World Cup 2014

World Cup Daily (June 19): Ballotelli asks for reward from Queen Elizabeth, plus Messi as scary robot

FIFA World Cup trophy

Photo Credit: 
USA TODAY Sports

Here's all the World Cup fun you missed on Thursday, June 19:


SAY LIZ, HOW ABOUT A KISS? Mario Ballotelli has a sense of humor. He's also pretty audacious, judging by a recent tweet ahead of Italy's game against Costa Rica on Friday:

If Italy beat Costa Rica, England's hopes of advancing past the group stage remain alive, even if it is pretty unlikely at this point. Would Queen Elizabeth be willing to trade a kiss for that?


ANIMATRONIC MESSI WILL HAUNT YOUR DREAMS: Do you remember going to the beach or an amusement park with your family, and seeing the caricature artists available for hire? Brazilian TV network Globo decided to bring a caricature of Argentine star Lionel Messi to life, so to speak, by building an animatronic version of him. Truthfully, it's terrifying.

Seriously, we're really sorry. But it does raise an important question -- did Brazilians build this frightening robot to turn neutrals the world over away from Messi? Because if they did, poor form, Globo.


GET ME AN OXYGEN TANK: Leave it to BuzzFeed to point out the 17 times Sporting Kansas City and US national team midfielder Graham Zusi made us lose our breath.


TUBBY TIME: But if you don't have a Zusi photo album handy, here's another way for a pick-me-upper: some time in a jacuzzi. That's Japan's formula after their 2-1 opening match loss to Ivory Coast.

"A few of us had a bit of a chat in the Jacuzzi the other day," said forward Yoshito Okubo. "We told each other how rubbish we were but not to let it get to us. It's good to finish things off with a laugh."


HOME AWAY FROM HOME: But if the Japanese think they have it good, wait until you read about the German national team's custom-made camp base: Campo Bahia. Yep, they built it themselves and the Germany federation apparently shipped 23 tons of stuff to make the players feel at home.


GREATEST AMERICAN SINCE ABE LINCOLN: That's what John Anthony Brooks' Wiki page read after his game-winner vs. Ghana. And while some already have him on Mt. Rushmore, you probably don't know as much as you should about the US defender. This article should set you straight.


15 MINUTES OF FAME: Assistant referees are never in the news. Unless you're MLS AR Joe Fletcher and you're left hanging before Spain vs. Chile.

What? You didn't know Fletcher was an MLS official? Get to know him here:


SADNESS IN BRASILIA: We've seen plenty of emotional national anthems during this World Cup and on Thursday it was Ivory Coast midfielder Serey Die shedding tears. But reports claim that the emotion was due to the passing of his father just two hours prior to the match. He still started in central midfield against Colombia and went 73 minutes.


GREATEST DUTCH PLAYER OF ALL-TIME?: The Netherlands have played two matches and won them both. The star of the show so far? Robben Van Persie, of course.


BLOWING IT UP: That's what one fan did before tossing this giant soccer beach ball onto the field. James Rodriguez, who scored a goal and made the decisive tackle on the game-winner, took care of it. All in a day's work:


WORLD CUP FEVER: When they say that the world tunes in to the World Cup, it's no joke. They're even watching the games at the camel market in Saudi Arabia.