Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : June 26th 2014 Contents A74
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World Cup over for four cities
The Brazil World Cup has 12 host cities, but four
will be done by today afternoon.
Manaus, the Amazonian city that caused so much
consternation as players and coaches dreaded the
humidity and heat, hosted its last game yesterday,
Switzerland defeating Honduras 3--0.
Manaus's Arena Amazonia was one of the most
talked about venues, and players worried about the
state of the pitch in the days leading up to the tour-
nament. However, games went on without any seri-
ous problems related to the turf.
Brazilians still worry whether the 40,000-seat sta-
dium will get enough use after the World Cup.
Tomorrow's match between Algeria and Russia will
be the last match in the Arena da Baixada in Curitiba,
a city of 1.8 million south of Rio De Janeiro and Sao
Helping flood victims
Fifty children who had their lives affected by the
2011 flooding that killed nearly 1,000 people in the
Teresopolis region got to meet Brazil's team before
The children lined up on one of the training fields
and the players talked to them for a few minutes. The
youngsters received soccer balls and were allowed to
watch the team practice.
The children were selected from the neighbour-
hoods that were most affected by the heavy rains
that ravaged the region in early 2011. The Brazilian
federation said some lost their homes and relatives in
the tragedy. The floods are considered one of Brazil's
worst natural disasters.
At the time, Brazil's training camp was used to help
authorities in the logistics to search for those missing
in the floods.
Church of football
There's really only one place along Sao Paulo's hec-
tic Avenida Paulista, where you can escape the con-
stant noise of traffic and the hurried movement of
people. But even inside the tranquil confines of Paro-
quia Sao Luis Gonzaga church you still can't entirely
get away from the football fever engulfing Brazil.
Inside the chapel, worshippers kneel in silence. But
on one of the empty pews there is a church brochure
explaining its World Cup related activities and the
public debate surrounding the event.
In the back of the church, discount clothing is being
sorted for the needy and a small TV with an antenna
is broadcasting a fuzzy image of the Argentina-Nige-
ria game. Oohs and aahs are heard as Lionel Messi
does his magic.
For some, the football obsession goes too far.
"Here in Brazil, everything is about football and
that's why I don't like it. It's too much," said Greta
Santos, 21, who came to the church for some quiet
after her lunch break.
So many Neymars
The name Neymar is not common in Brazil, or at
least it wasn't until a few years ago, when the
star player began scoring goals as a teenager.
Since he started playing professionally with
the Santos club in 2009, 371 Neymars have
been born in his home state of Sao Paulo, ac-
cording to the state's association of registries.
Only two were given that name between
1992 and 2008, and one was Brazil's striker,
who was born in Mogi das Cruzes, a suburb in
the outskirts of the city of Sao Paulo.
If Brazil thrives in the World Cup, expect
more Neymars in nurseries.
Hulk-ing photo op
Fans visiting Brazil's training camp are lin-
ing up for a smashing photo opportunity with
a huge statue of the superhero Hulk dressed
in a national team jersey.
The statue, located in front of a restaurant
just outside the training camp, wears the Se-
lecao's yellow No 7, the number worn by the
striker who goes by the same name.
"We came to try to see the players, but if
they don't let us, at least we got a photo with
someone who we know is part of the team,"
joked 17-year-old Brazilian fan Luana de
French customs 1,
That's the score after officials at Paris'
main airport seized a shipment of 30 counter-
feit FIFA World
Cup trophies, in
the first such
bust of this
The shiny gold-coloured statues were to be
sold to souvenir shoppers in France. The offi-
cial World Cup replicas are sold by FIFA for
The phony trophies had been shipped from
China and were intercepted by customs offi-
cers at the Charles de Gaulle airport on June
18, the customs office said Wednesday.
The customs office said the trophies will be
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