A teenage fan apparently gave Cristiano Ronaldo a scare the night before Portugal’s final World Cup Group G match after breaking into the forward’s hotel room.
According to Brazil’s Globo, A 15-year-old named Yago Leal claims Wednesday night he evaded security at Portugal’s hotel in Brasilia, scaled the building and entered the soccer star’s room through the balcony. He lied down on the bed before being caught by Ronaldo himself shortly afterward.
Leal said Ronaldo let him go without calling security and even signed an autograph. The youngster also got away with snapping a photo of the Real Madrid star.
Portugal was eliminated from the World Cup the next day after a 2-1 win against Ghana failed to see them surpass Germany and the U.S. in the group. Ronaldo scored the game’s winning goal.
Emotion played a part in FIFA's decision to hand out a four-month ban to Uruguay striker Luis Suarez for biting Giorgio Chiellini at the World Cup, with a period of reflection needed, World Players' Union FIFPro said.
FIFA handed out the biggest penalty ever imposed at a World Cup, which included a nine match ban, to the 27-year-old on Thursday after he bit the Italian defender near the end of Uruguay's 1-0 win over Italy in Group D on Tuesday.
"FIFPro believes all affected parties may benefit with more time to remove the emotion, reflect and re-establish the facts in a calm and considered setting," the body said in a statement sent to Reuters on Friday.
While the rest of his team mates continued preparation for Saturday's last 16 clash against Colombia, Suarez arrived back in Uruguay on Friday and was met by President Jose Mujica and hundreds of fans after landing at the military base in Montevideo.
BELGIUM BEER BET
Belgian Prime Minister Elio Di Rupo challenged U.S. President Barack Obama to a bet over Belgium's impending World Cup knock-out match against the United States, offering the prospect of some "great Belgian beers" should the U.S. team win.
On Thursday, Belgium beat South Korea 1-0 to top Group H, setting up a clash with the United States after Juergen Klinsmann's team pipped Portugal to second place in Group G on goal difference despite losing to Germany.
"Hey @BarackObama, I am betting some great Belgian beers that our @BelRedDevils will make it to the quarter final!" Di Rupo tweeted in the early hours of Friday.
As of Friday morning, the U.S. President had not replied to the challenge.
He may be well advised to abstain from such a bet, as Belgium are the bookies favourites going in to last 16 match on Tuesday.
BECKENBAUER BAN LIFTED
A 90-day provisional ban by FIFA on World Cup-winning player and coach Franz Beckenbauer has been lifted after only 15 days with world soccer's governing body saying on Friday the German was now welcome at the tournament.
German football association (DFB) president Wolfgang Niersbach welcomed the move and said he could not understand why FIFA had taken such a drastic step in the first place against someone who had done so much for international soccer.
Beckenbauer, one of the world's best known former players, had been banned two weeks ago after refusing to cooperate with an investigation into the award of the 2022 World Cup to Qatar.
The 68-year-old is a former member of the FIFA executive committee which controversially awarded the World Cup to Qatar in 2010, and had received "repeated requests" to provide information, FIFA said in a statement at the time of the ban.
It has been a 64-year wait but Joedir Sancho Belmont at last has a chance to make up for missing the 1950 World Cup final.
The 85-year-old had a ticket for the deciding game of the tournament which Brazil lost 2-1 to Uruguay, in front of an estimated 200,000 spectators.
But he could not make the match because he chose in instead to look after his dying mother, he said.
Sancho Belmont offered his original ticket to world soccer's governing body FIFA when he heard of their plans to open a new museum next year. FIFA accepted and offered him three tickets for the 2014 final in return.
"Now I want to see the final here and I hope that Brazil will finally get the chance to settle that score of the 2-1 defeat," he told reporters after swapping the tickets with FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke at FIFA's daily media briefing.
Nigeria are the latest African country at the World Cup to be embroiled in a money row but it has been swiftly nipped in the bud with promises of quick payment from the country's president, team officials said on Friday.
Nigeria president Goodluck Jonathan spoke to several senior players by telephone on Friday and assured them their bonus money would be paid after they had threatened not to train.
Players met with officials on Thursday seeking immediate payment of the bonuses they were promised if they reached the second round, which they achieved on Wednesday despite a 3-2 defeat to Argentina in Porto Alegre, officials told Reuters.
They now play France on Monday in Brasilia in the round of 16.
U.S. HAS FIFA FEVER
The World Cup "fever" sweeping the United States has surprised even soccer's governing body which is celebrating record viewing numbers in one of the markets it has long tried to crack, FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke said on Friday.
"TV ratings in different countries are far higher than in 2010, not just in the normal football countries but also the USA where we reached a level which is just unique," Valcke told reporters.
"The fever of the World Cup in the U.S. is just amazing."
More than 18.2 million U.S. viewers watched the United States draw 2-2 with Portugal on Sunday, making it the most-viewed soccer match by an American audience.
FIFA said the viewing figures for that match were higher than for any of the NBA finals games and larger than the average television audience for the baseball World Series in 2013.