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Ivory Coast's Serey Die overcome with emotion, setting off minor hoax

Fans putting on a show during national anthems

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Ivory Coast's Serey Die is overcome with emotion as they play the national anthem before the group C World Cup soccer match between Colombia and Ivory Coast at the Estadio Nacional in Brasilia, Brazil, Thursday, June 19, 2014. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

In the moments before Ivory Coast took on Colombia, cameras captured Ivory Coast midfielder Serey Die openly weeping, overcome with emotion. It was a touching moment, one that set off a minor hoax.

Die, like many other players in this year's World Cup, was weeping in gratitude for the honor of playing for his country. But some initial, unsourced reports indicated that Die's father had died only hours before the match, and that he had opted to play in the match regardless.

As it turned out, that story was fabrication. Die's father had died in 2004, and Die was weeping with the enormity of the moment. The pain on Die's face was evident during the playing of Ivory Coast's anthem:

Multiple outlets ran with the playing-in-the-face-of-tragedy angle.

This, from the UK's Daily Mail:

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And Sports Illustrated (which later deleted the post):

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But as it turns out, this was simply a hoax, albeit a particularly cruel one toward Die and his family. Deadspin ran a translated excerpt from Die's Instagram, in which he wrote:

"Hello, I just want to say that it's wrong what they all say, that I was moved because of my dad, but he died in 2004 and it was just the excitement of being in a World Cup and serving my country, Ivory Coast. I never thought one day I would be at this level of competition."

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Jay Busbee is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter.

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