Russia's goalkeeper was 'blinded' by lasers for the decisive goal scored by Algeria which sent his team out of the World Cup, coach Fabio Capello said on Thursday.
Russia and Algeria drew 1-1 in their final Group H game with the African side advancing at the expense of Capello's team.
Russian goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev failed to reach a cross which was headed home by Islam Slimani in the 60th minute to earn Algeria a point.
Television images showed what appeared to be green laser beams flashing across the keeper's body as he tried to reach the cross.
"Our goalkeeper was affected by a laser 10 seconds before the goal. He was blinded by a laser, there are photos, films of it," Capello said.
"I'm not looking for excuses. I accept defeats," added the Italian.
Akinfeev made a blunder in the opening Group H game against South Korea, letting in a shot from Lee Keun-ho to allow the Asian side take the lead in the 1-1 draw.
SUAREZ FLYING HOME
Striker Luis Suarez will fly home to Uruguay later on Thursday having been hit with the biggest ban imposed at a World Cup after biting an Italy defender, the Uruguay FA told local media.
Uruguayans, who are largely incensed by the nine-match ban on their leading player, were preparing to welcome him back in the heart of the capital Montevideo.
The 27-year-old Suarez, who plays for English Premier League club Liverpool, was due to travel from Brazil to neighbouring Uruguay with his family, TV station Subrayado reported.
Soccer's world governing body FIFA earlier on Thursday ruled Suarez could not play in Uruguay's next nine competitive games and banned him from all football-related activity for four months.
The suspension ended Suarez's World Cup, and his lucrative off-field sponsorships are now in doubt.
Uruguay play Colombia in a last-16 match on Saturday.
HELI STOPS TRAINING
Chile had to suspend training on Thursday after a helicopter used by Brazilian broadcaster Globo flew above the field, angering coach Jorge Sampoali, who is preparing for Saturday's World Cup showdown against the hosts.
"Chile training was stopped today a few minutes after it started because of a helicopter flying above the pitch," said a Chile press official.
Chile face Brazil in a last 16 game in Belo Horizonte on Saturday with the Chile coach worried their rivals and title favourites were trying to get a glimpse of their tactics.
"The one who was worried about the helicopter most was our coach because he was working on tactics at that moment and he did not want our opponents to know our stragegies," defender Mauricio Isla told reporters.
"We tried to shoot the helicopter down with the balls but it did not work," he said amid roaring laughter from the press.
NEYMAR WINS APPEAL
Brazil forward Neymar has won an appeal to have the local June edition of Playboy magazine, which claimed to feature his ex-girlfriend, removed from the stands.
A court in Sao Paulo state said in a decision on Wednesday that all copies of the magazine featuring model Patricia Jordane as "The brunette who charmed Neymar" on the cover should be removed from circulation immediately.
The decision can be appealed, a court spokeswoman told Reuters on Thursday.
Neymar's official fan site celebrated the court's decision and said the publisher was "promoting a lie" about the soccer star while "also (using) his name without ... permission."
A press representative for Editora Abril, the publisher of Playboy do Brasil, said on Thursday that the court had not officially notified the magazine of its decision, so the edition remained on stands.
NIKE CUP SALES UP
Nike, Inc. reported better-than-expected quarterly results, as demand for its apparel and footwear rose in North America and Western Europe after the company spent heavily on marketing ahead of the 2014 soccer World Cup.
Shares of the world's largest sports wear maker rose about 3% to $79.23 in extended trading.
Nike, known for its characteristic 'swoosh' or tick logo, gets more than half of its total revenue from North America and Western Europe.
The company has been giving tough competition to Germany's Adidas AG on the hotly-contested European turf.
Nike maintained its share of the Western Europe sportswear market at about 12% in 2013, while Adidas's share shrank to 12.6% in the year from 13.2% in 2012, according to Euromonitor International data.
Nike's spending on marketing rose 36% in the fourth quarter ended May 31 as it signed up soccer legends Cristiano Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney for commercials to promote its merchandise ahead of the World Cup.
The event, hosted by Brazil, marks the first time that Nike is sponsoring more national teams than Adidas.
Orders for Nike-branded shoes and clothing scheduled for delivery between June and November, a gauge of demand the company calls "futures orders," rose 12% globally in the quarter, excluding the impact of currency fluctuations.
The rise in orders was driven by Western Europe, where futures orders jumped 25%.
NO QUICK CLEAR-OUT
Portugal coach Paulo Bento has decided not to radically overhaul his ageing team after their World Cup first round exit although the decision may be partly due to a lack of suitable alternatives.
Bento said he wanted to stay loyal to the players who have formed the basis of the squad since he took over four years ago and promised that nobody would be forced out of the door.
A number of players are approaching or getting into their thirties and even Cristiano Ronaldo, who had a disappointing World Cup despite his winning goal against Ghana on Thursday, will be 31 by the time Euro 2016 rolls around.
Bento has tried to draft in younger talent in the last two years and there were a few hopefuls in his World Cup squad, including Benfica's Andre Almeida, Sporting midfielder William Carvalho and Braga forward Rafa Silva.