Free Press Journal

Football World Cup Bytes

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A sea lion and his trainer play with a football at a new attraction to support the Japanese national football team's efforts for the upcoming FIFA World Cup at the Shinagawa Aqua Stadium aquarium in Tokyo. Japan will play against Ivory Coast at the first match of the first round on June 14 in Brazil.

Brazilian Prez assures safety

Brasilia: Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff has reiterated her pledge to ensure the safety of competing teams, officials and fans during the FIFA World Cup starting next week. The government earlier this year announced plans to spend $800 million on the largest ever security operation for football’s premier tournament, reports. More than 170,000 soldiers, police and private security personnel are expected to be deployed in Brazil’s 12 host cities. “To all Brazilians and visitors, I can ensure that the security structure that we have organized is going to give everybody the peace of mind necessary to stage a successful tournament,” Rousseff said during a ceremony in which she was presented with the World Cup trophy from FIFA president Joseph Blatter. Rousseff also repeated her desire for the anti-racism message to be a theme of the June 12-July 13 event.

Ronaldo, Brazil most sought after


New Delhi: With the football World Cup fever catching up in India, Portugal star Christiano Ronaldo is the most searched footballer in this cricket-crazy country. Latest results by Google Search Trends revealed Tuesday that Real Madrid’s Rolando, Ballon d’Or winner, remains the most sought after with a distinctive lead over Argentinian star Lionel Messi and Brazilian Neymar. English soccer star Wayne Rooney and Spanish star Fernando Torres take the fourth and fifth spot on Google search. Most of the queries for the 2014 World Cup came from the soccer mad states of West Bengal and Kerala.

Lampard to leave Chelsea

Washington: England midfielder Frank Lampard has said he will leave Chelsea after 13 years in service. The 35-year-old has not agreed to a new deal with the Premier League team. He did not reveal on Monday which club he will sign, reports Xinhua. Lampard is currently with England in Miami for two World Cup warm-up matches before travelling to Brazil Saturday.  Lampard moved to Chelsea in 2001 from West Ham to become the club’s all-time leading scorer with 211 goals in 648 appearances. He won the Premier League three times, the Champions League and Europa League once each, four FA Cups and two League Cups.

Injured Falcao to miss WC

Bogota (Colombia): Monaco striker Radamel Falcao has been left off Colombia’s squad for the World Cup after failing to recover from a knee injury.

 Coach Jose Pekerman made the announcement at a news conference yesterday from the team’s training facility in Buenos Aires, Argentina, dealing a serious blow to the team’s chances at the tournament. Falcao’s presence had been in doubt ever since he underwent knee surgery in January. But Colombians had been hoping for a miracle recovery in time for the World Cup as Falcao posted on social inspirational messages and photos of himself taking nine-kilometer (six-mile) runs. “We can say to all of Colombia that he did more than was within his power to play,” said Pekerman. “He deserved the right for us to wait and keep the hope alive.” The 28-year-old said that as he lacks match fitness, “the smartest thing to do” is to stay on the sidelines. He said he still plans to travel to Brazil to cheer on his teammates.