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What’s up at the World Cup?

Interests at the World Cup…besides the games themselves:

– Fans love to play dress up at the World Cup.

Puma Tricks

Puma Tricks

– Have you noticed, Gianluigi Buffon, the Italian keeper is tricked out in matching gloves and boots? That’s really a play on words since he wears Puma Tricks boots; a pink boot and matching glove on his right side, and a blue boot and glove on the left. Quite the eye catcher.  His fellow teammate Mario Balotelli also wears the Puma Tricks because, as he was reported to have said in the Bloomberg BusinessWeek article on the Puma World Cup Strategy, “In the end, it is exactly the reason why chose to be with PUMA. They dare to be different, and everyone knows that I do as well.”

– How can FIFA ban Beats headphones from the World Cup? Couldn’t athletes have the argument that it’s part of their pregame ritual?  You know how superstitious and routine oriented they can be in their preparations… just seems like one more thing FIFA has manipulated in order to put money in their pockets.

Portugal v Sweden - FIFA 2014 World Cup Qualifier: Play-off First Leg

Raul Meireles

– Luka Modricwoody woodpecker of Croatia got a hair cut; Marouane Fellaini of Belgium didn’t; Michael Bradley still sports a shiny pate; Raul Meireles of Portugal has a kind of Woody Woodpecker mohawk going; Bacary Sagna of France has signature braids falling from a center part; Brazilian defender David Luiz’s trademark curls can be picked out in the crowd…and so on…but perhaps the, uh, ‘best’ hair is Kyle Beckerman whose dreadlocks don’t look like they’ve been touched (and who would want to) in years.

– Did you notice that the refs are using a vanishing spray for the first time in the world cup to mark lines for kickers and defenders to stand behind on free kicks.  There is supposed to be a 10 yard separation on free kicks, but players are always encroaching, and refs are always having to take extra time to  reset them. The spray clearly marks where players have to stand. For once the US and Canada are leading the way in soccer/football, as they have been using the spray in Major League Soccer (MLS) for several years. The substance disappears after about a minute.

– The English squad can’t blame the WAGs for distracting them and contributing to their early exit.  WAG’s? Wives and Girlfriends.  The Brit tabloids coined the phrase in the 2006 World Cup and the women were in the headlines about as much as their male counterparts who were playing on the biggest stage of the world.  The English thought the women a major distraction for their team.  But let’s face it – who isn’t interested to see who’s on the arm of these famous footballers.

Who is top this year?  Shakira (who doesn’t know this gyrating diva?) and her beau, Gerard Pique of Spain. And, did you catch Clint Dempsey of the USA’s wife Bethany in the SI Swimsuit edition, with a painted on swimsuit.

Messi and girlfriend

Messi and girlfriend

Then there’s the slight of foot Lionel Messi’s beautiful mate, Antonella Roccuzzo. They’re such a cute petite couple. And let’s not forget Irina Shayk, the Russian super model girlfriend of Cristiano Ronaldo.

There are plenty more…  it’s said that Iker Casillas, the Spanish keeper was distracted at key moments by his beautiful reporter girlfriend, Sara Carbonero. As you may know, defending World Cup champions, Spain were eliminated after two games and Casillas had several gaffs in the competition.  Maybe there’s something to this.

– Best Kit? E! picked their top eight and are putting it to a vote. Check it out: here

– Goal line technology is being used for the first time in the World Cup and to good effect. The first real test was the French win over Honduras. The ball hit the far post on a shot by Benzema; it rebounded across  the goal and the Honduran goalie reacted rather late and unfortunately bungled the ball across the line.  Goal line technology showed the ball was not in at the post (No Goal), but did cross over when the goalie tried to recover it (Goal).  It only took seconds for the information to flash to a watch worn by the match referee.  Cool!Goal Line Tech

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