Croatians boycott press over nude photos

Croatia's head coach Niko Kovac walks on the pitch during his team's final practice in Sao Paulo...

Croatia's head coach Niko Kovac walks on the pitch during his team's final practice in Sao Paulo one day before the opening match of the soccer World Cup against Brazil June 11, 2014 (REUTERS/Damir Sagolj)

Sun Wire Services

, Last Updated: 9:33 PM ET

Croatia's players are refusing to talk to World Cup reporters after photos were published of them bathing nude in the team's swimming pool, coach Niko Kovac said on Sunday.

Two photographers hid in the nearby bushes and took the pictures which were published by online media.

"I can't force them to be at your disposal after what you have done to them and their families," an angry Kovac told reporters in the team's Praia do Forte training base.

"How would you feel if someone took naked pictures of you? They are adamant that they won't speak to you lot anymore and I don't know whether the silence will end tomorrow or last until the end of our World Cup campaign.

"I respect my players' opinion and I also know that you have done a very professional job so far but you blew it with this one. The whole world has seen the photos."

Croatia play Cameroon in the hot and humid Amazon city of Manaus on Wednesday in what is a must-win game for both sides after the Croatians lost their opening Group A match to hosts Brazil 3-1 while the West Africans were beaten 1-0 by Mexico.

NEW TECH MAKES DEBUT

Goal-line technology was used for the first time in a World Cup match to decide if the ball had crossed the line during France's Group E clash with Honduras on Sunday.

A shot from France forward Karim Benzema cannoned off the post and back across the face of goal before Honduran goalkeeper Noel Valladares inadvertently pushed it towards his own net.

Despite his desperate efforts to scramble the ball clear, the referee awarded the goal with the aid of technology provided by German company GoalControl to put France 2-0 ahead.

The decision was confirmed by TV replays but it did not succeed in its aim of preventing debate following contentious decisions as a touchline row broke out between France manager Didier Deschamps and his Honduran counterpart Luis Fernando Suarez.

The GoalControl system involves 14 high-speed cameras located around the pitch, with seven cameras focusing on each goalmouth.

HULK SHOULD BE OK

Brazil striker Hulk limped out a training session on Sunday morning but said his injury was not serious and he expects to be fit for the World Cup Group A match against Mexico on Tuesday.

Hulk scored a goal in the practice game but limped off moments afterwards looking downcast.

"I felt a niggle and came off as a precaution," he told reporters shortly before the squad was due to fly 1,350 miles to the northern city of Fortaleza.

"I am good, I am happy and I hope to be 100 percent in two days for the next game. I hope it wasn't anything serious, I feel good.

"It's a normal pain," he added. "If I feel anything at all I come off to treat it."

Hulk had a similar issue ahead of the opening 3-1 win over Croatia last week but he played 68 minutes before being replaced by Bernard.

The burly striker, who is nicknamed after the comic book hero, has been a favourite of Luiz Felipe Scolari and is looking forward to playing in Fortaleza.

"I am from the northeast and my family is going to be there," he said. "It is a game that I don't want to miss. I want to play and I am going to be ready, God willing."

Mexico beat Cameroon 1-0 in their opening match.

GERMANS FOCUSED

Veteran Germany striker Miroslav Klose arrived in Brazil with the most World Cup goals record in his sights but any hopes he had of a helping hand from coach Joachim Loew to break it were dashed on Sunday.

Klose, Germany's 36-year-old all-time top scorer, is one strike away from equalling a tournament record of 15 goals held by former Brazil striker Ronaldo, and few would bet against him surpassing it if he has the pitch time in Brazil.

Speaking ahead of Germany's Group G opener against Portugal on Monday, Loew was full of praise for Klose but said the record would not be on his mind as he tries to cram a plethora of attacking talent into his starting line-up.

"I would be very happy for him as a player if he were to achieve this historic mark because he's been present at numerous World Cups, but as a coach, those statistics are secondary," Loew told reporters at Salvador's Fonte Nova arena.

"Whether Miroslav will play in the initial line-up or as a substitute, he is very important for the team. He is a player who is always a role model on and off the field."

Klose is likely to lose out on a starting berth to Thomas Mueller, joint top scorer in the 2010 World Cup, with German media also suggesting midfielder Mesut Ozil could be used in a more advanced role.

Klose, who broke Gerd Mueller's 40-year record as Germany's top scorer in June when he notched his 69th goal in a 6-1 rout of Armenia, also has another record he could possibly break.

With 19 World Cup match appearances, Klose could inch towards Lothar Matthaeus's record of 25, or even pass it if Germany reach the last four and he plays every game.

COLOMBIA COMPLAINS

Colombia complained to FIFA that a Brazilian security detail was harassing their delegation and delaying the team's movements to the point of making them arrive late for their first World Cup match against Greece on Saturday.

In a letter sent to FIFA after the game, Colombia's Soccer Federation said the hostility of the Brazilian federal police team assigned to them was causing discomfort among players and technical staff.

"They have torpedoed Colombia's movements, taking the team at a very slow speed," team spokesman Mauricio Correa told Reuters.

"Because of this situation yesterday we were late for the match ... It was intentional."

Despite the problems, Colombia had no trouble overpowering Greece 3-0 at the Mineirao stadium of Belo Horizonte.

Back in Sao Paulo, where the team are based for the tournament, new rifts erupted with the security detail.

"There were not so kind words on their part and some members of our delegation were pushed over," Correa said, stressing no players were involved in the incident.

He said that after the formal complaint FIFA replaced the security team and things were now back to normal.

Colombia face Ivory Coast on Thursday in Brasilia. Their last Group C game is on June 24 against Japan.


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