FIFA 2014

World Cup: Short Passes

Focused on cup, not Golden Boot

Four years after being mistaken for a ball-boy by Diego Maradona, Germany’s Thomas Mueller insists he would rather be a World Cup winner than claim another Golden Boot award.

Algeria stands in Germany’s path for Monday’s last 16 clash before a possible quarterfinal against France or Nigeria.

With nine World Cup goals in nine matches, the baby-faced 24-year-old has come far since Maradona’s blunder in a 2010 press conference in Munich. Mueller had the last laugh a few months later with the opening goal as Germany destroyed Maradona-coached Argentina 4-0 in the World Cup quarterfinals in South Africa.

The Bayern Munich star finished the 2010 World Cup as the Golden Boot winner with five goals and three assists and also picked up the best young player award.

Four years later, he is on course to retain the Golden Boot with four goals, leaving a no-longer ignorant Maradona to hail the form of ‘El Flaco’, the skinny one.

Coach Herrera’s theatrical style

Mexico coach Miguel Herrera just can’t keep his joy bottled up, and his enthusiasm has made him one of the most entertaining and popular figures of the World Cup and an internet sensation worldwide.

Memes of Herrera flood the web — like one that shows his hair catching fire, cartoon-style.

In one picture, he playfully sticks out his tongue while he photo-bombs three members of his team on the pitch. In a video, he dances happily to Spanish ska music.

Fans around the global have fallen in love with Herrera’s colourful antics, which are often as absorbing as the goal replays.

‘Neymarzetes’, Neymar’s own groupies

“First comes God, then family and then Neymar,” says Rayellen Andrade, 17, wearing the yellow Brazil team jersey with her idol’s name across the back. She’s among the tens of thousands of groupies known as “Neymarzetes”, who worship the Brazil and Barcelona forward on both sides of the Atlantic as if he were a Justin Bieber in football cleats.

“Neymarmania” is sweeping across Brazil. The face of Neymar, who changed haircuts and hair colour during the tournament before sporting a blond top, is everywhere — on advertising billboards, TV commercials and in the hearts of his admirers.

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Printable version | Mar 31, 2020 4:44:35 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/football/fifa-2014/World-Cup-Short-Passes/article11637691.ece

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