In Depth

Heads you win for Robin van Persie as Brazil use voodoo

Woprld Cup whispers: RVP immortalised, black magic threat to Germany, Dempsey on Letterman

VAN PERSIE HEADER IMMORTALISED

Robin van Persie's stunning header for Holland in their opening game against Spain has been immortalised in a coin from the Dutch Royal Mint commemorating the team's run to the semi-final. The coin, worth 9.95 euros, has a silhouette of the Man United striker on one side and the Dutch crest on the other. According to the Daily Mail all 6,000 of the coins have now sold out, and their value is expected to soar if Holland win the tournament. Holland face Argentina in tomorrow's semi-final in Sao Paulo.

BRAZIL'S BLACK MAGIC

Brazil may be without talisman, Neymar, for the semi-final against Germany tonight, but Joachim Low's men, already worried about "brutal" tactics from the hosts could face another threat. Black magic enthusiast Helio Sillman claims to have put a voodoo curse on Germany's stars ahead of game, and top-scorer Thomas Muller should brace himself for the worst. "I'll take their top player and bind his legs so he can't run on the pitch", said the Rio witch doctor, brandishing a voodoo doll of an unnamed German player.

KLOSE TO MAKING HISTORY

Strangely Brazil and Germany, who play each other in tonight's semi-final, have only ever met once before at a World Cup - in the 2002 final in Japan, won by Brazil. There is one survivor of that meeting, 36-year-old German striker Miroslav Klose. He failed to score in the game 12 years ago, but will become the highest scorer in World Cup history if he finds the net against Brazil this time out.

DEMPSEY MEETS LETTERMAN

USA striker Clint Dempsey is to appear on The Late Show with David Letterman on Wednesday, a move that confirms football's sudden elevation to serious sport in America. The former Fulham forward was a key member of the USA team that made it to the quarter-finals of the World Cup, only to lose a thrilling match to Belgium in extra time. Dempsey probably won't be too daunted by meeting Letterman, during the tournament he also met US vice-president Joe Biden and spoke on the phone to Barack Obama.

BRITON ARRESTED IN BRAZIL TICKET PROBE

Briton Ray Whelan, the former agent of Bobby Charlton and now chief executive of Fifa partner company Match Hospitality, has been arrested in Brazil as part of a probe into the illegal sale of World Cup tickets. He was arrested at Rio's Copacabana Palace Hotel and spent the night in custody. His company paid around £140m for the rights to sell corporate hospitality at the 2010 and 2014 World Cups. Re-selling World Cup tickets for profit is illegal in Brazil and against Fifa regulations.

WHITE LINE OR BOTTOM LINE?

Heine Allegmagne, the man behind the spray used to keep defensive walls back ten yards, says he does not want to profit commercially from his invention, which has been used in South America for more than a decade. The 43-year-old even paid for the cost of the 320 cans of foam being used by referees at the World Cup after Fifa were finally persuarded to adopt the idea. "Perhaps there will be some financial side but that can come later," he said.

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