RIO DE JANEIRO - It's more than mere coincidence that a European team has never won a World Cup in South America.
Usually calls seem to have a way of going in favour of teams from that part of the world. It may not be intentional but there is an enormous amount of pressure on officials and organizers because of the importance placed on the game here. There is no decision made that isn't analyzed to death with media pressure reaching epic proportions.
Everyone will get a pretty good idea sometime in the next day or so of whether that kind of decision-making will continue.
The Brazilian football association has asked FIFA to overturn a yellow card assessed captain Thiago Silva against Colombia Friday.
It was his second yellow in the tournament and with that second yellow comes a one-game suspension. Silva would serve that suspension in their semifinal game against Germany on Tuesday in Belo Horizonte.
Brazil is already under the gun for that game. They'll be missing star forward Neymar with a back injury.
Silva is arguably their best defender who can also join in the attack.
In its own way, his loss is almost as crucial as Neymar's.
FIFA spokesman Delia Fischer said the disciplinary committee is "analyzing material" submitted by Brazil.
It was not one of Silva's brightest moments. He impeded Colombia's David Ospina as the goalkeeper tried to kick the ball downfield.
The rescinding of a yellow card does not normally happen.
FIFA laws say cautions can be canceled only in "exceptional circumstances."
At the 1962 World Cup, Brazil's Garrincha was sent off in the semifinal victory against host Chile, then was cleared to play in the final.
Cards are taken off the books after the quarterfinal games.
If FIFA rescinds the yellow against Silva and allows him to play in the semifinal, it will send a strong message to the rest of the teams in the tournament that there may be a little home cooking involved when it comes to making decisions.
Who are those kids
It’s one of the most asked questions by people watching the World Cup and rarely is it publicly answered.
Who are those kids who get as much camera time on international television as the best-known soccer stars at the World Cup?
Don’t say you haven’t thought about it. Before every game as teams walk side-by-side out of the tunnel out on the field, each player is holding hands with a young child. During the national anthems, the kids stand in front of their player.
Usually the child is wearing the jersey of the opposing team. It’s all done in an effort to promote friendship.
The children you see are part of the FIFA Youth Program which consists of nearly 4,000 kids between six-to-18 who assist with World Cup games by walking players on to the field, assisting the ball crew, or bearing flags. Some 60 program members participate in each game. The young children who walk the players out are specifically part of the McDonald’s Escort Program which includes 1,408 kids selected from 70 countries.
Out of the children selected, 26 are from the United States and were chosen through a sweepstakes. These children are given a four-night, five-day trip to Brazil where they escort a player onto the field as well as play a soccer game with other children and participate in local cultural activities. The trip includes airfare, lodging, and meals for the child and a parent or guardian.
The mascots may also wear a T-shirt promoting a campaign such as fighting racism or knife crime.
English striker Wayne Rooney was once a mascot for his local team Everton.