x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 January 2018

World Cup round-up: Argentina fans invade Rio de Janeiro

Goal-line technology confuses fans; couch potatoes gather in Germany; American football fans get cliff notes for 'soccer'.

An Argentina fan celebrates after his team beat Bosnia and Herzegovina in a Group F soccer match of the 2014 World Cup, along Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro, June 15, 2014. REUTERS/Marco Bello
An Argentina fan celebrates after his team beat Bosnia and Herzegovina in a Group F soccer match of the 2014 World Cup, along Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro, June 15, 2014. REUTERS/Marco Bello

Argentina fans have flooded Rio de Janeiro’s Copacabana beach, camping out and firing up barbecues as they dream of World Cup glory on their rivals’ turf.

About 30 motor homes line the famed Atlantica Avenue with Argentine licence plates showing they drove a long way to see their heroes Lionel Messi and Sergio Aguero. Christian Roman, 36, drove nearly 2,700 kilometres from Buenos Aires in his 62-year-old father Ruben’s black-and-yellow taxi cab.

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“It took us three days to travel and we spent last night in tents on the beach,” Roman said.

Some Rio residents have said the Argentine campers are making a mess. Antonio Bordalla said: “The only advantage of having Argentines here is that I will be able to see their faces when they lose.”

Fans in security breach

World Cup organisers are reviewing security after some Argentina fans without tickets got over fences at Maracana Stadium before the team’s game against Bosnia.

Saint-Clair Milesi, spokesman for Brazil’s organising committee, said: “Those that jumped were apprehended and taken to the police. Obviously, we are going to reflect on this and reinforce with our security teams.”

Fifa said about 10 ticketless fans were stopped by stewards and handed over to police. Organisers set up a security perimeter about one kilometre from the stadium to keep away fans without tickets.

Goal-line revamp

Fifa officials said they will modify the way decisions made by goal-line technology are communicated to fans after confusion during France’s 3-0 victory over Honduras.

The Group E game in Porto Alegre made history after the system awarded a goal for the first time in international football.

Honduras officials reacted angrily after screens displaying the computer-generated animation of the incident flashed mixed messages.

A “No Goal” message was flashed up for Karim Benzema’s initial shot, which hit the post, followed by a “Goal” message for an own goal by the goalkeeper Noel Valladares. A Fifa spokesman said the “unique” nature of the incident caused the confusion.

Sofa offers unique view

While others cram into crowded bars or squeeze around the television set at home, Germans in Berlin can follow the World Cup from the comfort of their own sofas in a stadium-sized living room on a 17.8-metre screen.

The Union Berlin football team, who play in the second division, have turned their stadium into a vast “World Cup living room”, allowing fans to transport their own sofa onto the pitch to watch the games for free.

About 12,000 people watched Germany’s first group game against Portugal yesterday, on up to 850 couches. Gerald Ponesky, organiser of the “living room”, said he was inspired when he heard fans at a game singing about the stadium as “their home”. Ponesky said some people come in their bathrobes.

Soccer is football

A US-based news organisation yesterday released a glossary of common “soccer” terms, presumably for the edification of the large fraction of Americans who pay little attention to football except during the World Cup.

The Associated Press piece begins with a question: “Does this sentence mean anything to you? Using its famed ‘tiki-taka’ approach, Spain is deploying a 4-2-3-1 formation with a false nine to try to break down Italy’s trademark ‘catenaccio’ defence.”

Later in the story, “tiki-taka” is later defined as “a system of intricate, one-touch and rapid passing artistry developed by Spanish club Barcelona and eventually adopted by Spain’s national team”.

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