Germans suffer mysterious illness and sex breeds success

Lars Bender during a Germany training session

World Cup Whispers: the German team has come down with 'flu-like symptoms'

LAST UPDATED AT 16:40 ON Fri 4 Jul 2014
Feeling Blue 

A day before their quarter-final clash with les Bleus several of the German squad have been struck down with illness. Seven players in total have been suffering from what coach Joachim Low described as flu-like symptoms, including a sore throat. He said: "All players were able to train. They still have a slight cold but there's no feeling of exhaustion. I hope that we do not have any worsening overnight." Low blamed the illness on the amount of travelling across Brazil his squad has experienced during the tournament, often resulting in significant temperature variations.

Tout of luck

Police in Brazil have smashed a ticket tout ring that was hoping to sell World Cup final tickets for 35,000 Brazilian reals (£9,000) each if Brazil reached the final on 13 July. According to Inspector Fabio Barucke, head of the investigation, 11 people have been arrested including the alleged ringleader, an Algerian man called Mohamadou Lamine Fofana. Reselling tickets above their face value is a crime in Brazil and Barucke claims some of the tickets being sold on are believed to originate from an Fifa official staying at Rio's Copacabana Hotel. Though Barucke didn't name names he did say that "it's clear that someone with lots of influence" is involved.

Sex is the best

Brazilian newspaper Lance! claims that those nations that banned their players from sexual intercourse during the World Cup have fared less well than those that didn't. All the quarter-finalists refrained from a no-nookie ban while those that didn't – such as Bosnia, Chile, and Mexico – were prematurely ejected from the tournament. Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari has made it clear he has no problem with "normal sex" but cautioned his players against doing anything too "acrobatic". The theory, however, doesn't stand up as far as England are concerned: the Three Lions had no restrictions placed on their sex lives yet still put in three limp displays.

Goal glut

If were proof were needed that the 2014 tournament has been one of the best in living memory, it's confirmed by the fact the group stages yielded 136 goals at an average of 2.83 per game. In the entire 2010 World Cup there were just 145 goals when the 2006 competition served up 147. Following the Last 16 the total of goals is now up to 170 – already a World Cup record – and with eight matches still to play the big question is: can we reach 200 goals for the tournament? 

Uruguay cry foul

Fifa have confirmed that Uruguayan Football Association have lodged an appeal against Luis Suarez's punishment for biting Italy's Giorgio Chiellini during their group game ten days ago. Their star striker was banned from all football activity for four months and from playing for Uruguay for nine matches, and Uruguay want the sanction reduced. Evidence from the UFA's lawyers will be heard in the next few days before Fifa's appeal committee decide whether to uphold the decision, reduce the ban or even increase it. · 

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