup final between Germany and Argentina, according to Fifa officials. With a European and South American team playing, many had expected Fifa to appoint an Asian referee for Sunday’s game. However, Jim Boyce, the chairman of the Fifa’s refereeing committee, said Rizzoli would get the duty.

Costly miss

Rio de Janeiro: Argentina have been fined 300,000 Swiss francs ($336,000) for failing to bring players to four pre-match news conferences during the World Cup, Fifa said in a statement Saturday. Fifa's disciplinary committee said Argentina had breached its media and marketing regulations in news conferences on the day before games against Nigeria, Switzerland, Belgium and the Netherlands with only coach Alejandro Sabella present. The coach is supposed to appear alongside a player.

(Agencies)