World Cup Daily (June 10): Cristiano Ronaldo update, Belgium golazo, Sepp Blatter controversy
Here's the World Cup fun you missed on Tuesday, June 10:
RONALDO SET TO PLAY VS. GERMANY: Patellar tendinitis may have prevented Cristiano Ronaldo from facing Mexico last Friday, but it won't stop him from captaining his country against Germany on Monday. That according to an ESPN report. He started on Tuesday night against the Republic of Ireland at MetLife Stadium.
But if you want more proof he's doing fine, just check out this practice video. He's doing some pretty intense dancing:
FIFA RELEASES REFEREE DESIGNATIONS: At least for the first four matches. American Eric Boria was named a reserve assistant referee for the Chile vs. Australia match on June 13.
The opener between Brazil and Croatia will be left in the hands of a Japanese/Iranian crew. Check out the ref lists here.
BOSNIAN COACHES MUGGED: Safet Susic and his technical staff walked out for a stroll without telling their security detail and they were approached by muggers. But patrolling police scared them away.
One report claims that Susic laughed off the incident: "We grew up in Bosnia, where the streets were far more dangerous than that!"
WHO TO LOATHE AT THE WORLD CUP: While the World Cup guides and lists try to give you teams to root for (if you're not American), the excellent Cathal Kelly of The Globe and Mail in Canada takes another slant: He gives you a reason to hate all 32 teams.
CROATIAN PLAYER TO SING BRAZILIAN ANTHEM: That's what Eduardo told his family he's going to do on Thursday for the World Cup inaugural match. He was born in Brazil, but he is naturalized Croatian. His fellow Croatians probably won't appreciate hearing that "he's Croatian for work."
BLATTER UNDER FIRE: Just in time for the FIFA Congress happening in Brazil in conjunction with the World Cup, two of Europe's leading officials -- the heads of the soccer federations in England and the Netherlands -- have called for FIFA president Sepp Blatter to step down and not seek re-election.
And heaping on the misery was former CONCACAF president Jack Warner, who was demanding Blatter to do the same: "FIFA will never change under Blatter." (click here for video)
DOES BRAZIL EVEN WANT THE WORLD CUP?: And if that weren't enough for FIFA to handle just days before the opener, the anti-World Cup murals in Brazil continue to get a lot of pub. Reuters published a series of them here.
HERE'S WHY BEATING GHANA IS SO IMPORTANT: On the field, US boss Jurgen Klinsmann has called the first group game vs. Ghana a "knockout match." How important is it? SI.com crunched the numbers since 1998:
- 9 percent of teams that lose their opener advance to the second round;
- 56 percent of teams that tied their opener advanced;
- 87 percent of teams that win their opener made it through.
Oh, and the USA have also never made it out of the group stage after losing their first game.
GHANA MAY BE DOWN A MAN: Speaking of the Black Stars, it turns out that the injury suffered by forward Abdul Majeed Waris may keep him out vs. the USA on June 16 and possibly out of the tournament entirely.
Waris left Monday's friendly match against South Korea in the fourth minute with a slight tear in his left thigh, according to one report. Then again Jordan Ayew substituted Waris and registered a hat trick against the Koreans. So they may not miss him much after all.
J-LO WILL BE AT WORLD CUP AFTER ALL: After reports on Monday that she was skipping out on the World Cup opening ceremony, Jennifer Lopez, who a late night TV audience watched in a tight pants competition on Monday, confirmed she will be alongside Pitbull after all.
FOOTBALL VS. FÚTBOL: There was bound to be one marketer to play off the theme this World Cup. This car company used Brazilian model and actress Adriana Lima to drive the point home:
BELGIAN DELICACY: This must be why Belgium are everyone's favorite dark horse World Cup pick. Check out this Adnan Januzaj goal:
WORLD CUP SKILLZ: From good to bad. The man under the cap is England manager Roy Hodgson attempting to dribble a soccer ball.
MEXICO STARTING LINEUP?: Miguel Herrera has made it a habit of divulging his starting XI the day before every match leading up to the World Cup. El Tri open their World Cup on Friday against Cameroon (noon ET, ESPN2), and so you'd expect to hear from Herrera on Thursday.
In the meantime, the media say they already have the lineup and ESPN's John Sutcliffe confirms Memo Ochoa will start in goal:
— José María Garrido (@josemagarrido) June 10, 2014
NEW BARCELONA SIGNING PLAYS THURSDAY: Croatian midfielder Ivan Rakitic will likely be going up against his future FC Barcelona teammate Neymar on Thursday (4 pm ET, ESPN) if you believe reports from Spain. Mundo Deportivo claims that Barcelona have come to an agreement with UEFA Europa League champions Sevilla and an official announcement could come any day now.
Meanwhile, Sevilla announced a one-year contract extension to Rakitic's current contract. Hmmm. Upping the transfer ante perhaps?
US MEDIA IN SOCCER FRENZY: Every day there's a new mainstream outlet writing about the state of soccer in America. Today it was the turn of Seattle Times columnist Larry Stone: "When the World Cup hype fades, soccer will remain what it was before the tournament: a formidable presence in America."
ANOTHER WORLD CUP GUIDE: If you're still playing catch-up on the World Cup, international sports daily SPORT360 on Tuesday released its World Cup guide. Flip through it by clicking here.