WORLD CUP DIARY: Spain were accused of purposely losing to avoid facing Brazil, while Kai Havertz’s glum Player of the Match photo went viral… PLUS, how the World Cup is interfering with school life in America
We are now well into this year’s World Cup with the group stage of the competition now officially wrapped up.
There have been plenty of thrills and spills so far at the controversial tournament in the Middle East.
And below, Sportsmail ‘s MATT BARLOW pens his latest World Cup diary from Doha in Qatar.
Spain progressed to the group stage but fell to defeat against Japan in their final game
SPAIN ACCUSED OF LOSING ON PURPOSE
Mexican bicycle-kick enthusiast Hugo Sanchez is peddling the conspiracy theory that Spain deliberately lost against Japan on Thursday to swerve Brazil at a later stage of the tournament.
‘The coach is never going to admit it,’ said 64-year-old Sanchez, now a pundit on ESPN.
When Netherlands boss Louis van Gaal was asked if this sort of thing might be going on, he blurted out, ‘bull****’ which was translated as ‘rubbish’ by FIFA’s translators.
The Spaniards were accused of losing on purpose to avoid facing Brazil in the knockout rounds
HAVERTZ ISN’T HAPPY
Judging by the glum look on the face of Kai Havertz, the Budweiser Man of the Match trophy he snared for his performance against Costa Rica on Thursday is not going to take pride of place on the mantelpiece.
‘It feels like watching a horror movie, said Havertz.
Kai Havertz looked extremely glum as he posed for his Player of the Match award
WORLD CUP CHANGING CULTURE IN USA
Tyler Adams revealed how the USA team’s success at the World Cup is interfering with education back home… at least in the school where his father teaches.
‘The support from the US has been surreal,’ said the Leeds star. ‘My dad’s a teacher and they were watching it in class, and I was getting videos from all the watch-parties in my town.
‘A tournament can change culture and we want to change it for the next generation and the generations to come.’
Tyler Adams revealed the impact that the World Cup is having on schools in America
ARNOLD THOUGHT HIS TEAM WERE CLEANING
Australia boss Graham Arnold thought his players were learning from Japan, the tidiest team, when asked about the Danish tactical note picked up by one of his players during Wednesday’s game.
‘Mitch Duke brought it over to me and I thought he was just cleaning up,’ he said.