Luis Fabiano, the Brazil striker, has said he would dedicate a World Cup win to his late grandfather. Fabiano was raised by his grandfather, Benedito, whom he credits with helping him become a footballer. Fabiano said: "Unfortunately he has passed away, but the title would be for him." The striker, who plays for Sevilla in Spain, said his grand-father would brag about him, adding: "He was my biggest fan and an idol to me. I think about him in all my victories."
Lars Lagerback, the Nigeria coach, has named his final 23-man squad for South Africa, cutting players including Victor Anichebe, the Everton striker. Anichebe had only returned to action with Everton in the English Premier League at the beginning of May, but scored only one league goal all season for the Goodison Park club. Lagerback also omitted the only two Nigeria-based players in the team - Bassey Akpan and Peter Suswan.
Adidas has hit back at criticism that the Jabulani World Cup ball is difficult to control and a nightmare for goalkeepers by saying it was widely tested and approved long ago. Thomas van Schaik, a company spokesman, said yesterday that he was surprised to hear the criticisms, made by top goalkeepers such as Spain's Iker Casillas and Brazil's Julio Cesar, because the balls had been used since December without any complaints from players.
One hundred lucky Ivory Coast fans are heading to the tournament in South Africa on an all-expenses paid trip to watch their team. The country's national fan club, the National Elephants Supporters Committee, drew the 100 names at random from their membership. "Their plane ticket, hotel, meals, transportation will all be taken care of," Kassoum Diakite, the fan club media officer, said. "The only thing they'll need is a passport and a vaccination card."
Jonathan Dos Santos, the young Barcelona midfielder, was yesterday cut from Mexico's final 23-man squad. The 20-year-old, who made his national team debut last September, was overlooked by Javier Aguirre, the Mexico coach. However, there was better news for his older brother, Giovani, who was included after spending last season on loan at Galatasaray from Tottenham Hotspur under Frank Rijkaard, his former Barcelona manager.