Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : July 1st 2014 Contents A67
Tuesday, July 1, 2014 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
Mascot fails to cash in with Fifa
FIFA says it could not reach a financial
agreement with a wildlife conservation group
trying to save an endangered armadillo chosen
as the World Cup mascot.
FIFA's head of corporate and social
responsibility, Federico Addiechi, says "there
was no interest from the other side in
collaborating with us."
The Caatinga Association disagrees. It was
instrumental in getting the armadillo chosen
as the World Cup mascot, which was named
"Fuleco"---a combination of the Portuguese
words for football and ecology.
Caatinga Association director Rodrigo Castro
said he turned down a FIFA offer of $135,000,
about one-tenth of what he said was needed
to get the armadillo off endangered species
FIFA generates about $5 billion in revenue in
a four-year World Cup cycle.
Neymar may not
go for gold cleats
Neymar is having doubts about what to
wear to his World Cup matches.
Brazil's star attracted some attention in the
team's second-round match against Chile on
Saturday after changing his cleats at halftime.
Neymar played the first half with a golden
boot made especially for him for the World
Cup, but he came back from the dressing room
wearing his regular orange cleats.
Neymar said he decided to make the change
because he didn't feel comfortable with the
newer model, which he had been using for only
a couple of days before Saturday's match.
The golden boot was created by Nike in
reference to the cleats Neymar used when he
was a kid. He liked the colour so much that he
spray-painted them before matches.
Tim Howard never counts his caps.
Howard broke Kasey Keller's record for
appearances by an American goalkeeper
when he played his 103rd international match
last Thursday, a 1-0 loss to Germany.
Tonight, he will make it 104 when the
Americans face Belgium in the World Cup's
second round at Salvador.
The 35-year-old Howard spoke with Keller,
now an ESPN analyst, in the leadup to the
World Cup when the US team played an
exhibition game against Turkey in the New
York area June 1.
"Milestones like that are important," said
Howard, a top goalkeeper in England's
Premier League with Everton. "And obviously
Kasey's dear to me in terms of being a friend
and a goalkeeping mentor. I never thought I'd
get that close, let alone break it. It's a proud
Each time Alejandro Sabella was asked
Monday about his lineup---and there were
many attempts in different manners---he
No hints whatsoever about today's second-
round World Cup match with Switzerland,
and no predictions about what style each
team might play.
Sabella is preparing Lionel Messi and
Argentina to attack a swarming Switzerland
defence. The coach must decide whether to
go with Ezequiel Lavezzi in a three-man front
missing striker Sergio Aguero. An injured left
thigh muscle forced him to leave in the first
half of Argentina's 3-2 win over Nigeria last
The coach insists he might still be
pondering his 11 players until midnight, and
someone suggested he could announce the
RECIFE---Defeated Greece coach
Fernando Santos took a parting
shot at Costa Rica: Teams know
all about you now and your
World Cup ride is over.
The surprise factor---Costa
Rica s main weapon---has gone,
Santos said, and the shocking
upsets are likely done.
"I liked them a lot in the first
three matches. I believe they sur-
prised us a lot," Santos said after
his Greece team lost on penalties
to the Costa Ricans in the second
round. "But I believe at this
moment people already know
Costa Rica. It won t be very like-
ly...for Costa Rica to be able to
go much further."
That s not the only problem
Santos foresees for Costa Rica
when it faces one of the title
favorites in the Netherlands in
"I think in a competition like
this you start to get tired and
once you start to get tired, the
individual players on the big
teams start to carry more weight,"
Cue Robin van Persie, Arjen
Robben and Wesley Sneijder to
take control of the quarterfinal
in Salvador on Saturday for the
Netherlands. Basically, Santos
doesn t give Joel Campbell, Bryan
Ruiz and Costa Rica any hope of
upsetting the Dutch.
Well, it may as well be Costa
Rica s first game of the World
Trailing Uruguay 1-0 after 24
minutes, many nodded wisely at
their one certain pre-tournament
prediction for Brazil, that Costa
Rica would clearly be the strug-
glers in a group containing the
Uruguayans, Italy and England,
all former World Cup champions
with seven titles between them.
Costa Rica responded by beat-
ing Uruguay and Italy and, while
resting a couple of key players,
holding England to a draw to top
On Sunday, coach Jorge Luis
Pinto s team added a former
European champion to its list
of vanquished with a pulsating
penalty shootout win over
Greece after playing and
defending desperately with ten
men for nearly an hour at
Recife s Arena Pernambuco.
Surprisingly, Costa Rica held
out against all the odds, setting
up the chance of another really
big shock against the Nether-
Some of that confidence may
come from the fact that Costa
Rica showed some more of its
qualities against Greece---mainly
the fighting ones---after defender
Oscar Duarte s 66th-minute red
card put it under grinding pres-
sure. And if Santos is talking
about individual players influ-
encing games, goalkeeper Keylor
Navas single-handedly kept his
country in the tournament with
save after save to deny the des-
perate Greeks through regulation
time and then 30 minutes of extra
time. Fittingly, he produced the
only save of the shootout.
The Dutch are overwhelmingly
favoured to beat Costa Rica, for
sure. But there s always a little
room for a surprise.
Having constantly preached
throughout this World Cup that
his team is a long-shot, an
underdog and a "dark horse,"
Pinto briefly broke free of that
message in the euphoria follow-
ing the win over Greece to hail
Costa Rica s historic place in the
enced Dutch defence looked to
be the weak link coming into the
World Cup. So far, though, it s
holding up well enough to keep
the team winning.
Again showing he is not afraid
to make changes, Netherlands
coach Louis van Gaal gave
defender Paul Verhaegh only his
third international appearance
against Mexico in the second
round, replacing Daryl Janmaat
at right back.
The Augsburg player struggled
early against pacey Mexico wing-
back Miguel Layun, but the
Netherlands defense conceded
only one goal on Sunday and its
lethal front line came to the rescue
late to salvage a 2-1 victory.
"I wanted better position play
and better buildup in the first and
second phases," Van Gaal said. "I
thought that that succeeded. We
had much more of the ball than
in any other game."
If there is a lesson for Costa
Rica ahead of the quarterfinals
on July 5 in Salvador, it is that the
Dutch defence often looks shaky
when it is put under pressure.
And in the next match, the
Netherlands may be without key
defensive midfielder Nigel de Jong.
The AC Milan forward had to
come off in the ninth minute on
Sunday with a groin strain.
Then there is Robin van Persie.
The Manchester United striker
scored three goals in his first two
matches, then sat out a game
through suspension and was inef-
fective against Mexico until Van
Gaal---showing that nobody is
above being substituted---replaced
him with Klaas Jan Huntelaar.
Van Gaal said Van Persie, who
was injured before the World Cup,
still has trouble lasting the full
90 minutes, especially in the
strength-sapping heat of Fort-
aleza. But it is the defense that
appears to worry Van Gaal the
most, and he has repeatedly tin-
kered with it in Brazil.
The coach gave Dirk Kuyt his
first ever match at left back in the
final Group B match against Chile
and it paid off, with the Dutch
neutralising one of the most
potent attacking forces at the
World Cup in a 2-0 victory.
Then he put Verhaegh in for
Janmaat against Mexico and Daley
Blind moved from defence to his
favoured spot in the midfield in
another of Van Gaal s savvy tac-
tical switches in the second half
at the Arena Castelao. That got
the Dutch going forward and took
the pressure off the defence after
it had conceded a 48th-minute
goal by Giovani Dos Santos.
Kuyt, a veteran always consid-
ered a utility player in attack or
midfield, made his 100th appear-
ance against Mexico. It was his
second match as a defender, but
he is prepared to go anywhere.
"In tournament football it is
about one thing: Winning," Kuyt
said. "It doesn t matter how, when
or how late in the game, you just
have to win and we ve done that
and it gives the team an enormous
One of the best ways of easing
the burden on the defence is to
go on the attack. Van Gaal did
just that when his team went a
goal down, making the tactical
switch from a 5-3-2 to a 4-3-3
formation as he replaced Verhaegh
with winger Memphis Depay.
The chances came, but the
goals didn t, so Van Gaal switched
again, to what he calls his "Plan
B," effectively a four-man attack:
Kuyt shifting to center forward
alongside Huntelaar while Arjen
Robben and Depay send crosses
It paid off, with Wesley Sneijder
scoring in the 88th minute to level
the game. Looking to consoli-
date---and demonstrating that he
never stops thinking about chang-
ing his team---Van Gaal then
switched back to 4-3-3 and that
helped produce the winning
penalty in stoppage time.
Costa Rica players react after Michael Umana scored during a shootout after regulation time in the
World Cup round of 16 soccer match between Costa Rica and Greece at the Arena Pernambuco in
Recife, Brazil, Sunday. Costa Rica defeated Greece 5-3 in penalty shootouts after a 1-1 tie. AP PHOTO
Surprise factor gone
but Costa Rica still on roll
Dutch defence holding up well
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