Ivorian man early favourite for No. 1 fan

An Ivory Coast fan looks on during a Group C football match between Ivory Coast and Japan at the...

An Ivory Coast fan looks on during a Group C football match between Ivory Coast and Japan at the Pernambuco Arena in Recife during the 2014 FIFA World Cup on June 14, 2014. (AFP PHOTO/ISSOUF SANOGO)

KURTIS LARSON, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:34 PM ET

SALVADOR, Brazil -- Paraguay's Larissa Riquelme was unofficially named the No. 1 fan at the last World Cup.

Her Paraguayan attire, passion and overall, uh, photogenic persona gained her quite a bit of face time on major networks around the world.

That's one way to enact your 15 minutes of fame.

The other way? Scare the crap out of a worldwide audience.

Some guy from the Ivory Coast showed up to Saturday night's 2-1 win over Japan painted head to toe, wearing flamboyant earrings, a mystical hat and sunglasses.

So what, right? Well, for about 95% of the match -- or at least when cameras were on him, which was often -- he didn't move.

While the rest of his Ivorian friends were singing and dancing after the Africans came from a goal behind to win their Group C opener in Recife, the painted-up fan stood like a statue.

Like some kind of man-made voodoo doll, he didn't move or smile despite the jubilation that surrounded him.

Now, like Riquelme, he's one of the sights to see at this tournament, especially when you consider he has no competition.

Paraguay didn't make this World Cup, meaning Riquelme is nowhere to be seen.

Meanwhile, the Ivorian witch doctor -- or whatever he is -- will continue to confuse the heck out of us.

SWISS BLISS

Switzerland is like the U.S. of UEFA: They're hard and they're going to fight until the end.

Heck, like the Green Bay Packers, the country's fans wear Swiss cheese heads.

In Sunday's come-from-behind win over Ecuador, the Swiss showed both of the aforementioned traits.

Down a goal at halftime, Switzerland used an early second-half goal from Admir Mehmedi to get back on level terms.

And just when it looked like Ecuador might find a winner in stoppage time, the Swiss went back in the opposite direction thanks to a bit of brilliance from midfielder Valon Behrami.

With seconds left, Behrami not only broke up Ecuador's potential game-winner, he also drove the game-winning play the other way.

And the way he did it made it all the more appetizing.

With Behrami off to the races, a late tackle from an Ecuadoran defender nearly took off the Swiss midfielder's leg.

But instead of staying down, he got back up and produced an outlet pass that proved to be the decisive play before a cross ended up on Haris Seferovic's foot for the winner.

Credit Uzbek referee Ravshan Irmatov for allowing play to continue despite the original challenge on Behrami at midfield.

HAVE MERCI, FRANCE

We knew it was coming.

We didn't expect Honduras to do everything in its power to make sure a 3-0 drubbing happened.

The French were destined to down the CONCACAF minnows on Sunday afternoon, but the fact Honduran midfielder Wilson Palacios managed to receive two cautions and concede a penalty before the end of the first half was brainless.

Overmatched sides in this tournament can't afford to give away goals, or players for that matter.

Palacios, one of the most experienced players in the tournament, managed to accomplish both in one play and it made him the villain of the day.

WAIT? WHAT ABOUT FRED?

Calls for FIFA to suspend Fred for his horrendous, game-changing flop in last week's World Cup opener appear to have fallen on deaf ears.

In other words, it appears the Brazilian striker will be available when Brazil meets Mexico in Forteleza on Tuesday.

In case you missed it, Fred's embellishment in the box versus Croatia saw the hosts escape an early scare from the Croats.

As one local told me here over the weekend, not everyone in this country backs what the Fluminense striker did.

"He's a drama queen," a stadium worker told me.

My reply: "But you're glad he is, right?"

She smiled and looked the other way.

Exactly, this nation couldn't care less how it wins.

How do you say "just win, baby" in Portuguese?

ONE MORE THING…

Credit England manager Roy Hodgson for naming a young squad that gave Italy all it could handle in a 2-1 loss over the weekend in Manaus.

After watching Uruguay capitulate in a stunning 3-1 loss to Costa Rica earlier in the day, England will undoubtedly get through if it can maintain the same tempo throughout the tournament.

The difference for Italy?

Firstly, Andrea Pirlo, whose elegance on the pitch can't be replicated. Then there's Mario Balotelli, whose power is something Hodgson doesn't have in his bag of tricks.

Still, the Three Lions did well to play the up-tempo game they prefer.

The Italians were on the back foot for long stretches in the second half.

That said, making excuses for a former world power might demonstrate exactly how far it has fallen.

*Ivory Coast fan GIF via TSN


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