Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : June 14th 2014 Contents A68
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Saturday, June 14, 2014
Australians down under
About 15,000 Australia fans have made the
9,000-mile trip to Brazil to cheer on their country in
the World Cup, despite grisly predictions that the
team---the lowest-ranked in the tournament---will
lose all three group matches against Spain, the
Netherlands and Chile.
The streets around the Arena Pantanal in Cuiaba
were awash with Australian green and gold
yesterday hours before the Socceroos' opening
game against Chile. It was quite a sight, especially
with Brazil football fans wearing the same colours
also joining in the pre-match party.
"That's their colours, too?" joked Australia fan
Craig Bellamy, 50, whose journey from Newcastle,
Sydney, comprised two 14-hour flights. "I just
thought they were supporting Australia!"
Canada had rare representation at the World Cup
in Friday's rematch between the Netherlands and
Toronto-born midfielder Jonathan de Guzman
was in the starting lineup for the Dutch, one of
coach Louis van Gaal's key components for trying to
stymie the title holder's quick-touch possession
The Canadian national team has appeared just
once at the World Cup---in 1986, when it lost all
three of its group matches against the Soviet
Union, France and Hungary without scoring a goal.
At Salvador's Arena Fonte Nova, several Canadian
flags could even be spotted amid the orange
jerseys of the Dutch fans.
Directly across the street from Rio's famed
Maracana Stadium, the owner of Rio Bebidas, a
store selling beer by Brazilian beverage giant
Ambev, ordered his workers to cover up the store
The employees weren't sure why, but they
suspected it might have something to do with
World Cup sponsorship rules---and the Coca-Cola
sunshades that went up on the neighboring
Players turned fan
US central defender Matt Besler made a point to
move toward his hotel room window to witness the
He got a quick lesson on just how much soccer
means to the fanatical Brazilians, who beat Croatia
3--1 on Thursday to kick off their home World Cup.
"I was up in my room for the second half and I
had my window cracked open a little bit," Besler
said yesterday as the US prepared to travel to Natal
for its Monday opener against Ghana. "When Brazil
scored those two goals in the second half and again
on the final whistle, I heard the entire city of Sao
Paulo roar. It gave me chills. It was just so cool. I
was watching on my TV and I saw the ref blow the
final whistle and then the two-second delay, I heard
an eruption in the city. The energy of the country,
it's finally here."
Sofas in stadium
A German football club's stadium has been
turned into a huge "living room" for fans to watch
the World Cup on a giant screen from the comfort
of their very own sofas.
Union Berlin, which plays in the second division,
invited fans to place their couches on its Alte
Foersterei pitch for the duration of the tournament
in Brazil, or at least as long as Germany is still in it.
Organiser Gerald Ponesky says he got the idea
"to give football a home."
The pitch is covered in sofas---780 are registered
for around 3,000 fans---each flanked by a desk and
atmospheric lamp. Another 9,000 supporters can
watch games from the surrounding stands, which
have been decorated with wallpaper to create a
cozy World Cup atmosphere.
Covers are provided in case it rains.
BELO HORIZONTE---Overcoming solidly
defensive teams like Greece has never been
the forte of South American teams, which
thrive on attractive football.
Consequently, Colombia coach Jose Peker-
man sees the main challenge for his players
in their World Cup opener today as respect-
ing the way Greece plays.
Colombia, taking part in its first World
Cup since 1998, boasts a strong attacking
lineup despite Radamel Falcao s exclusion.
While Pekerman doesn t want to sacrifice
Colombia s aesthetic style, he wants his
team to play with equilibrium.
He also hopes his players won t get frus-
trated at Greece s tactics.
"Traditionally, South American teams
have a hard time against these types of
opponents (which) play with a lot of deter-
mination and a mentality that say we play
this way and we can get a result, " Pekerman
Teams like Greece, "They re not bothered
when others say to them, Why don t you
play another way? " he added. "Their style
is well-defined and they are proud of it.
Because of this, they are very strong."
However, the notion that his Greek team
would focus primarily on defense seemed
to offend coach Fernando Santos.
"The most important thing is the whole
team," he said. "If we only play defense, we
will lose. In football, you don t play with
four people (defenders). You need strikers,
"My team is going to play to win. I think
Colombia will do the same. That s what I
expect: both teams trying to win."
Colombia and Greece both trained at
Mineirao Stadium on Friday in Belo Hor-
izonte, which will host the Group C opener.
Before Colombia s session, the players
formed a circle on the pitch and prayed.
Pekerman said his team had become "a
family" after Colombia was dealt a number
of setbacks before travelling to Brazil.
Falcao, the team s star forward who scored
nine goals in qualifying, was cut from the
squad last week after failing to recover in
time from a serious knee injury. Center back
Luis Perea was also dropped because of a
Then, midfielder Aldo Ramirez was sent
home with a foot injury days after Pekerman
announced his final squad.
"Like all families, we deal with problems
and work on finding a solution," said Peker-
man, adding that Falcao and Perea would
be in Brazil to support the team. "The
injuries are in the past."
Colombia will also be without suspended
midfielder Fredy Guarin for the first match.
Falcao s injury came shortly after Colom-
bia qualified and the team hasn t had many
international friendlies since then to exper-
iment with how the other strikers, including
Carlos Bacca, Teofilo "Teo" Gutierrez and
Jackson Martinez, link up with main play-
maker James Rodriguez. (AP)
MANAUS---One thing is for
certain when England plays
Italy in Manaus today---there
will be plenty of World Cup
newcomers on the field.
Both teams have 17 players
with no previous World Cup
experience on their 23-man
squads, an unusual situation for
two of football s traditional pow-
ers. Here is a look at some of
the most exciting tournament
debutantes on both teams:
Ciro Immobile: The blonde-
haired striker led Serie A with
22 goals---none of them penal-
ties---for Torino, then completed
an 18.5-million euro ($25 million)
transfer to German power
Borussia Dortmund days before
traveling to Brazil. Italy coach
Cesare Prandelli considers him
an alternative to Balotelli at cen-
ter forward, and with his current
form there are growing calls back
home for him to start.
Lorenzo Insigne: The
diminutive Napoli winger was
a controversial selection ahead
of Giuseppe Rossi but he appears
to have carried over his form
from the end of the domestic
season, when he scored twice
in a 3--1 win over Fiorentina in
the Italian Cup final. He paired
with Immobile in attack en route
to winning the Serie B title with
Pescara two years ago. Like
Immobile, he comes from the
Naples region and the pair com-
municate in Neapolitan dialect.
He was married two weeks
before traveling to Brazil.
Marco Verratti: At 21, this
talented midfielder is the
youngest member of Italy s
squad but he s already been a
regular at French champion Paris
Saint-Germain the past two sea-
sons. He also got his start on
the Pescara side with Immobile
and Insigne in 2011-12 and Pran-
delli appreciates his versatility.
Considered the heir apparent to
playmaker Andrea Pirlo, Verratti
is expected to line up next to
Pirlo against England in a more
traditional midfield position.
Pirlo said this week that Verratti
"will become one of the best
midfielders in Europe."
Matteo Darmian: A surprise
inclusion in Italy s squad, this
versatile fullback only made his
Azzurri debut a couple of weeks
ago in a warm-up match with
Ireland. Now he appears ready
to start against England at right
back. Prandelli admires his abil-
ity to play on either the left or
the right, and Darmian began
his career as a center back. He
started his professional career
in AC Milan s youth system and
was a key member of Torino this
past season, teaming with
Immobile and Alessio Cerci,
another new Italy forward.
Gabriel Paletta: Italy is known
for producing strong defenders
so it raised eyebrows when Pran-
delli called up this Argentine-
born center back for a friendly
against Spain in March. But the
28-year-old Parma player
impressed against the World
Cup holder and now appears set
to start against England. Along
with Lionel Messi and Sergio
Aguero, he was a member of the
Argentina under-20 team that
won the 2005 FIFA World Youth
Championship. He gained Italian
citizenship through his great
grandfather, who emigrated from
Luke Shaw: The 18-year-old
defender was picked ahead of
boyhood idol Ashley Cole as the
backup to the assured Leighton
Baines at left back despite having
made just one international
appearance before the squad was
announced. Although also dan-
gerous going forward, Shaw s
best hope of playing on Saturday
will be as an impact substitute.
Raheem Sterling: The emer-
gence of Raheem Sterling has
softening the blow for Roy
Hodgson of Theo Walcott being
ruled out through injury. The
19-year-old Liverpool winger
can produce devastating bursts
of pace and if he doesn t start
will likely come off the bench
Jack Wilshere: After England
exited the European Champi-
onship in 2012, Roy Hodgson
identified Jack Wilshere as one
of the players who could, in the
future, provide the creativity
missing in Ukraine.
But the Arsenal midfielder has
been held back by injuries. Since
breaking his left foot during
England s win over Denmark in
March, Wilshere only managed
two substitutes appearances for
Arsenal before linking up with
the England squad. Now
Wilshere will be hoping he can
make an impact from the bench
Adam Lallana: England coach
Roy Hodgson sprang a surprise
by calling up Adam Lallana for
the November friendlies against
Chile and Germany, and the ver-
satile attacking midfielder
retained his place in the squad
for the draw with Denmark in
March. After the 25-year-old
Lallana maintained his lively
goal-scoring form for
Southampton, he is now in line
to start for England against Italy
to provide an element of unpre-
Ross Barkley: While Wilshere
has been seen as England s
future midfield star, Ross Barkley
may be an even bigger talent.
The 20-year-old Barkley had a
breakthrough season with Ever-
ton in the Premier League, scor-
ing spectacular goals and setting
up many others. He showed in
England s warm-up games that
he s not afraid to take on oppo-
nents one-on-one when given
the chance. (AP)
England, Italy full of newcomers
Colombia searching for equilibrium
Italy's Mario Balotelli, left, talks with his team-mate forward Ciro
Immobile during a training session, in Mangaratiba, Brazil, Tuesday.
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