From Russia with love… Brief stories from the World Cup

Neymar hasn't been at his best so far at the World Cup, but there has been a baby named after him
AFP

Moscow (AFP) – AFP Sport takes a look at some of the stories you may have missed at the World Cup:

The Panamanian Neymar is born

It’s hard to say now that he will be playing like the Brazilian star in 20 years’ time, but Panama midfielder Anibal Godoy has named his son Neymar. “But it’s not because of the player, it’s a name that pleased his mum,” smiled the 28-year-old Godoy in a press conference.

Mutual joy at German despair

In the press room in Moscow, Brazilian and Serbian journalists who were waiting for the match between their two teams exploded with joy after the first South Korean goal against Germany.

They again loudly showed their pleasure at seeing the Asians’ second goal, and again at the final whistle, which marked the elimination of the world champions.

Brazil were humiliated 7-1 at home in 2014 by Germany. As for the Serbs, they consider Germany as co-responsible for the break-up of the former Yugoslavia by its eagerness to recognise the independence of Slovenia and Croatia in the early 1990s.

Canarinhooooo

Amid concerns about Neymar’s form and Brazil’s slow start in the group stages, coach Tite has found time to address the big issue facing the five-time world champions — the popularity of their mascot Canarinho.

The scowling giant canary, who is the same bright yellow as the Selecao’s famous kit, has his doubters and has been described as “Tweety Bird’s jacked older brother who spent a few years in prison for stealing cars”.

But despite his intimidating demeanour, Canarinho has clearly won over Tite since his introduction in 2016 and the Brazil boss was full of praise when asked how the bird had been received in Russia.

“He’s really quite a character. You look into his eyes and he’s got, what’s the word? Charisma! He’s got charisma,” he enthused.

Comfort and caressing

Brazil coach Tite got all warm and fuzzy over the support travelling Selecao fans are giving their team in Russia.

“It’s hard to explain the warmth it gives you, from the fans — it comforts you, it caresses you,” said the Brazil boss.

“When you feel the love from the fans, it strengthens you.”

Brazil eased into the last 16 by seeing off Serbia 2-0 on Wednesday.

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