- Brooks Peck at Dirty Tackle3 hrs ago
FIFA has come out in defense of ticket partner Match Services following the arrest of executive Ray Whelan, who is suspected of running a major World Cup ticket scalping operation. Whelan was arrested by Brazilian police on Monday and released on bail. He was labeled a fugitive when police tried to re-arrest him on Thursday, only to find that he had fled his hotel through a service door with his lawyer, who is reportedly negotiating terms of Whelan's next contact with police.
[Related: Taxi driver returns World Cup match tickets]
With just two matches left to be played in the 2014 World Cup, the time has come to look back on an excellent and often insane month of football. And, as Lionel Messi will tell you, there is no better way to do that than to recreate many of the tournament's standout moments with Lego pieces.
The Guardian has been producing Lego highlights of World Cup matches throughout the tournament and now they have put together a compilation that serves as a delightful recap for anyone who might be joining late or blacked out sometime around Luis Suarez's bite on Giorgio Chiellini.
[Photos: Top 15 all-time World Cup goalscorers]
Be sure to watch for Pepe's headbutt on Thomas Muller, David Luiz's free kick against Colombia and the assortment of celebrating Lego men that will make you wish the final would be carried out entirely in Lego form. Enjoy.
More World Cup coverage from Yahoo Sports:
FIFA has announced the nominees for the World Cup's individual player awards and while all of them are deserving of the recognition, one name was noticeably absent. U.S. goalkeeper Tim Howard was left off the three-man goalkeeping award shortlist despite his record-setting performance against Belgium in the round of 16 that ultimately wasn't enough to keep his team's improbable World Cup run going.
But before naming those who were included, here are the nominees for the Golden Ball award, which goes to the tournament's best overall player:
The budding modeling career of a 17-year-old Belgium fan who scored a deal with L'Oreal after being photographed in the stands at World Cup matches seems to have ended just as quickly as it began.
No one took Brazil's 7-1 loss to Germany harder than defender David Luiz. With captain Thiago Silva suspended for the match, Luiz wore the armband for the day and, in his over exuberance to lead, it seemed as if he tried to play every position at the same time.
After Germany's humbling of an entire nation was complete, Luiz offered a tearful apology to his country on TV, saying, "I just wanted to see my people smile."
Seeing this prompted nine-year-old fan Ana Luz to write Luiz a letter letting him know that everything would be OK.
Here's the translation of what she wrote (via The Mirror):
Hi David Luiz,
My name is Ana Luz.
I saw all of the Brazil games in the World Cup and I liked it a lot watching you play.
Neymar returned to Brazil's training center after spending several days recovering from his back injury at home. While his teammates prepared for the cruel chore that is Saturday's third-place match against the Netherlands, Neymar, wearing his Brazil shirt autographed by the other players, gave a press conference in which he discussed what he described as "the worst week of his life."
On the subject of the knee to the back from Colombia's Carlos Zuniga during Brazil's quarterfinal win that fractured a vertebra in his back and ended his World Cup, Neymar said that Zuniga later called him to apologize and that he forgave him.
From The Associated Press:
Belgium and Manchester United midfielder Marouane Fellaini has changed his most beloved and recognizable attribute: his glorious and free flowing afro.
After an underwhelming first season at Man United in which the only benefit he offered was to the novelty wig vendors around Old Trafford, Fellaini agreed to cut the 'fro he's been growing out since 2008 if Belgium won the World Cup. But they only made it to the quarterfinals, so he seems to have compromised by trimming his hair and having it braided.
Missing out on a World Cup final because of a penalty shootout is difficult to take and Arjen Robben's five-year-old son Luka simply wasn't having it after Argentina beat the Netherlands 4-2 on penalties. Once it was over, Robben went over to his wife Bernadien and son Luka, who endured the scoreless match from their front row seats. Luka was bawling as a TV camera caught his mother and father trying to comfort him and as a result, he quickly became the star of the match.
The television broadcast couldn't pick up the audio of what young Luka was shouting, but it was probably something along the lines of "Why does he keep diving?!" or "I don't want to go to the third-place match!"
As everyone watching on television has come to realize, the World Cup is really just an elaborate ploy arranged so camera operators can film the mix of attractive and oddly dressed people who fill the stands during the matches.
One fan who caught the attention of several photographers was 17-year-old Belgium supporter Axelle Despiegelaere . Pictures of her in the stands at Belgium's group stage matches against Russia and South Korea were used on websites and in newspapers around the world. She set up a Facebook fan page (which currently has more than 21,000 likes) and when she returned to Belgium at the conclusion of the group stage, she was booked for television appearances as her sudden fame grew.
Simply put, the World Cup semifinal between the Netherlands and Argentina was terrible.
The 120 minutes of scoreless muck in which both teams were wholly consumed by the desire to not concede a goal, completely forgetting the concept of mounting an attack, would best be described with a blank page. The Netherlands' Ron Vlaar continued the futility by having his shot to the begin the penalty shootout saved. Argentina goalkeeper Sergio Romero went on to save Wesley Sneijder's attempt as well, helping his side to a 4-2 shootout win. Romero was named Man of the Match not for his two important saves, but because he finally ended the match and allowed everyone to move on with their lives.
This was the first World Cup semifinal ever to end scoreless before going to penalties. And now Argentina will face Germany in the final having scored eight goals in the entire tournament (half by Lionel Messi) — one more than Germany scored in their semifinal against Brazil.