In Depth

Balotelli gets some stick(ers), Van Persie craze takes off

World Cup whispers: Why always me? asks Italian striker, as World Cup finally gets a stalemate

Mario Balotelli
BALOTELLI IN HIS ELEMENT

Mario Balotelli is enjoying himself at the World Cup in Brazil. Not content with scoring the winner for Italy against England on Saturday the striker has been busy collecting stickers for his World Cup album. He posted a picture of the results on Facebook along with his catchphrase 'Why Always Me?', and a closer look reveals why. Further proof that he doea not suffer from an inferiority complex comes on his Instagram page, which features a cartoon of Balotelli as Christ the Redeemer watching over Rio.

BIDEN BACKS TEAM USA

The USA had the backing of Barack Obama and Joe Biden as they began their World Cup campaign with a dramatic 2-1 win over Ghana. President Obama used Vine to post a good luck message on the White House Facebook page, while Vice-President Biden was in attendance at Natal. Hopefully he took his seat early, as Clint Dempsey opened the scoring after just 30 second, and stayed to the very end, as the winner from John Brooks came after 86 minutes.

THE CULT OF VAN PERSIE

After 'planking' and 'owling' comes the latest online trend, 'Persieing', in which fans pay tribute to Dutch striker Robin van Persie and his brilliant header against Spain by recreating the flying Dutchman's spectacular dive, and posting the results on social media. Among those to post pictures of themselves apeing Van Persie was Dutch dance music DJ Armin van Buuren, but the craze has been picked up on by young and old alike.

@Persie_Official Teaching my son #persieing #spaned #ESPNED #ESPHOL #WorldCup2014 pic.twitter.com/n4jIqm8Y9H

— Sietze (@sietzesch) June 15, 2014 

FINALLY, A GOALLESS DRAW

It was bound to happen sooner or later, and after 12 games that produced 41 goals, this breathless World Cup suffered its first goalless draw last night, as Iran and Nigeria cancelled each other out in Curitiba. The Africa Cup of Nations champions were favourites but despite dominating possession they failed to make it count. "Nigeria were poor," said BBC pundit Rio Ferdinand. "This was a game they should have gone out and won and you'd think there would have been more urgency in their play."

NEVILLE LAUGHS OFF CRITICS

Phil Neville reprised his role as a BBC pundit last night and used the opportunity to brush-off criticism surrounding his "boring" commentary style. Neville was subjected to a tirade of abuse on social media after commentating on Saturday's game between England and Italy, and the BBC received 445 complaints about the coverage. But when baited by his fellow-pundits last night Neville made light of the incident and said: "I was enjoying social media until 24 hours ago."

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