Arena Amazonia, Manaus
REUTERS/Bruno Kelly

World Cup Daily (June 13): No luck for doves, preparing for Manaus, and no panda predictions

Here's the World Cup fun you missed on Friday, June 13:

DOVES, DON'T DIE: Ahead of the Brazil-Croatia kickoff on Thursday, three kids walked onto the field and released three doves. It seemed like a nice symbol of peace, right? Well, the unfortunate truth is that  two of those doves apparently died shortly after taking flight in the Arena de São Paulo. The lone survivor, meanwhile, took refuge in the press box. 

SOCCER WINS OVER ANOTHER: The World Cup creates new fans. Here's another American convert:

"SUMMER, AND HELL": Are the fears about the weather in Manaus justified or overblown? We'll see for ourselves beginning on Saturday, when England and Italy play there (of course, the USMNT will play Portugal there on June 22). Water breaks will be available during the game, but England have taken preparations for the conditions very seriously, working out bundled up in winter clothes in Portugal and riding bikes in hot rooms. No word of whether Bikram yoga was also part of the routine.

FLYING THE FRIENDLY SKIES: The US national team flew from São Paulo to Natal on Friday, and received a boost from their pilots before takeoff:

NO PANDA PROGNOSTICATORS: Paul the Octopus took the world by storm in 2010, accurately predicting many results of the World Cup that year. Since his untimely passing that year, other animals have bravely tried to step into the breach, giving the humans of the world the match picks they so desperately want. But there's one group of animals who have been banned from handing out World Cup predictions: Pandas in Chengdu, China.

Though it's currently unclear if authorities demanded the pandas keep their selections to themselves, or if the pandas' minders wanted to actually help them avoid the spotlight before their fame increased to Paul the Octopus-like levels, it seems the pandas will be sitting this tournament out.

DOMENECH SAYS FRANCE CAUSED UKRAINE'S POLITICAL WOES: Raymond Domenech is the former coach of France's national team. Known during his stint for his eccentric statements and holding bizarre beliefs (such as refusing to call up any players with the Scorpio zodiac sign), Domenech reportedly told a French magazine that Ukraine's ongoing turmoil was in part due to France's win over Ukraine in the World Cup playoff last fall. “If they had eliminated us, they would have something to cling on to by saying: ‘We’re going to the World Cup, let’s talk about something else and take on the Russians on the pitch.’ Involuntarily, we are perhaps partially responsible for the crisis in Ukraine.”

UNFURL THE FLAG: The assistant referees were busy with offside calls in Friday's Mexico-Cameroon match. It seems this official wasn't quite ready for his flag to fully catch the wind.



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