Samba Soccer: Dutch space cadets and more terrible tattoos

‘I’m truthful, I don’t have time for hot air. He (Messi) looks a little weak. He doesn’t run like he used to’

 

To infinity and beyond

Robin Van Persie may have looked like Buzz Lightyear as he took flight to head in one of the goals of the tournament in the Netherlands’ 5-1 hammering of Spain, but now he might have the opportunity to take off for real.

After the Dutch soared to the top of Group B, picking up all nine points, aerospace company Ruimtebaartbedrijf SCX has offered to take Louis Van Gaal and his squad into space if they win their next four games and lift the World Cup for the first time.

Not many people fancied the Netherlands in the run-up to the tournament but with Mexico and either Costa Rica or Greece standing between the Oranje and the semi-finals, you wouldn’t bet against an out of this world triumph.

Popular snap

A billboard on the Copacabana became an unusual tourist attraction over the last few days.

The Adidas advert, which depicted Luis Suarez in some sort of victory pose/ grimace, had people queuing round the corner so they could get a picture of the Uruguyan’s gnashers poised just above their shoulders.

But now, chewy Luis has been replaced by Dani Alves, as Adidas review their marketing activity involving the Liverpool striker. Spoil sports.

What were you inking?

Last week, pictures surfaced of a Dutch fan who had Louis Van Gaal tattooed on his back, complete with a mid-air Robin Van Persie underneath. While the image at the bottom was just about passable as the Dutch striker, Louis Van Gaal didn’t look very much like Louis Van Gaal at all.

But somebody has managed to top that in the terrible tattoo stakes, with this Luis Suarez/ Hannibal Lector effort. I’m sure everybody has enjoyed a laugh at the Uruguayan’s expense over the past week but this is borderline psychotic and just really weird.

Mighty Miguel

Forbes have compiled a list of each World Cup manager and the yearly salary they receive for taking stewardship of their national sides, and it proves money can’t guarantee you success - or happiness.

The top three earners at the tournament, Fabio Capello, Roy Hodgson and Cesare Prandelli all failed to take their sides out of the group stage.

Capello pockets over €8 million a year as coach of Russia from a contract which isn’t due to run out until after they host the 2018 World Cup. And what does your that get you? A paltry two points from a group containing Belgium, Algeria and South Korea.

The list also shows there are bargains to be had. The lowest paid coach at the tournament is Mexico’s Miguel Herrera, who gets around €150,000 a year as boss of El Tri.

But while he may be the lowest paid manager, he’s also the best by an absolute mile. Herrera has been one of the best things about the World Cup.

Not only does he clearly know what he’s doing, guiding Mexico comfortably out of their group with the best defensive record of the group stages, but he’s also a bit bonkers. His celebrations have been a sight to behold, particularly the bear hug he gave Guillermo Ochoa after Mexico opened against Croatia, and his touchline gesticulations are a source of much amusement.

He’s just loads of fun, and he used to have a brilliantly terrible mullet.

So here’s to you, Miguel - the lowest paid but by far the best value.

Erm, thanks Granddad

“I’m truthful, I don’t have time for hot air. He looks a little weak. He doesn’t run like he used to.”

Lionel Messi has predictably wowed with his performances so far at the World Cup, dragging Argentina to the top of their group and looking like he can take them all the way.

But not everybody is impressed - Messi’s maternal grandfather Antonio Cuccitini clearly feels his grandson’s showing so far hasn’t been up to scratch.

Ballsy Brazilian media

Brazil’s penalty shoot-out victory over Chile was far from straightforward, and even neutrals were left with shredded nerves and chewed nails.

In the lead up to the game, the hosts’ patchy performances in the group stage, coupled with La Rojo’s impressive victory over Spain, suggested the Round of 16 tie would be anything but a formality for La Selecao.

But any Brazilian sceptism clearly didn’t extend to newspaper Meia Hora, who decided to help out Chile fans by posting flight departure times home on the front cover of Saturday’s edition.

Quite what Brazil have done in the tournament to warrant such confidence is anyone’s guess, but they avoided looking very silly - just.

Four

When opening the scoring against Uruguay with that volley, Colombian genius James Rodriguez, the undoubted star of the tournament so far, scored his fourth goal, one in each of his first four World Cup appearances. The last man to do this was Christian Vieri for Italy in 1998. And, lest we forget, Rodriguez went on to score a fifth.

Hairy Howard tribute

A USA fan has come up with a hairy tribute to ‘keeper Tim Howard - but not by trying the emulate the Everton stopper’s impressive beard.

The World Cup seems to have captured the imagination of the United States, and the support Jürgen Klinsmann’s men have received has been huge, with the 2-2 draw against Portugal breaking viewing figures for a football game in the US.

How should you show the world about your new found love of football and that you’ve really got the World Cup bug? Well, by having Tim Howard’s face and the famous stars and stripes shaved into the back of your head, obviously.

Guillermo Don’t Goa

Mexico progressed from the group stages with the joint best defensive record in the tournament and a large part of that was down to goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa, whose heroics helped El Tri secure a 0-0 draw against hosts Brazil.

Naturally, his performances have attracted attention from Europe’s big guns, with Arsenal rumoured to be sniffing around.

Ochoa is due to leave his current club, Ajaccio, when his contract runs out later in the summer. But one fan is so desperate for him to stay he has put his house up for sale, including all of its contents, to raise funds to offer the ‘keeper a lucrative new contract. The Ajaccio supporter hopes to generate €10 million from the sale, comfortably enough to give Ochoa a rise on his current €37,500 a week deal.

Race for the golden boot

James Rodriguez (Colombia) - 5

Lionel Messi (Argentina) - 4

Thomas Muller (Germany) - 4

Neymar (Brazil) - 4

Karim Benzema (France) - 3

Arjen Robben (Netherlands) - 3

Xherdan Shaqiri (Switzerland) - 3

Robin Van Persie (Netherlands) - 3

Enner Valencia (Ecuador) - 3

Colombia enforces alcohol bans

James Rodriguez has inspired Colombia to their first ever World Cup quarter final, but the Colombian government have put in place precautions to stop Los Cafeteros fans ‘enjoying’ the victory too much.

Prior to the Uruguay game on Saturday, they put 24 hour blanket bans on the use of motorcycles and the sale of alcohol in some cities on match days.

This follows 10 deaths in celebrations after the opening 3-0 win over Greece, a further two ‘celebration-related deaths’ after Colombia’s 2-1 victory over the Ivory Coast and one after the 4-1 win over Japan, as the measures spread to Bogota and beyond

Here’s hoping it was down to zero after they knocked out Uruguay with two Rodriguez goals.

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