World Cup opening ceremony 'appalling'; ITV's Chiles stoned
Word Cup whispers: Lopez and Pitbull get a mixed reception, and more problems emerge at Manaus
'APPALLING' SOUND MARS OPENING CEREMONY
The opening ceremony to the World Cup was, as expected, a curious affair featuring people on stilts dressed as trees, dancers pretending to be footballs, a demonstration of capoeira and lots of latin dancers. However, "appalling" sound quality left TV viewers unable to hear Jennifer Lopez, rapper Pitbull and Brazilian singer Claudia Leitte as they sang the tournament anthem, after emerging from a giant ball in the middle of the pitch. The performance received a mixed reception from TV critics and football fans alike.
ITV STUDIO UNDER ATTACK
ITV's studio on Copacabana beach in Rio came under attack from anti-World Cup protesters on the opening night of the tournament. Angry locals carring banners telling Fifa to "go home" gathered outside the studios and hurled missiles at the building, cracking the windows. Presenter Adrian Chiles showed viewers the damage, and there were reports he was almost hit by a bottle when he went outside to try and calm the protests.
REFEREE'S TRACK RECORD
The performance of Japanese referee Yuichi Nishimura was one of the talking points of the opening match of the World Cup, however, the Daily Mirror notes that he has a track record of upsetting teams. In 2010, during the World Club Cup in Abu Dhabi, he angered supporters of Congolese team TP Mazembe so much that they rioted afterwards. In that game he awarded Mazembe only nine free kicks, but gave their opponents, Inter Milan, 21. That's nothing... last night Croatia were only awarded five free kicks.
RACE AGAINST TIME IN MANAUS
Staff at the Arena da Amazonia in Manaus face a "race against time" to prepare the stadium for England's match against Italy on Saturday. There are problems with the playing surface and now a Daily Mail spy reports that all is not well in the bowels of the stadium. "There are piles of rubble outside the dressing-room and broken fences by the players' entrance", says the paper. The baths are filthy and "there's builders' dust covering the shower rooms, toilets, coaches' suite and massage room".
WHERE ARE THE ENGLAND FLAGS?
England's downbeat approach to the World Cup appears to be rubbing off on the fans, with several commentators noting the lack of hoopla and flag waving up and down the country. "The gloom and doom is uncharacteristic of us as a nation," writes Jeff Powell of the Daily Mail. "Where has all the John Bull-ishness gone?" But Jon Kelly of the BBC (a Scot, it should be noted) says he is "looking forward to watching the World Cup without the hysteria that usually surrounds modern competitions".
Someone had to do it. In the absence of an official England World Cup song, some bright sparks have cobbled together a clip of Roy Hodgson performing John Barnes's iconic rap from the 1990 song World In Motion. It might not be as slick as the former England winger's original, but it has a certain charm of its own.
WORLD CUP FEVER IN SPACE
Sepp Blatter's dream of an "interplanetary World Cup" may well be ridiculous, but that hasn't stopped astronauts onboard the International Space Station giving zero-gravity football a go. Spacemen Steve Swanson and Reid Wiseman from the US and German Alexander Gerst celebrated yesterday's opening game with a friendly kick-about 220 miles above the action in Brazil. The trio's efforts were a dry-run for the Group G clash between Germany and the USA on 26 June. It's not known who won, but Gerst looks a handy goalkeeper.