From Russia With Love: Is it Arlene Foster or Mesut Ozil?

Meanwhile, South Korea’s Moon Seon-min has got no fans, word of mouth and more

The ‘Find Your World Cup Twin’ threw up some interesting results.

The ‘Find Your World Cup Twin’ threw up some interesting results.


Judging by the number of people using the ‘Find Your World Cup Twin’ app on the website of Verdens Gang, the Norwegian paper is probably getting as many hits as Fifa’s site this weather. The idea is that you upload your own photo to find out which World Cup player most resembles you, but you can use any face at all – and the results are quite interesting. For example, @BeardedGenius discovered that the late Fred West’s World Cup twin is Marcos Rojo, which you can be sure the Argentinian is chuffed about.

We went down the political route and there were some puzzling findings, Labour leader Brendan Howlin twinned with Japan’s Shinji Okazaki, a likeness we’re struggling to see, to be honest, and DUP leader Arlene Foster with, well, Mesut Ozil. Fianna Fail’s Micheal Martin, meanwhile, was paired with German super hero Tony Kroos, while the Taoiseach Leo Varadkar is, apparently, the spit of Serbian goalkeeper Vladimir Stojkovic. Sinn Fein’s Mary Lou McDonald is matched with Colombia’s Juan Quintero but we reckon the happiest of the lot will be President Michael D Higgins - his twin is the wonder that is Luka Modric.

‘Arsenal’ gone wrong

With the focus currently 110 per cent on the World Cup, it’s hard for clubs to get all that much attention. But Arsenal have certainly managed to do just that with the positioning of the head of their new gaffer Unai Emery on the cover of the latest edition of the club magazine.


Moon Seon-min, you’ve got no fans

The website has a highly detailed analysis of ‘The Top Influencers At The World Cup’ – in plainer English, that means how many followers the players have on sites like Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

There are no great surprises in the top 10: 1 Cristiano Ronaldo (326.2m fans), 2 Neymar (196.1m), 3 Lionel Messi (185.9m), 4 Andres Iniesta (74m), 5 Mesut Ozil (71.5m), 6 Sergio Ramos (63.3m), 7 Marcelo (56.9m), 8 Gerard Pique (54.3m), 9 Toni Kroos (37m), 10 Paul Pogba (35.8m).

The other end of the list, though, would break your heart. Saddest of all is the claim that South Korea’s Moon Seon-min has “no fans” on Facebook, although they’re being a little harsh on Serbia’s Antonio Rukavina when they point out that he has only eight followers on Twitter, compared to Ronaldo’s 74 million.

Give the lad a break, he’s only ever tweeted once, and that was in August 2013, the month he signed up. You can only assume he lost his password.

Word Of Mouth

“Football is a simple game, 22 men chase the ball for 82 minutes and the Germans get a player sent off so 21 men chase the ball for 13 minutes and at the end the Germans somehow ****ing win.” – Gary Lineker taking Toni Kroos’ last minute winner quite well.

By The Numbers

17: That’s how many international goals Romelu Lukaku has scored in the last 12 months – more than Messi, Neymar, Griezmann, Muller, Sanchez, Sane, Sterling, Icardi and Aubameyang combined, according to the calculator of The Times’ James Gheerbrant. Decent.

Wasted Trip

Retired Barcelona legend Carles Puyol was invited to appear on Iranian TV as a pundit for the country’s World Cup game against Spain but, according to the BBC, his trademark flowing locks proved to be a bit of a problem.

After travelling to Tehran, Puyol arrived at the studios of IRTV 3 but was denied entry. “Initial reporting of his absence focussed on speculation that his appearance fee was set too high – but then a different story emerged. Mr Puyol was told by the state broadcaster IRIB he could not appear in the programme “because of his long hair”.”

And there ended his punditry career on Iranian TV before it even started. The mystery is how anyone was unaware that Puyol has long since been the owner of a hair-do that wouldn’t make him look out of place behind Whitesnake’s drums.

Remember: Rostov-on-Don is not Rostov Veliky

According to Google Maps it would take 14 hours and 25 minutes to drive the 804 miles from Rostov-on-Don in southern Russia to Rostov Veliky north-east of Moscow. This report from Tass, then, was most unfortunate:

“Several Spanish football fans who came to the Russian city of Rostov-on-Don to attend World Cup matches had mistakenly booked a hotel in Rostov Veliky.”

So, that would have left them with quite a trip to put their heads down after each game. Tass, though, said that their taxi driver rang the emergency services to report the mishap having used an online translator to figure out why the people in his vehicle were somewhat stressed. “The 112 service operator provided him with information about nearby hotels,” they said.

All you can do is pray that he didn’t agree to drop them off in their Rostov Veliky hotel.

Patriot takes appropriate action

The English press got a bit of a lashing in the run-up to the Panama game for publishing that photo of a team-sheet in the hands of assistant manager Steve Holland during training. Accusations of a lack of patriotism abounded. So, when the real team-sheet was distributed before Sunday’s game, the London Independent’ Jonathan Liew couldn’t resist...

Least gracious after defeat

We’ll go for the head of the Serbian Football Association for this one, Slavisa Kokeza not taking that 2-1 defeat to Switzerland tremendously well. The chief source of his annoyance? That the ref was German.

“Technical staff, players, people in Serbia, they are all disappointed and frustrated because of injustice some people at Fifa came up with. It is clear to Europe and the world that Serbia was brutally robbed. I do not expect Fifa to take action in order for this brutal robbery not to happen again, because, I repeat, it was all directed.”


“We all know too well that more than half of Switzerland’s population is German.”


Japan fail to follow orders

Japanese coach Akira Nishino was asked in advance of Sunday’s game against Senegal how his team would cope with the physical challenge posed by their opponents.

“In last few days I told my players to grow 5cm and put on 5kg. They couldn’t do it. So instead we will have to try to win by using the ball well.”

Plan B, then.

Hero of the weekend

That steward who prevented a Nigeria fan from falling over the edge when he somewhat ecstatically celebrated his nation’s second goal against Iceland. Fair play.

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