England physio Lewin flies home; Croatia nude pics row

Jun 16, 2014

World Cup whispers: injured physio out of the tournament, Japan fans clean up stadium

Warren Little/Getty Images

The World Cup is usually known for iconic rather than ironic moments, but the sight of England physio Gary Lewin being stretchered off during the game against Italy had a certain incongruity to it. The medic suffered a fractured and dislocated ankle when he jumped up to celebrate Daniel Sturridge's goal for England but landed on a water bottle. He will fly home this week. Pundit Rio Ferdinand, who jokingly urged Lewin to "run it off", apologised when the extent of the injury became clear.


While the English team has enjoyed a relatively easy ride from the media while in Brazil, things are less amicable between the Croatian press and players after nude pictures of the squad were posted online. Photographers hid in bushes at the team hotel and took the photos of players bathing naked in the swimming pool. The team is now refusing to speak to the press, and coach Niko Kovac told reporters: "You blew it with this one."


Goal-line technology was called into action for the first time in the tournament during Honduras vs France, but it failed to bring clarity, at least for BBC commentator Jonathan Pearce. When Karim Benzema's shot hit the post and bounced off Honduras keeper Noel Valladares two separate snapshots were used. The first showed that the initial shot did not cross the line but the second showed that it did after hitting the keeper. However, Pearce seemed unable to grasp the situation and accused the officials of "changing their minds".


Forget Wayne Rooney, the villain of England's World Cup campaign could be Phil Neville, the BBC commentator whose debut during the England v Italy game prompted  445 complaints. His monotone style even drew comparisons with the computer HAL from 2001: A Space Odyssey.  Now the Daily Telegraph has hinted at an early shower for Neville, claiming the BBC has "yet to decide" on commentators for the knockout stages. But the corporation described Neville as a "well respected member of the team who'll continue to play a key role".


While Holland grabbed the plaudits for best performance after their demolition of Spain on Friday, the award for best celebration of the tournament so far surely goes to Colombia. Led by goalscorer Pablo Armero, Los Cafeteros "spontaneously" broke into dance after taking the lead in their Group C opener against Greece. A video of Armero's dance moves quickly appeared on Youtube following his fifth minute strike, sparking rumours the celebration may actually have been part of an Adidas marketing campaign. Does that count as guerilla marketing?


Japan's supporters showed a touch of class on Saturday as they came to terms with their side's 2-1 defeat to Ivory Coast with a spot of cleaning in Recife. Two second-half-goals for the Elephants cancelled out Keisuke Honda's early strike, but instead of tearing the stadium apart in protest Japanese fans consoled themselves by collecting the rubbish left behind at the Arena Pernambuco. Images of supporters tidying the stands and bagging litter were posted on Twitter and the fans' actions have been widely praised by organisers.

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