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BRAZIL BEAT: Argentinian announcer stokes rivalry

June 22, 2014
Associated Press

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — One man appears to have taken it upon himself to stoke a rivalry that needs little additional heat.

Forget the inevitable "goooaaaaal" cry. Alejandro Fantino — commentator for Argentina's main sports radio station, La Red — used Lionel Messi's 93rd-minute score against Iran on Saturday to launch his second anti-Brazil tirade in as many games.

Highlights included: "I have the Pope. I have Messi. You don't have anything."

After Messi's goal secured Argentina a 2-1 victory against Bosnia-Herzegovina in the opening World Cup match, Fantino decided to take on Flamengo, Brazil's most popular club. He claimed Messi's late score was for "those Flamengo supporters who questioned Argentina" and "criticized the team."

Meanwhile, a popular Brazilian sports newspaper responded to Argentina's opening victory with a front page headline asking, "Is that it?"

— By Luke Norman

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PATIENCE REWARDED

BRASILIA, Brazil (AP) — Hundreds of fans spent hours in front of the team hotel in Brasilia to try to get a glimpse of the Brazilian players Sunday.

There was not a lot they could see from outside the gates, but they were rewarded when goalkeeper Julio Cesar showed up. Cesar stayed with the fans for nearly an hour, signing jerseys and posing for photos.

Brazilian players were allowed to welcome relatives inside their hotel Sunday, a rare opportunity to be with their loved ones during the tournament.

Nearby, a few Cameroon fans stayed outside their team's hotel, but no player had showed up to greet them by early afternoon.

Brazil will play Cameroon on Monday in their final Group A match. The hosts need at least a draw to advance to the second round, and a win will likely secure first place. Cameroon is already eliminated after losing its first two matches.

— By Tales Azzoni — www.twitter.com/tazzoni

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WAINWRIGHT'S SUPPORT

ST. LOUIS (AP) — Cardinals pitcher Adam Wainwright showed up at Busch Stadium displaying his backing of the U.S. World Cup team.

A day after beating the Philadelphia Phillies 4-1 to improve to 10-3, Wainwright had the American flag painted on his face when he went out to stretch with his St. Louis teammates before Sunday's series finale.

The native of Brunswick, Georgia, is an avid soccer fan and said he was looking forward to the U.S. game against Portugal later Sunday. Wainwright kept the paint on during the playing of the national anthem, then removed it before the first pitch.

Wainwright, who attended 1994 World Cup matches in Orlando, Florida, said his wife did the painting.

"Let's do this," he said.

— Steve Overbey

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REX IN RIO

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Compared to running with the bulls, this offseason excursion was quite tame for Rex Ryan.

The New York Jets coach was spotted at Maracana Stadium in Rio during Sunday's World Cup game between Belgium and Russia. Last July, Ryan joined thousands of thrill-seekers in the annual running of the bulls at the San Fermin festival in Pamplona, Spain.

Ryan spent some time around world player of the year Cristiano Ronaldo and Portugal when the national team was training at the NFL club's practice facility in New Jersey before the World Cup. No doubts on Ryan's loyalties, though. Portugal faces the American squad later in the day in the jungle city of Manaus, and Ryan was wearing a U.S. shirt at the Maracana on Sunday.

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STICKER SHOCK

CURITIBA, Brazil (AP) — Panini sticker album swappers were doing a brisk trade Sunday morning in Curitiba, just as they have been since the start of the World Cup.

Over 100 people of all ages gather at Ukraine Square every morning to try to fill their albums with the likes of Brazilian star Neymar, Argentina wonder Lionel Messi, or Portuguese phenom Cristiano Ronaldo.

But even though Miraslov Klose matched the World Cup record of 15 goals scored in the finals, the Germany striker's card was no hotter a commodity than any other one as collectors just look to fill their sticker albums, period.

"It's been as busy as this since the World Cup started, no difference from morning to morning," said 20-year-old Thiago Zortea as he shuffled through cards in search of a certain number so he could make a trade. "Klose is no different from (Japan's Keisuke) Honda."

The dealing will go on right until the July 13 final, with vendors attaching themselves to the square to sell drinks and popcorn to hungry parents and kids, as they all entertain swaps with one another.

— By Paul Logothetis — www.twitter.com/PaulLogoAP

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WIMBLEDON'S WORLD CUP

LONDON (AP) — Andy Murray says the World Cup is a big focus of conversation at Wimbledon.

"Pretty much when you walk into the locker room most mornings, that's what almost all of the players are talking about," Murray said Sunday on the eve of his title defense.

England has failed to advance out of the group stage, meaning more interest might be focused on Wimbledon and Murray's play here. Defending champion Spain, with Rafael Nadal one its biggest boosters, is also out after losing both group matches.

"I mean, a lot of the Spanish guys have been a little bit quiet the last few days," Murray said, smiling.

He said the World Cup also "gives me something to do in the evenings."

"I don't have to listen to people talking about me playing at Wimbledon," he said. "I can just watch the football."

— By Dennis Passa — http://twitter.com/DennisPassa

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TWITTER GAFFE

MANAUS, Brazil (AP) — Landon Donovan is still the biggest name in American soccer. He's just not playing for the U.S. at the World Cup.

So an unfortunate tweet from Samsung Mobile Arabia went viral for all the wrong reasons Sunday when the company posted: "Best of luck to Landon Donovan & the USA team."

The 32-year-old Donovan, the American career leader in goals and assists, was cut from the squad last month. He was part of a Samsung ad campaign that included the likes of Argentina star Lionel Messi and England's Wayne Rooney.

The account also tweeted well-wishes to another endorser Sunday: "Cristiano Ronaldo is all set for today's match. We wish Portugal team all the very best." At least Ronaldo is indeed on Portugal's squad for the game against the United States.

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Associated Press reporters will be filing dispatches about happenings in and around Brazil during the 2014 World Cup. Follow AP journalists covering the World Cup on Twitter: https://twitter.com/AP_Sports/world-cup-2014

 
 

 

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