Rooney hits back at Scholes as Rachel Riley tips Chile
World Cup whispers: sex ban for Bosnia and Chile, Martin McGuinness gets England in sweepstake
ROONEY BRUSHES OFF SCHOLES
England striker Wayne Rooney has hit back at former Manchester United teammate Paul Scholes after the Ginger One questioned whether Rooney's best days might be in the past. "I'm not really going to react," replied Rooney, when asked about Scholes' comments . "He's got his opinions, so let's leave it at that. To be honest, I'm not really interested in what anyone else has got to say. I'm interested in what Roy Hodgson and the coaching staff here and the people around me say."
COUNTDOWN PIN-UP PICKS CHILE
In the absence of Paul the Octopus, quiz-show mathematician Rachel Riley is tipping Chile for World Cup glory after crunching the numbers for every World Cup tournament since Mexico 86. Using an equation that factors-in qualifying performances, average goals, win rates and climate, the Countdown star concluded that Chile will end up collecting the trophy at the Maracana on 13 July. "They might be outsiders but they tick all the boxes for statistics and form," she said.
RED RUINS RAHEEM'S CHANCES
Roy Hodgson conceded that Raheem Stirling’s chances of starting against Italy in Manaus may well be "blown" after his sending off in England's midweek friendly with Ecuador. The Liverpool winger was primed for a starting place against Honduras on Saturday, but after a red-card challenge on Antonio Valencia, he'll now be deprived of his final opportunity to impress due to suspension. Another casualty of the mid-week encounter is Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain who will probably sit-out the World Cup opener with a knee injury.
LUCK OF THE IRISH
It's the one side Martin McGuinness probably wanted to avoid when the World Cup sweepstake was drawn at Stormont this week. But the Deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland, a member of the Sinn Fein, picked out England after throwing his £5 into the hat. "I'm absolutely gobsmacked at the fact that I drew out England," said McGuinness. "People are asking if I'm going to support England. Of course, they're asking that in the context of monetary gain. But I'm a purist when it comes to sport. I've always thought it would be great if the Dutch could win the World Cup."
MORE SEX PLEASE, WE'RE FOOTBALLERS
According to lads' mag Maxim the US squad already have an advantage over some of their rivals in Brazil – "they'll be allowed to go back the hotel and have sex with their wives". Apparently the coaches of Mexico, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Chile have slapped a ban on bedroom gymnastics throughout the tournament, while Spain and Germany have told players to refrain from sex on match days, while Brazilians have been ordered to avoid "acrobatics". No such problem, says Maxim, for the French, English and US squads, though they've been told "all sex should be had with a girlfriend or spouse."
A report by the European Central Bank reveals that investors on Chile's Santiago stock exchange top the charts when it comes to skiving off to watch World Cup matches. In the 2010 World Cup transactions fell more than 99 per cent when the national team was in action. The average drop off among the 15 nations surveyed by the ECB was 55 per cent during the 2010 tournament. In Argentina trading dropped by 80 per cent while it was 75 per cent in Brazil and 38 per cent on average in Europe.
THIERRY TIPS BRAZIL
Former Arsenal and France striker Thierry Henry was asked his predictions for the World Cup when he helped launch an ad campaign for Beats by Dre in New York. The 36-year-old, now playing for the NY Red Bulls, said Spain had a chance but backed a victory for the host nation: "You still have to beat Brazil in Brazil," said Henry. "And that's the thing that I just don't see happening." Asked about France's chances of glory, Henry laughed and said: "You always have a team that surprises people, right?"