Sunday, June 22, 2014
RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Wayne Rooney knows how to get on the right side of his new manager at Manchester United.
With England already eliminated from the World Cup, Rooney is backing Louis van Gaal's Netherlands to emerge victorious next month in the Maracana. The Dutch have already secured their progress to the round of 16 by beating Spain and Australia in Group B — unlike England, which opened by losing two Group D matches.
When Rooney was asked which team he'll now support, the striker quickly replied: "Holland."
United teammates Robin van Persie and Alexander Buttner also play for the Netherlands.
Rather than shutting himself away from the World Cup before club duties under the new boss start, Rooney will be studying Van Gaal's management and the rest of the tournament from afar.
"I'm disappointed to be going out, but I'll watch from home," Rooney said Saturday. "I'm a football fan."
— By Rob Harris — www.twitter.com/RobHarris
RIBEIRAO PRETO, Brazil (AP) — France midfielder Blaise Matuidi has so much energy that coach Didier Deschamps joked he even ran back to the team's training camp after Friday's match.
A few hours after the 5-2 win over Switzerland in Salvador, the French team flew the some 835 miles to its base in Ribeirao Preto.
"He didn't want to take the plane," Deschamps said Saturday. "He's still running now."
Deschamps captained France to World Cup glory in 1998 and the European Championship two years later. He was known as a tireless midfield runner himself, but even he is impressed with the amount of ground Matuidi covers.
"Even I have trouble following him," Deschamps said. "I see him in the 6-yard box and then, straight away, he's already in the opponent's 6-yard box."
The 27-year-old Matuidi scored France's second goal Friday. He has four goals in the past six games after not scoring in his first 18 international appearances.
"I used to tease him by saying he can't shoot properly, but actually he scores goals," Deschamps said.
— By Jerome Pugmire — www.twitter.com/jeromepugmire
SAO PAULO (AP) — English fans devastated by their team's World Cup elimination still had a nice chance to see the sights.
A sign outside the Sao Paulo Museum of Art read: "ENGLISH, DON'T BE SAD. THIS WEEK YOU GET FREE ADMISSION TO MASP."
Two men working the ticket gate, or bilheteria, reported only a couple of takers by early Saturday evening but expected many more English visitors once word got out.
Bring those passports to save 15 reais.
— By Janie McCauley — www.twitter.com/JanieMcCAP
NEYMAR TO MASSA
TERESOPOLIS, Brazil (AP) — Brazilian Formula One driver Felipe Massa said he got some extra motivation from Brazil striker Neymar before winning the pole position for the Austrian Grand Prix on Saturday.
"Just before I go to the car my son gave me a little Neymar, a little one, so I bring the little one to the car and I put on the side of my helmet. It was a nice feeling," said Massa, who hadn't started from the pole since 2008, when his son, 4-year-old Felipe, had not been born yet.
The Williams driver said he knows "there is a lot going on in Brazil in this moment" because of the World Cup, and he is paying attention even though he's far away.
"I'm a great fan of football, so I hope we can have a great World Cup," Massa said. "I know what it is to win at home, so I can imagine winning the World Cup at home is like a dream come true, not just for the players but also for everybody which is watching. So I really hope the best for Brazil."
Massa twice won his home race, in 2006 and 2008, when he drove for Ferrari.
— By Tales Azzoni — www.twitter.com/tazzoni
RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Selfies, elaborate jokes, photo bombs involving his squad's biggest stars and now exclusive team news. Mexico's Miguel Herrera is not one of those national team coaches afraid of Twitter.
In the past month, the 46-year-old former player has seen the number of people following him on Twitter more than double. On Friday, he revealed in a tweet that he intends to use the same lineup for Monday's crucial final group game against Croatia as he did for the 0-0 draw with Brazil. Surely that will add many more to the 619,000 people currently following @MiguelHerreraDT.
The man who generally goes by the nickname Piojo (louse) has proved a hit on and off the pitch. He's set an example for the relaxed atmosphere at Mexico's base in Santos. Piojo has happily signed countless autographs and posed for pictures — many of them destined for social media — for the fans outside the team hotel.
Short, squat, smiling and capable of saying anything — he labeled Bosnia-Herzegovina players "pigs" after what he saw as unfair substitutions during a World Cup warm-up match earlier this month — Herrera is social media's dream manager. Just don't get him started on Fabio Capello, the Italian coach of the Russia national team, who has banned all his players from using Twitter.
— By Luke Norman
Associated Press reporters will be filing dispatches about happenings in and around Brazil during the 2014 World Cup. Follow AP journalists covering the World Cup on Twitter: https://twitter.com/AP_Sports/world-cup-2014