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Soccer-Ivorian Die sheds tears for World Cup occasion not dad

Reuters

By Patrick Johnston

BRASILIA, June 19 (Reuters) - Ivory Coast midfielder Serey Die said he broke down in tears on Thursday over the emotion of representing his country at a World Cup as false internet rumours swirled that his father had died before kickoff.

Die was crying as the anthems played before they faced Colombia in Brasilia, with rumours circulating on Twitter that his father, who died in 2004, had passed away two hours before the Group C match, which they lost 2-1.

The public outpouring continued after his mistake led to Colombia's second goal, Die caught in possession by James Rodriguez as Juan Quintero ran clear to put the South Americans 2-0 up in the 70th minute.

A sombre Die, who was replaced three minutes later as Gervinho pulled back what proved to be a consolation goal, said the emotion of the occasion had got to him.

"I was going to play for my country," he said when asked about the tears. "(But) it's true that I thought about my father, who died in 2004," he added.

Colombia's injured forward Radamel Falcao appeared to be one of those to make the mistake of thinking Die's father had passed away just before kick-off.

"A big hug for Serey Die today he was a great example for all of us who love this sport," the striker posted on his Twitter account.

Ivorian captain Yaya Toure looked bemused when asked by reporters about Die's condition.

"Emotional? He is fine, he is fine," Toure told reporters.

"It is normal, we came here and we wanted to do it.

"This World Cup we have a chance to go through, we have a target to go through and we hope we go through."

The Ivory Coast are playing in their third consecutive World Cup and are looking to make the knockout stages for the first time after tricky draws saw them exit at the group stage in Germany 2006 and South Africa four years ago.

Despite the defeat their coach Sabri Lamouchi was proud of their efforts which followed their opening 2-1 win over Japan.

"I feel we lost unfairly today and we need to fight for a victory against Greece," said the Frenchman looking ahead to their final group game on Tuesday.

"A very experienced Colombia team waited for us to make mistakes and we did make mistakes."

Defender Kolo Toure will be pushing for a start against Greece, which he said they would go out to win.

The unused substitute rejected a suggestion that Die's emotions had resulted in the mistake for what proved to be Colombia's winning goal.

"No. I think he was one of the best players on the pitch," he told reporters, before praising his team mate's passion.

"He really loves his country - we don't see that in football. We need to take an example from him, fighting for his country, crying for his country. It shows how proud he is." (Reporting by Patrick Johnston; editing by Ken Ferris)

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