We know a World Cup final can get very exciting. So much so that it goes to some people's heads.
Indeed, a man ran on to the pitch minutes before the start of the World Cup final and came very close to grabbing the trophy exhibited on the pitch. In fact, all he wanted to do was put a hat on it... maybe it was cold?
Several security men and stewards managed to wrestle him to the ground before he was able to touch the trophy. And, of course, he'll be watching the final from behind bars - at least for the night.
Reports that Nelson Mandela is being pressurised by FIFA to attend the World Cup final just underlines many people’s perception of the organisation – a money-grabbing self-important outfit which believes nothing can be allowed to stand in its way, not even an ailing 91-year-old.
It’s a common opinion FIFA’s big guns want to cap what they claim is a hugely successful tournament with the media-grabbing picture of them next to Mandela. It would be sure to make the front pages of newspapers across the world, all the more so after a family tragedy meant he stayed away from the opening ceremony.
If Mandela attends it should be because he wants to, for himself and his country, and not because attention-seeking administrators think it would be a great photo opportunity.
Love or loathe them … Ok, loathe them, but vuvuzelas may have met their match after falling foul of religious authorities in the UAE.
London’s Metro free newspaper has reported the General Authority of Islamic Affairs and Endowments has issued a blanket ban on the instruments claiming the noise levels of the instruments poses a threat to hearing.
The National newspaper in Abu Dhabi said thousands of vuvuzelas were imported to the UAE by World Cup fans and local authorities feared the horns could then appear at local football matches next season.
Howard Webb's appointment as referee for the World Cup final has been greeted with dismay by the Spanish press.
The Yorkshire official was made the media's scapegoat for Spain's shock defeat by Switzerland in their opening game of the tournament, although neither coach Vicente del Bosque nor any of the players made critical remarks about his performance.
Spanish sports daily Marca said: ''Bad news - Webb will referee the final.'' Sports newspaper AS said Webb's appointment was ''debatable'' and that he had
made two mistakes in the game against Switzerland. While Barcelona-based sports daily Mundo Deportivo was equally despondent ahead of the final against Holland saying: ''Bad memories for La Roja [The Reds].''
On a lighter note, we have That Mitchell and Webb link for you.
Howard Webb is referee for Sunday's final, exactly 60 years after Scotsman David Mitchell ran the line in the 1950 final. Comedy.
Finally, one of the tournament's biggest draws has made his final bow. Paul the psychic octopus has made his predictions for the World Cup final and third placed play-off. The eight-legged wonder picked Germany to overcome Uruguay and had Spain to win the whole tournament, by beating Netherlands.
So far he has managed to predict every single result for Germany, but this is the first time he has picked a game not involving his home nation. We will have to wait to see if Paul's last predictions leave punters squids in after the final.
If they don't, fans will wonder why they didn't listen to Manny the Parakeet, who picked the Dutch to come out on top. Apparently he squawks a good game, but doesn't have the record of a veteran like Paul.
Even with a World Cup final on the horizon, Cristiano Ronaldo still manages to make headlines in the British press.
The Portugal midfielder crashed out of the tournament a week ago, but now the Daily Mirror have the exclusive on the star's... toenails. As he was snapped with his nails painted in ''a bizarre gothic-style'' - or black to everyone not trying to sensationalise everything.
A brilliant quote from ''an onlooker'' describes the situation better than we ever could: "It looked pretty odd, he was the only man in the pool wearing nail polish, probably one of the only men in New York."
One thing is for sure: it's not bruises from all the goals (one) he's smashed in at the World Cup.
Well done to Holland. They made the final for the first time since 1978 and it was completely unexpected.. erm.. so much so that they didn't even bother booking a hotel this late into the tournament.
The team had only reserved rooms in the Sandton Hilton hotel until July 5, meaning they expected to go out to Brazil in the quarter-finals, and have now been forced to book new accommodation in Johannesburg.
Having begged the hotel to extend their stay beyond the semi-finals (which they managed to do), they have now pitched up at the Sunnyside Park hotel ahead of the final on Sunday. No-one likes moving house, especially when there's a big game on the horizon, so we hope they settle in quickly and get their eyes back on Spain.
A replica World Cup trophy made from 11 kilos of cocaine was seized by police at Bogata airport in Colombia.
The trophy, made with cocaine mixed with a moulding agent believed to be gasoline, was picked up by anti-drugs officials in the capital, with Colonel Jose Piedrahita confirming that the cup was made from 11 kilos (24 pounds) of the Class A drug.
Complete with engravings, decorations and green and gold paint on the base, the trophy was found packed inside a box in a mail warehouse, addressed to be sent to Spanish capital Madrid.
The 2010 World Cup was not a tournament for Wayne Rooney to remember: he failed to score a single goal and his England side were embarassed by Germany in the second round. Now, to add insult to injury, members of the website Beautifulpeople.com have named Wayne the ugliest player to have played at the finals.
Rooney pipped France winger Franck Ribery and former Manchester United team-mate Carlos Tevez to the "award", while the site's 200,000 surveyed users voted Fabio Cannavaro, ahead of Fernando Torres and David Villa, as the World Cup's most attractive player.
"Collectively, the worst looking team is Algeria," said Greg Hodge, managing director of Beautifulpeople.com. "The term 'trophy head' could have been coined for most of their team.
"England follows close behind, captained [sic] by the most unattractive player on the planet, Wayne Rooney. The England team do have very beautiful wives and girlfriends, but this is surely due to their bank accounts which certainly makes them a lot more attractive."
The Top 11 ugliest were as follows:
1, Wayne Rooney, England
2, Franck Ribery, France
3, Carlos Tevez, Argentina
4, Vladimir Stojkovic, Serbia
5, Benjamin Huggel, Switzerland
6, Zdenko Strba, Slovakia
7, Rafik Saifi, Algeria
8, Scott Chipperfield, Australia
9, John Terry, England
10, Ryan Nelsen, New Zealand
11, Daniel Agger, Denmark
And these were the Top 11 "most beautiful" players:
1, Fabio Cannavaro, Italy
2, Fernando Torres, Spain
3, David Villa, Spain
4, Landon Donovan, USA
5, Thierry Henry, France
6, Edinson Cavani, Uruguay
7, Kaka, Brazil
8, Cristiano Ronaldo, Portugal
9, Didier Drogba, Ivory Coast
10, Keisuke Honda, Japan
11, David James, England
The England team are hardly one of the hottest properties in football at the moment after their frankly rubbish performance at the World Cup and they will soon find themselves without a sponsor after Nationwide Building Society revealed it will not be renewing its £4 million-a-year deal with the Football Association.
The FA finds itself in such a position because English football bigwigs were thought to believe an impressive World Cup campaign would lead to interest from blue-chip companies willing to splash the cash for sponsorship of Capello & Co, so snubbed Nationwide before flying to South Africa despite there being an offer on the table. Oh dear.
The strategy appears to have failed miserably, but there are still all sorts of companies being linked with a sponsorship deal, including Facebook. But it seems that talk of the world's biggest social networking site stepping in is a little off the wall and Facebook has delivered a Poke in the eye to any hope of a deal by flatly denying any interest in supporting England.
In a statement released to The Sport Briefing, the social networking site said: "Facebook is not in talks with the England football team regarding sponsorship." A spokesman added: "I don't know where it has come from but it is not true. It's bizarre. We obviously work with lots of different brands and the FA have used the Facebook platform and the England team have a page. We've obviously been talking to them about those sorts of things, just like any other brand."
Germany's hopes of winning the 2010 World Cup lie in tatters after Paul the psychic Octopus tipped Spain to win their semi-final showdown on Wednesday.
So far, Paul has correctly predicted the outcome of Germany's five matches at the World Cup - selecting Germany wins over Australia, Ghana, England and Argentina as well as Serbia's victory over the De Mannschaft.
Such is the fame and accuracy of Paul's predications that German TV broadcast Paul's prediction live on Tuesday morning, but the tentacled oracle, who resides at the Sea Life Aquarium in Oberhauser, Germany, broke the hearts of his countrymen.
Paul has been correctly predicting results since Euro 2008, but he has made one mistake. He selected Germany to beat Spain in that final, which the Spaniards won 1-0.
On Monday the psychic octopus was the subject of a hoax when a dastardly character used some Photoshop-wizardry to alter the photo taken when Paul chose Serbia over Germany in the group stages of the tournament and changed the flag to the Spanish Rojigualda. They needn't have bothered.
If only Argentina and Brazil knew just how their early - let’s say unexpected - exits would impact the global media. Not just the vast army that the likes of O Globo and Diario Clarin deploy, who are now wandering about a bit aimlessly, but for the reporters from Calcutta, India.
Yes, Calcutta. You may not know (and you’ll be forgiven) but Calcutta is among the most fanatical football cities anywhere in the world, a legacy of the British Raj. The football played there isn’t much to shout about - though the main stadium can comfortably pack in 100,000 people - so instead the Calcuttans cheer for Brazil and Argentina. It has always been like that, more so since 1978 when the World Cup was first televised in India. Pele, who famously played in Calcutta with Cosmos in 1977, and Maradona, in the city a couple of years ago, are both venerated. Entire neighbourhoods are swathed in either blue or yellow-and-green during the World Cup, and loyalties are hotly contested. They don’t really care what happens to the 30 other teams: their focus is squarely on the South American giants.
Since such loyalties demand detailed World Cup coverage, the media houses respond by sending out their troops. There are 28 reporters from Calcutta here in South Africa, which must make it the best-represented city from a country not actually taking part in the World Cup (there are also 30 from Bangladesh, who share this quirk of football fandom with their neighbours across the border). Their brief is simple: Cover Brazil and Argentina, forget the rest.
The problem is that both teams, in gross negligence of their responsibilities, have exited the tournament and left their extended family of fans in gloom. The normally ebullient, talkative bunch is unnaturally morose, without the likes of Kaka and Messi to write about. “The thrill is just not there for our readers,” one reporter told me. “Imagine if Maradona and Messi were in the semi-finals - I could write 20 stories on it.” Another said his editor had called him. “He said I could return if I wanted, or I could stay back. It was my choice - the tournament is over for the paper.”
The city loves an underdog, though, so don’t be surprised if they perk up should Uruguay - underdog and Latin American - make the final. Just don’t tell the Uruguayans that - they already have enough pressure.
Germany’s supremacy in the style stakes is not restricted to their dazzling performances on the pitch, as boss Joachim Low and assistant Hansi Flick have been repeatedly spotted donning matching outfits on the touchlines.
The fashion-conscious pair may look like ageing members of a boy band, but according to German tabloid Bild their sharp sartorial approach is the secret behind the national team’s success in South Africa.
Bild has cleverly picked up on the fact that as Germany rattled in four goals against Australia, England and Argentina, the “one constant presence throughout has been Jogi Low’s baby blue cashmere sweater”. Well, that and the ineptitude of the opposition of course.
Anyway, the Strenesse jumper, priced at €299, has now taken on mythical qualities and has become an artefact with more football gravitas than Jose Mourinho’s famous overcoat.
As Low himself says: "I was almost forced to wear the sweatshirt by [assistant coach] Hansi Flick and the others. It’s no longer an option for me to change the sweatshirt."
First Germany play brilliantly entertaining football and now their citizens are applauded for their fashion sense. This World Cup really is shattering all the old stereotypes about our Teutonic friends.
Breaking news from Paraguay, where lingerie model Larissa Riquelme had become the centre of attention after promising to strip naked and run through the country’s capital were the national team to win the World Cup.
That was subsequently amended to reaching the final and then just the semi-finals, raising suspicions Miss Riquelme was keener to take her clothes off than keep them on. But Paraguay’s quarter-final defeat appeared to have failed to do enough to prompt a streak of any kind.
However, the shy and retiring Miss Riquelme has now announced that she will still strip and run. "It will be a present to all of the players, and for all the people in Paraguay to enjoy, because they tried as hard as possible and gave it their all on the field.”
If she does, then in the interests of global football coverage, World Cup Daily will be there.
Trusting Twitter to deliver accurate news is a bit like relying on Wikipedia to be a supplier of cast-iron facts, but one post is setting the social networking site abuzz on Sunday morning.
It appears that Portugal captain Cristiano Ronaldo (@Cristiano) has announced on his official Twitter page that he has become a father - a huge celebrity story that absolutely no one got wind of.
“It is with great joy and emotion that I inform I have recently become father to a baby boy,” read a statement from the star. “As agreed with the baby's mother, who prefers to have her identity kept confidential, my son will be under my exclusive guardianship. No further information will be provided on this subject and I request everyone to fully respect my right to privacy (and that of the child) at least on issues as personal as these are.”
His Twitter account is officially verified so unless someone has hacked into CR7’s page, we can assume that this is the real deal.
As such, World Cup Daily would like to be amongst the first to say congratulations to Cristiano and wish him and the baby all the best.
While the World Cup reaches fever pitch in South Africa, there has been another global football extravaganza taking place in Singapore - the RoboCup 2010.
And though Brazil are out of 'the real people' finals, Pele was doing his best to keep the Samba dream alive, as he (in robot form, of course) netted the winning goal for the National University of Singapore side in the final.
The sleek, silver, humanoid-shaped Robo-Pele scored in the dying seconds to fire his team to glory in the event, organised by the Swiss-based robotics initiative RoboCup Federation, a non-profit group.
The June 19-25 tournament was held in Singapore for the first time since its inception in 1997 and organisers hope the annual event will advance artificial intelligence and robotics research.
"Soccer is the best game to really show the mental, physical and many, many skills. Its not just mental skills, there's physical, mental, teamwork," said Zhou Changjiu, chairman of RoboCup's Singapore chapter.
Costing $72,000, Robo-Pele helped see off teams from Eindhoven University of Technology as well as US-based Virginia Tech in the group stages before edging Singapore Polytechnic in the finals.
Paraguayan beauty Larissa Riquelme has tried her very own brand of motivation, by promising fans she will strip naked if they reach the semi-finals.
The model has found plenty of attention in South Africa, appearing in the majority of the team's games - often scantily clad - to the apparent delight of the male fans around her. And if Paraguay manage to defy the odds and defeat reigning European Championship holders Spain, the people of the capital of Asuncion will be amply rewarded.
"If Paraguay reach the semi-finals or final, I will strip naked in the [Asuncion central square] Plaza de la Democracia," she told Argentine TV station Telefe.
Her promise has been welcomed a little more enthusiastically than that of Diego Maradona - who vowed earlier this year that he would dance naked in the streets of Buenos Aires if Argentina won the World Cup. Fortunately (some might say) that prospect no longer exists after Argentina's elimination.
Riquelme has found herself being given plenty of airtime and happily admits that the chief purpose of her trip to South Africa - aside from watching Gerardo Martino's side in action, of course - has been to boost her profile. Job done then.
"My idea was to become well known, but what has happened so far I am overjoyed with, the fact that it has crossed the borders of Paraguay and become worldwide is something incredible."
Sometimes all you can do is laugh. When a situation gets so bad that all is left is to smile, shrug your shoulders and move on. Like after Argentina's 4-0 humiliation at the hands of Germany if you happen to be from the South American country.
Of course that kind of laughter doesn't really count if you are from Brazil - one of Argentina's fiercest rivals - or, indeed, a well known media outlet who favours yellow over blue. Isn't the pain of defeat enough without rubbing it in?
A day after their devastating shootout loss to Uruguay, the Ghana players received a South African version of red-carpet treatment - with a visit to the homes of former president Nelson Mandela and his ex-wife, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, both icons of the anti-apartheid movement.
“It was a big privilege for me and the players,” said goalkeeper Richard Kingson, after meeting Madikizela-Mandela in Soweto. “She advised our life and our future, and how to be a good guy and how to control things.”
Sowetans greeted the players with applause and cheers as they got off their police-escorted bus, which bore a sign reading, “The Hope of Africa” and, after the Soweto visit, the team drove back to visit Mandela at his mansion in Johannesburg’s affluent Houghton neighborhood.
The meeting was closed to journalists, but the Nelson Mandela Foundation commended the Ghana team. “They represented the continent well,” it said. “They can return home with their heads held high.”
There was also praise from the governing African National Congress who chimed in, expressing discouragement that once again no African team had reached the semifinals yet lauding Ghana’s performance. “Well-done Ghana for doing the continent, mother Africa and all of us as Africans proud,” said ANC spokesman Jackson Mthembu. “We salute you.”
Ghana's goalkeeper Richard Kingson won plenty of admirers with his shot-stopping, but he clearly had done no homework whatsoever when it came to the penalty shootout.
Sebastian Abreu, the Uruguay striker who clinched the game with a penalty dinked over the keeper, is famed for taking spot-kicks in that fashion and did so to beat Brazil in the 2007 Copa America.
Abreu is nicknamed El Loco (the crazy one) but his coach Oscar Tabarez said: ''It wasn't crazy, I call that class. He did that against Brazil in Copa America and the result was the same.''
Such penalties are known as 'Panenkas' after Antonin Panenka scored one for Czechoslovakia to win the 1976 European Championship against Germany. If only Asamoah Gyan had been that cool in the 121nd minute.
Argentina star Lionel Messi has vowed to avenge England's World Cup elimination by taking out their conquerors, Germany, in the quarter-finals - if only to impress his favourite band Oasis.
Like the wimpy boy who gets picked on by the schoolyard bully only to have his big bad brother step in to exact some justice, England can take comfort that they have the world's best player and his classy mates on their side when it comes to World Cup payback against the Germans.
Messi reportedly listens to Oasis before stepping onto the pitch to display the kind of once-in-a-generation talent the Gallaghers never had, and the Barcelona superstar hopes a match-winning performance against Germany can act as the ultimate suck-up to the Oasis boys.
"If they (Oasis) love England as much as they do Manchester City, you can tell them from me I will do everything I can to defeat the team who knocked their beloved England out of the Cup," Messi told the Sun. "Maybe we can all watch a game at Manchester City."
A designer South African fashion label, Stoned Cherie, has pulled out of the Africa Fashion Week in Johannesburg because they were scheduled to walk the ramp at the same time Ghana are due to clash with Uruguay in the quarter-finals of the World Cup.
The label describes itself as an “African lifestyle brand that is expressive of urban culture in South Africa” and is headed by popular television host and actress Nkhensani Nkosi.
She decided that showing off her items on the catwalk at the same time Ghana are battling to be the first African team to reach the semi-finals of the World Cup would be inappropriate. Even though the event would mark 10 years since Stoned Cherie’s inception, Nkosi said she would prefer it if fans watched Ghana on the field rather than preoccupy themselves with fashion.
Nkosi explained her decision to the Times newspaper saying, “Africans the world over stand united in support of the team's quest for World Cup glory. Based on these and related factors, we have taken a business decision to withdraw from Africa Fashion Week's schedule."
The event organisers accepted the label’s withdrawal and said they will not be filling Stoned Cherie’s slot with another designer. Maybe just a television set to screen the game then?
With the biggest match in African football history looming, Ghana have been hit by an injury crisis ahead of their quarter-final clash with Uruguay on Friday.
The Black Stars are sweating on the fitness of Kevin Prince Boateng, Hans Sarpei, Asamoah Gyan, John Mensah, Andre Ayew, so much so that Ghanasoccernet are reporting that renowned Serbian healer Marijana Kovacevic has been called in to help cure the players of their respective ailments.
Kovacevic gained notoriety last season after it was revealed that the likes of Robin van Persie and Yossi Benayoun had sought treatment from her, which bizarrely includes rubbing horse placenta on the afflicted area.
The Serb flew into South Africa on Wednesday after the Ghana Football Association held a meeting with its team doctor, Percy Annan, who approved Kovacevic’s arrival and plans to help the players.
In demand but difficult to track down, Kovacevic is thought to only respond to calls and text messages from trusted players. She uses fluids derived from horse placentas and electrolysis to treat the afflicted part of the players who visit her. She is also understood to play up the “alternative” side of her work with, using darkened rooms and lots of candles.
The Independent Democrats, who hold four seats in the South African parliament, have labelled FIFA president Sepp Blatter a "disgrace" for refusing to use video technology to assist referees at the World Cup.
England and Mexico were both the victims of poor decisions in their respective second round fixtures that could have been easily corrected with the help of technology. And Joe Mcgluwa, the Independent Democrats' spokesman on sport, added his voice to those who believe FIFA's apparent anti-technology policy is rooted in the dark ages.
“Frankly, it is a disgrace that FIFA continues to languish in the 1800s because of the views of one man, Sepp Blatter. It is also grossly unfair to blame the referees for human errors that could have happened to anyone,” Mcgluwa said.
“Fortunately Argentina and Germany went on to beat Mexico and England so convincingly that their positions in the quarter-finals are not in question. If this had not been the case, the lack of video support for the refs involved would have left an even sourer taste in everyone’s mouths,” Mcgluwa said.
“Sepp Blatter and no-one else is to blame. No amount of apologies to the teams, actions against the two referees, or spin that FIFA is suddenly interested in taking another look at introducing video technology is going to change that. As the largest sporting event on earth, the World Cup should also be the most advanced in terms of technological assistance to referees that could rule out most mistakes."