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Jun 18, 2014

Soccer-After early blunders, World Cup referees earn welcome anonymity

SAO PAULO, June 18 (Reuters) – Come-from-behind victories have been common at this year’s World Cup, so it seems apt that, after a decidedly shaky start to the tournament, referees have disappeared from the headlines and let the scintillating soccer do the talking.

Croatia coach Niko Kovac warned of a “circus” after Japanese official Yuichi Nishimura’s questionable penalty award in the opening match, which swung the game in host Brazil’s favour and threatened to eclipse Neymar’s brilliance on the pitch.

Jun 18, 2014

Akinfeev admits ‘childish’ error, Russia team rally round

SAO PAULO (Reuters) – Russian goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev has called his basic error during the team’s 1-1 draw with South Korea in Cuiaba on Tuesday “childish”, but he can take comfort from team mates and the local media who have rallied around the 28-year-old.

“I want to apologize to everybody, it was a childish mistake on my part, a ridiculous goal,” he said on the Russian Football Union’s official website.

Jun 18, 2014

Soccer-Akinfeev admits ‘childish’ error, Russia team rally round

SAO PAULO, June 18 (Reuters) – Russian goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev has called his basic error during the team’s 1-1 draw with South Korea in Cuiaba on Tuesday “childish”, but he can take comfort from team mates and the local media who have rallied around the 28-year-old.

“I want to apologise to everybody, it was a childish mistake on my part, a ridiculous goal,” he said on the Russian Football Union’s official website.

Jun 16, 2014

No.10s Messi and Benzema share World Cup limelight

SAO PAULO (Reuters) – Lionel Messi ended an eight-year wait for a World Cup goal on Sunday as Argentina edged past debutants Bosnia at the Maracana stadium in Rio de Janeiro, while fellow No. 10, France’s Karim Benzema, put two past Honduras in a man-of-the-match display.

The goals continued to rattle in across Brazil. France cruised to a 3-0 victory in Porto Alegre, and in the other Group E match, Switzerland came from behind to beat Ecuador 2-1 with a dramatic, counter-attacking winner in injury time.

Jun 16, 2014

Soccer-No.10s Messi and Benzema share World Cup limelight

SAO PAULO, June 15 (Reuters) – Lionel Messi ended an eight-year wait for a World Cup goal on Sunday as Argentina edged past debutants Bosnia at the Maracana stadium in Rio de Janeiro, while fellow No. 10, France’s Karim Benzema, put two past Honduras in a man-of-the-match display.

The goals continued to rattle in across Brazil. France cruised to a 3-0 victory in Porto Alegre, and in the other Group E match, Switzerland came from behind to beat Ecuador 2-1 with a dramatic, counter-attacking winner in injury time.

Jun 15, 2014

Wily Italy outfox England, Costa Rica stun Uruguay

SAO PAULO (Reuters) – Italian experience overcame England’s youthful exuberance in an intriguing clash of styles at the World Cup on Saturday and in Group D’s other game unfancied Costa Rica beat twice champions Uruguay in the tournament’s biggest upset so far.

On a day packed with four fixtures across Brazil, England against Italy in the searing heat and humidity of Manaus had top billing, and it lived up to the hype in a thrilling contest in keeping with this tournament’s emphasis on attacking soccer.

Jun 15, 2014

Soccer-Wily Italy outfox England, Costa Rica stun Uruguay

SAO PAULO, June 14 (Reuters) – Italian experience overcame England’s youthful exuberance in an intriguing clash of styles at the World Cup on Saturday and in Group D’s other game unfancied Costa Rica beat twice champions Uruguay in the tournament’s biggest upset so far.

On a day packed with four fixtures across Brazil, England against Italy in the searing heat and humidity of Manaus had top billing, and it lived up to the hype in a thrilling contest in keeping with this tournament’s emphasis on attacking football.

Jun 14, 2014

Qatar World Cup bid organizers say they have “nothing to hide”

SAO PAULO, June 14 (Reuters) – The organizers of Qatar’s bid to host the 2022 World Cup have denied allegations published by Britain’s Sunday Times newspaper that a senior Qatari soccer official made payments in order to win support for the bid.

In a robust defense on Saturday of its campaign to host the world’s biggest sporting event, Qatar 2022 criticised the allegations of corruption that have overshadowed the buildup to the Brazilian tournament, which began on Thursday.

Jun 13, 2014

Croatia coach slams referee after opening game defeat

SAO PAULO (Reuters) – Furious Croatia coach Niko Kovac blamed “out of his depth” referee Yuichi Nishimura and warned the World Cup could turn into a circus after a contentious penalty decision effectively cost his team the opening game of the tournament against Brazil.

Japanese ref Nishimura ruled that Croatia’s Dejan Lovren had fouled Fred when the Brazilian fell to the floor with 20 minutes remaining and the score at 1-1. Neymar converted the penalty for his second goal of the game and they went on to win 3-1 in Thursday’s Group A match.

Jun 13, 2014

Soccer-Croatia coach slams referee after opening game defeat

SAO PAULO (Reuters) – Furious Croatia coach Niko Kovac blamed “out of his depth” referee Yuichi Nishimura and warned the World Cup could turn into a circus after a contentious penalty decision effectively cost his team the opening game of the tournament against Brazil.

Japanese ref Nishimura ruled that Croatia’s Dejan Lovren had fouled Fred when the Brazilian fell to the floor with 20 minutes remaining and the score at 1-1. Neymar converted the penalty for his second goal of the game and they went on to win 3-1 in Thursday’s Group A match.

    • About Mike

      "I cover arts and entertainment across Europe, Middle East and Africa, ranging from film festivals like Cannes and awards shows like the BRITs and from books and theatre to art, opera and industry stories. My previous postings include Moscow, senior correspondent in Central Asia and deputy bureau chief in Pakistan and Afghanistan. I also covered the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq."
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