Desert Outtakes: Brazilian press officer criticised for treatment of stray cat

Saka or Grealish.. who’d you want your sister to date? Zidane at left back and £10,000 for a ticket

Real men are kind to cats

Cat owners all over the world will be supporting Croatia on Friday afternoon after the Brazilian press officer’s treatment of a stray cat during a Vinícius Júnior press conference was caught on camera.

Animal rights organisation Peta responded to the video which quickly went viral. The press officer, after initially stroking the cat, gripped it with two hands before tossing it off the table.

“What’s this guy’s problem?” asked Peta. “Next time he encounters a cat, he should smile & laugh like Brazil star Vinicius instead of being so rude & rough. We hope someone is looking after this sweet cat who is probably homeless – just like so many others.”

A further tweet added: “Real men are kind to animals, including cats!” What would Roy Keane say!

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Nice guy Saka

Bukayo Saka really does come across as such a likeable guy, and the Arsenal winger has been a star man off the field so far this World Cup as well as on it with three goals in as many games. In one of the English FA’s latest social media videos, Saka is caught sheepishly asking David Beckham for a photograph: “Sorry to interrupt ... can I have a picture with you?”

The sort of guy you’d want your sister to date? Well his English team-mate James Maddison seems to think so. Asked during an interview with talkSPORT who in the England squad would make the best son-in-law, the Leicester City playmaker was in no doubt: “The first one who springs to mind I think is Bukayo Saka. B’s just such a nice kid. You just get this relationship with him. He’s such a nice guy to everyone that you build such a good relationship with him.

“And if I had a sister or a daughter and they said to me: ‘Oh, I’m going on a date with Bukayo Saka,‘ I’d be like: ‘Enjoy yourself. Let him pay, but enjoy yourself.’’

What about former Irish underage international Jack Grealish? “If I had a family member and they told me: ‘Oh, I’m going on a date with Jack Grealish,‘ I’d be like: ‘Nah, you’re not. Nah, you’re not.’”

In numbers

10,000 – According to British media reports tickets for England’s World Cup quarter-final clash with France are going for more than 28 times their face value at £10,000 on re-sale sites.

In words

Morocco offered absolutely nothing, without disrespecting them. In the game, they did nothing. They just waited for the counters. They stayed behind and tried to counter us.

—  Spain midfielder Rodri after his team lost to Morocco on penalties in the last-16

Best left back ever

If you thought dropping semi-final hero Lucas Moura for Tottenham’s 2019 Champions League final defeat to Liverpool was a strange call, wait until you see Mauricio Pochettino’s greatest World Cup XI.

The likes of Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Kylian Mbappé all miss out, as only retired players were eligible. Fair enough.

But at left wing-back, the former Spurs and PSG boss has picked one of the greatest midfielders of all time – Zinedine Zidane. And to continue the theme of all out attack, David Beckham is picked at right wing-back. Maybe a bit of guilt there for Argentina getting Becks sent off at the 1998 World Cup, as the former Manchester United midfielder never made it past a World Cup quarter-final.

Pochettino told The Athletic, who he picked the team for: “You’re asking me if I’m crazy, right?” Yep we are.

Pochettino’s greatest World Cup XI: Thomas N’Kono; David Beckham, Carlos Puyol, Franz Beckenbauer, Paolo Maldini, Zinedine Zidane; Michael Laudrup, Diego Maradona; Johan Cruyff, Pele, Hristo Stoichkov.

Mourinho’s rules

We already knew Jose Mourinho was a fan of the dark arts, but according to John Terry he knew the rules better than the referees.

Working as a pundit on beIN Sports’ World Cup coverage in Qatar, the former Chelsea captain explained the lengths to which Mourinho would go to win:

“I remember, the rule was, if we were 1-0 up and the ball got delivered into the box, if two defenders went up together and both went down on the floor after, you didn’t have to go off the field of play.

“So last 10 or 15 minutes, he would sit me and Gary Cahill down and go: ‘when the ball comes in the box, make sure you both go down – bump into each other and both go down because you can’t both go off.

“We’d never heard of that rule ever. So ball comes over in the last 10 minutes, head it away, Gaz goes down and I think ‘I better go down’. So I dropped to the floor and the ref said ‘you two off the pitch’. I said ‘no that’s not the rule, check with the linesman’ ... ‘yeah you’re right, you both stay on.’ Mourinho was so far ahead with those little bits.”

Eamon Donoghue

Eamon Donoghue

Eamon Donoghue is a sports journalist with The Irish Times