Here's the World Cup fun you missed on Monday, June 16:
SERIAL NOSE-PICKER JOACHIM LÖW STRIKES AGAIN: The German national team manager has a well-documented habit of digging for gold while sitting the bench. This video from 2010 HERE is pretty damning evidence – don't watch it if you're at all squeamish.
While he didn't top those antics at the end of Germany's 4-0 destruction of Portugal, he did still manage to give Cristiano Ronaldo a parting gift as the superstar walked off the field:
Someone please get that man a handkerchief and a bottle of Purel. And let the US players and staff be warned: Skipping the postgame congratulations – win, lose or draw – might be a good idea against Mr. Löw & Co.
BAY AREA SUPPORTS WONDO: Chris Wondolowski and the USMNT began their World Cup quest on Monday, and the San Jose Earthquakes put together a video wishing their star striker well in Brazil:
PROTESTERS BURN AMERICAN FLAG: There have been protests around Brazil since the tournament got underway. One of those took place in Natal, where the US national team played their first game against Ghana on Monday. A group of 150 protesters reportedly burned the American flag in protest of government expenses, apparently related to security for the USMNT. Also, there were reportedly confrontations between protesters and US fans in Natal surrounding the area, but no major incidents.
PEPE HEAD-BUTT GETS LEGO TREATMENT: Portugal defender Pepe provided one of the images of the tournament with his ducking head-butt of a seated Thomas Müller in Germany's 4-0 win on Monday. Pepe got sent off for the reckless act, and now lego has immortalized it. Of course, it looks far more normal between ... nope, still looks silly.
INJURY CONCERN PERSISTS FOR HULK: Brazil striker Hulk has been hobbled by an injury, and although the good news is that an MRI didn't reveal any damage, he may not be healthy enough to go against Mexico on Tuesday (3 pm ET, ESPN/Univision).
According to reports, Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari is both concerned that Hulk's potential absence may disrupt the team, but also confident any replacement will be up to the task: "In my opinion, I did a good job picking the players for my squad."
KOBE BRYANT AT THE WORLD CUP: NBA superstar Kobe Bryant is well known as a soccer fan, and he made it back to the World Cup again, speaking to ESPN on Sunday and making the rounds at the tournament. He played in a futsal game in Brazil (watch below):
Oh, and Bryant had a photo op with FIFA president Sepp Blatter. Blatter was impressed enough to tweet out his encounter with the five-time NBA champion: