Welcome, 77 artists, 40 different points of Attica welcomes you by singing Erotokritos an epic romance written at 1713 by Vitsentzos Kornaros

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Joel Campbell will play for Arsenal next season, confirms Arsene Wenger

Source: - Sunday, June 15, 2014 Costa Rica’s Joel Campbell celebrates his goal against Uruguay (Picture: AP) Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has confirmed that Costa Rica star Joel Campbell WILL play for the Gunners next season. The 21-year-old on-loan Arsenal forward scored one goal and set up another in Costa Rica’s stunning 3-1 win over Uruguay on Saturday. And after hearing about the youngster’s performance in Fortaleza, Wenger – who is in Brazil commentating on the World Cup for French television station TF1 – revealed that he will recall Campbell to North London this summer. ‘He will definitely come back to us for pre-season,’ Wenger told Sportsmail. ‘He is maturing well.’ Campbell was signed by Arsenal in 2011 but has never played for the club after spending the last three seasons on loan at French side Lorient, Spanish outfit Real Betis and Greek champions Olympiacos. MORE: Joel Campbell scores brilliant goal… in front of Arsenal boss Arsene WengerAll Related


Tasting success after financial crisis

Greek entrepreneurs who risked it all -- because they had nothing to lose -- get a business boost.


Greek Fest celebrates food, music at State Fair Park

Greek Fest celebrates food, music at State Fair ParkMilwaukee Journal SentinelDaniel Argyres kept the charcoal burning under the racks of lamb at last year's Greek Fest. Milwaukee's 49th annual Greek Fest runs from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday at Wisconsin State Fair Park. By Kathy ...


Blond Child Found with Roma Family in Rhodes

Authorities in the Greek island of Rhodes came across a case that is very similar to that of Little Maria from Farsala, northern Greece, which was all over Greek media a few months ago. A Roma woman who used to beg for money at Cyprus square in Rhodes, Greece, was found with a little blond boy with blue eyes, aged approximately 1 and a half years-old.  The case reached the local authorities when a citizen noticed that the woman was mistreating and hitting the boy and went to police to report it. Following orders from the island’s prosecutor, the child was transferred to the Child Care Center, while the Roma woman (who comes from Romania) is being held in custody.  A preliminary investigation is underway in order to determine if the little boy belongs to this woman or if he was abducted. As part of the investigation, a DNA examination has been ordered by the prosecutor, who has also ordered the woman’s family to hand over all documents that prove her civil status, as well as hospital or any other official documents that prove that the woman gave birth to this child.


The Magical Athens Riviera

Glyfada is a suburb of Athens,  located just 25 minutes South from the Acropolis.  It looks like a suburb of an American town with wide, clean streets surrounded by trees, beautiful houses and a very vivid commercial center full of nice restaurants, shops and promenades. The beach stretches for miles and people are able to go for a long walk near their homes, wearing either their clothes or swimsuits and looking at the amazing view of the mountain behind Glyfada.  It is a magical place. The 21 mile beach that starts from Glyfada and ends in Sounion and the ruins of the Temple of Poseidon in the south of Attica, one can found hot springs, seaside luxury resorts, sandy beaches, all of them awarded with the “Blue Flag” for their clear waters. The small towns that are located near Athens Riviera, such as Voula, Varkiza or Lagonisi, give visitors the chance to feel the magical Greek island aura without having to step off the mainland. Greek salad, fried calamari, fresh fish from the crystal clear waters of the region and hundreds of other traditional Greek delicacies are offered generously in all of the area’s taverns. The area is famous for its ancient attractions, with the most important being that of the temple of Poseidon at Sounion, which is a marvel of ancient architecture and has of the most breathtaking views. The temple of Poseidon in Sounio is also a vertex of an imaginary isosceles triangle with its other two being the Temple of Aphaia on Aegina and the Acropolis downtown Athens, famous from antiquity.  


Jailed Corruption Figure Blackmailed

Authorities are investigating an alleged blackmail plot in which a jailed criminal has demanded a former defense ministry official serving time pay him 10 million euros.

The post Jailed Corruption Figure Blackmailed appeared first on The National Herald.


Rising Number of 'Eternal' Greek Students

Greek ReporterRising Number of 'Eternal' Greek StudentsGreek Reporteruniversity students The phenomenon of “eternal students” in Greek universities has become a major issue for the country's educational system. 4 out of 10 students have not completed their studies, even after 12 years, while university occupations by ...


Fifty Undocumented Migrants Arrested in Four Separate Incidents

A speedboat with 16 undocumented migrants on board was located early Saturday by a Greek Coast Guard patrol vessel in the sea region of Oinousses, Greece.  When the Turkish captain and trafficker noticed the patrol vessel,  he rammed it and continued its trip. Finally, the speedboat was stopped and the trafficker was arrested. The undocumented migrants were transferred safely to Chios island. In a separate incident, 10 undocumented migrants were rescued after their dinghy sank in Turkish waters northeast of Lesvos island. A Greek Coast Guard vessel rescued the migrants after a Turkish vessel that rushed to the spot, refused to collect the migrants. Seven of the migrants were transferred to the port of Mytilene (island of Lesvos) while the three other were collected by two Turkish vessels. Finally, a trafficker and sixteen undocumented migrants were arrested in the sea region of Akrotiri, Lesvos island and another 11 undocumented migrants were also arrested at the area of Aghios Georgios, Symi island.


Ancient Path of Zas in Naxos Vandalized

The local community of the Aegean island of Naxos was shocked to find that someone had arbitrarily vandalized the sacred path of Zas, which dates back to ancient times and attracts hundreds of tourists every year from all over the world. The path is a trail of three and a half hours, which was used thousands of years ago by the inhabitants of the Greek island of Naxos, that leads to the top of the sacred mountain Zas, which was dedicated to the god Zeus. The trail starts in the village of Filoti, passes by the church of Agia Marina Danakou, where in ancient times there used to be a sacred temple of Zeus and ends at the top of Mount Zas, the highest mountain in the Cyclades with a height of 1,003 meters. This trek had been preserved from ancient times, while during the 19th Century it was redefined.  Ever since, thousands of tourists and hiking clubs from Greece and abroad visit the island every year, in order to walk the ancient path. However. in early May an individual used a bulldozer to destroy almost 600 meters of the trail, in order to make his field more easily accessible. The incident triggered strong reactions by the local community and foreign clubs, while the Environmental Movement of Naxos blamed the local police for negligence and said that the Forest Service should have intervened, as the bulldozer also destroyed several very old trees. The municipality Naxos and Small Cyclades condemned the incident and is scheduled to begin restoration works in the coming days.  


Lost in Time: a Traditional Cretan Village

On the island of Crete, many believe that the most precious legacy a Cretan man can give to his family and his homeland is the passion to uphold and pass on traditions of their unique way of life. The legacy of preserving the idyllic memories from his children began as a dream for Georgis Saloustros […]

The post Lost in Time: a Traditional Cretan Village appeared first on The National Herald.


Greek students from the island of Crete awarded for building a satellite

A team of high school students from the Greek island of Crete participated in Cansat European competition and gained an award for building a satellite. Cansat is a competition organized by the European Space Agency, in collaboration with the Norwegian ...


World Cup 2014: Colombia trounces Greece, so who needs Falcao?

Colombia beat Greece 3-1 in the first World Cup 2014 match. Colombia's attacking style, even without star striker Radamel Falcao, was too much for Greece.


Scepticism greets Greek Cypriot minority claim

Greek ReporterScepticism greets Greek Cypriot minority claimCyprus MailA former DISY leader, Yiannakis Matsis, will meet officials from the government's Statistical Service tomorrow to discuss his highly controversial claim that Greek Cypriots may be a minority on the island. A report by an independent demographics ...According to a research conducted by the Institute of Demographics and ...Greek ReporterDemography: Cyprus; Greek Cypriot population decreasingANSAmedFar Right Makes Gains in CyprusWall Street JournalFamagusta Gazette -InCyprusall 19 news articles »


BC-AP--World-Cup-Digest, AP

by  Associated Press BC-AP--World-Cup-Digest, AP Associated Press - 15 June 2014 10:12-04:00

The AP World Cup Digest at 10 a.m. EDT (1400 GMT). The supervisor of the World Cup desk in Rio de Janeiro is Simon Haydon. The desk can be reached at 0055 21 348 264 84.



BRASILIA, Brazil — A turn-off for fans of attacking football at the last two World Cups, a new-look Switzerland should be more entertaining with its crop of talented youngsters in the team's opening Group E match against Ecuador in Brasilia. By Steve Douglas. UPCOMING: 650 words, photos, expected by 2 p.m. EDT/1800 GMT.


PORTO ALEGRE, Brazil — France tries to put the painful memories of its last World Cup behind it when it takes on Group E underdog Honduras. By Chris Brummitt. UPCOMING: 600 words, photos, expected by 5 p.m. EDT/2100 GMT.


RIO DE JANEIRO — Two-time world champion Argentina opens its World Cup campaign in Rio de Janeiro's famous Maracana stadium against Bosnia-Herzegovina, a newcomer on football's premier stage. By Karl Ritter. UPCOMING: 650 words, photos, by 8 p.m. EDT/ 0000 GMT.



NATAL, Brazil — Once, it can happen. Twice, a pattern is starting to emerge. The United States hopes to avoid three straight losses to Ghana when the Americans play the Black Stars in the World Cup opener on Monday night. By Ronald Blum. UPCOMING: Developing from U.S. news conference at 2:15 p.m. EDT/1815 GMT.


TERESOPOLIS, Brazil — Brazil plays its second match of the World Cup against old rival Mexico on Tuesday, hoping another victory will be enough to secure a spot in the second round of the home tournament. After a difficult 3-1 win against Croatia in Thursday's opener, Brazil has a chance to advance to the round of 16 by beating the Mexicans in the northeastern city of Fortaleza. Mexico also started with a victory, beating Cameroon 1-0, and will similarly be looking to advance from Group A. By Tales Azzoni. SENT: 544 words, photos.


TERESOPOLIS, Brazil — Brazil starting striker Hulk has left the team's training session with an apparent muscle injury in his left leg. Hulk practiced for less than 15 minutes on Sunday when he felt something in his leg and left the field. SENT: 126 words.


CUIABA, Brazil — In his fourth and final World Cup as a player, Hong Myung-bo led South Korea on that famous run to the semifinals in 2002. Twelve years on, and now national team coach, it'll be some achievement if he gets the side beyond the group stage. By Steve Douglas. SENT: 506 words, photos.


CURITIBA, Brazil — Iran and Nigeria have something in common ahead of their World Cup clash on Monday, and it's something both teams want to shake off. When they meet at the Arena da Baixada, Iran and Nigeria will be bidding for a first win in a World Cup match since France 1998. With Argentina the clear favorite in Group F, Iran and Nigeria are expected to compete with tournament newcomer Bosnia-Herzegovina for second spot. By Pan Pylas. SENT: 696 words.


CURITIBA, Brazil — The Netherlands crushing defeat of Spain has precipitated a question that was likely to be asked after the World Cup — when will the Spanish veterans give way to the talented youngsters? That transition may come as soon as the crucial Group B match against Chile on Wednesday. By Paul Logothetis. UPCOMING: 500 words, photos. By 1 p.m. EST/1700 GMT.


NATAL, Brazil — Long before the U.S. soccer team came to this breezy coastal city for the World Cup, another group of uniformed Americans came through. They brought a sliver of World War II, big band music, jobs and a population boom to an isolated part of Northeast Brazil, which just happened to a strategic key to fighting the Nazis. By Jim Vertuno. UPCOMING: 650 words by 4 p.m. EDT/2000 GMT.


ITU, Brazil — After a wrenching defeat against Ivory Coast, Japan's Blue Samurai try to regroup and find a Plan B to make it into the knockout stages by defeating Greece and Colombia in their remaining group matches. By Joji Sakurai. UPCOMING: 400 words by 6 p.m. EDT/2200 GMT.


RIO DE JANEIRO — Daley Blind gave his dad an early Father's Day present this week — two pin-point accurate passes to set up the first two goals in the Netherlands 5-1 demolition of Spain. By Mike Corder. UPCOMING 500 words, photos, by 6 p.m. EDT/2200 GMT.


England knew surviving a group with two other former World Cup champions would be tough, but the team never expected to be trailing Costa Rica after the opening games. The small Central American nation with a minor World Cup pedigree came from behind to shock 2010 semifinalist Uruguay 3-1. Then Mario Balotelli — who else? — scored the decider for Italy in a 2-1 win over England. By Raf Casert. SENT. 702 words, photos.


MANAUS, Brazil — With one nod of his head, Mario Balotelli gave Italy a 2-1 win over England and put the four-time champions in position to go far at the World Cup. The often volatile and often brilliant Italy striker was left unmarked at the far post, giving him plenty of space to head a cross from Antonio Candreva past goalkeeper Joe Hart for the winning goal. By Chris Lehourites. SENT: 794 words, photos.


FORTALEZA, Brazil — Watching from the bench, Luis Suarez saw just how much his teammates miss him. Uruguay was overrun 3-1 Saturday by Group D underdog Costa Rica at the World Cup, a stunning result for the team that reached the semifinals four years ago and had every reason to think it could repeat that in Brazil. By Derek Gatopoulos. SENT


BELO HORIZONTE, Brazil — Colombia started its first World Cup campaign in 16 years in dazzling fashion, beating Greece 3-0 to open Group C on Saturday in front of a big, loud pro-Colombian crowd. By Frank Griffiths. SENT


RECIFE, Brazil — Didier Drogba came off the bench to inspire Ivory Coast to a 2-1 comeback victory over Japan in a World Cup Group C match on Saturday. Drogba, who had been carrying an injury, came on in the 62nd minute when his team was losing 1-0. By Brett Martel. SENT.


RIO DE JANEIRO — When Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain's right knee buckled under the weight of a tackle, the England midfielder left the pitch fearing he might miss the World Cup. "With the timing of the injury, I did worry and fear the worst," he said, discussing the incident for the first time. "But from the scan results, and from everything the medical team have said, I got away quite lucky really." By Rob Harris. SENT: 414 words, photos.


MANAUS, Brazil — Pure class and pure power. Skill and strength. Creative vision and clinical finishing. Andrea Pirlo and Mario Balotelli are a study in contrasts on the football pitch. And off it. By Andrew Dampf. SENT: 628 words, photos.


FORTALEZA, Brazil — Joel Campbell hasn't played a game for Arsenal since he signed with the Premier League club three years ago. If he keeps performing like this at the World Cup, he might soon get his chance. By Derek Gatopoulos. SENT: 372 words, photos.


RIO DE JANEIRO — France is preparing for its first World Cup match since leaving South Africa in disgrace four years ago following a player strike and a group-stage exit. Didier Deschamps' inexperienced squad needs to perform on the sport's biggest stage to win back supporters and is expected to beat Honduras on Sunday, which only compounds the pressure. By John Pye. SENT: 712 words, photos.


MANAUS, Brazil — England's physiotherapist required treatment himself after being injured while celebrating a goal during Saturday's World Cup game against Italy. Gary Lewin dislocated an ankle after Daniel Sturridge equalized for England during the first half in Manaus as the England backroom staff celebrated on the bench. SENT. 111 words, photos.


RECIFE, Brazil — WCUP-BRAZIL BEAT. SENT. 900 words.


News Topics: Sports, 2014 FIFA World Cup, International soccer, FIFA World Cup, Athlete injuries, Men's soccer, Soccer, Professional soccer, Events, Athlete health, Men's sports

People, Places and Companies: Hulk, Joe Hart, Luis Suarez, Didier Drogba, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Andrea Pirlo, Joel Campbell, Brazil, Italy, Rio de Janeiro, France, Spain, Recife, Nigeria, Japan, Ivory Coast, United States, Ghana, West Africa, Greece, Costa Rica, Colombia, Honduras, Uruguay, Iran, Argentina, South America, Latin America and Caribbean, Western Europe, Europe, Africa, East Asia, Asia, North America, Central America, Middle East, England, Netherlands, United Kingdom

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Greece coach Santos issues wakeup call for players

By Karolos Grohmann BELO HORIZONTE Brazil (Reuters) - Greece kept up its negative tradition of conceding an early goal in their World Cup opening match when they lost 3-0 to Colombia with coach Fernando Santos urging his players to wake up and smell the proverbial Brazilian coffee. This is the third time Greece let in an early goal at a World Cup after conceding a second minute goal against ...


Greece’s Proud Gays Want Family Rights

Greece's annual Gay Pride parade this year attracted hundreds demanding they get equal rights for gay marriage and adoption of children.

The post Greece’s Proud Gays Want Family Rights appeared first on The National Herald.


Santos Says Greece Will Bounce Back

With Greeks holding their heads after the soccer team was humiliated 3-0 in its opening round World Cup match with Colombia, coach Fernando Santos shrugged it off.

The post Santos Says Greece Will Bounce Back appeared first on The National Herald.


'Lord Lucan was smuggled out of UK by shadowy spies-for-hire and hid in Greek monastery': Murder suspect's escape was bankrolled by wealthy friends, claims book

Lord Lucan was smuggled out of Britain to a remote Greek monastery by a former MI5 agent financed by his wealthy friends, a new book has sensationally claimed. The nation's most wanted criminal was rescued by an exclusive group of Britain's richest ...



Greece kept up its negative tradition of conceding an early goal in their World Cup opening match when they lost 3-0 to Colombia with coach Fernando Santos


World Cup 2014: James Rodriguez stars as Colombia thrash Greece

New York TimesWorld Cup 2014: James Rodriguez stars as Colombia thrash GreeceSydney Morning HeraldJames Rodriguez rounded off a convincing 3-0 win for Colombia against Greece as the South Americans made light of the absence of injured striker Radamel Falcao in their opening Group C match at the World Cup on Saturday. Fullback Pablo Armero had ...Colombia vs. Greece: Final score 3-0, Los Cafeteros dance past impotent GreeceSB NationWorld Cup 2014: Colombia Blanks Greece in Dazzling FashionNew York TimesColombia use fervent following to inflict comfortable defeat on GreeceThe GuardianSkySports -New York Daily News -al.comall 1,035 news articles »


World Cup: What Greece Needs to Change in Order to Qualify to the Next Round

Greece coach Fernando Santos had claimed there was far more to the 2004 European champions than a defensive strategy, but in the opening game against Colombia his team were found wanting. Greece had half-chances but no coherent strategy. The Portuguese ...


World Cup 2014: day four live!

Download our World Cup Daily podcastFive talking points from England v ItalyBalotelli happy to turn heat up on EnglandGerrard 'hugely disappointed' by England lossMarcus Christenson: in defence of Phil NevilleDo feel free to email

12.55pm BST

Here's a statistic for you:

Arjen Robben ran 37 kilometres per hour to outrun Sergio Ramos (30.6) for the 1-5, the fastest sprint recorded by FIFA ever. (De Telegraaf)

12.47pm BST

I'm currently perusing Fifa's dedicated media website for the World Cup, in the absence of actual news. Among the handy information they've got there is a file of "story ideas" that members of the press covering the World Cup might want to report to their international readership. They include:

12.34pm BST

Among today's highlights to look forward to:

Iran, USA, Spain, Greece, Colombia, Ghana, Nigeria, Croatia, Russia, Portugal, Germany and Holland all have press conferences scheduled, some of them with open training sessions, so we should have some kind of update from each of them. Japan, South Korea, Cameroon and Brazil aren't holding press conferences, but they are each laying on a "media opportunity", whatever that is. Algeria are promising "media activity", which sounds to me dangerously like some journalists playing Twister. Mexico are having a closed training session with no media opportunities whatsoever, which is a little mean of them.

12.24pm BST

Switzerland v Ecuador: Ravshan Irmatov from Uzbekistan is in charge of this one. You may recognise him from 2010, when he took charge of five matches including the opening match between South Africa and Mexico, and the semi-final between Uruguay and Holland. Ravshan Irmatov doesn't say anything particularly interesting.

France v Honduras: Home favourite Sandro Ricci will wield the whistle. He was Brazil's referee of the year in 2010. I'm not sure what the more recent referee of the year title-winners are up to this summer. Sandro Ricci says:

Before each game I take off my ring and kiss it four times in honour of the four women in my life: my mother, my wife and my two daughters.

I am a cheery person and always in a good mood. I love to take care of my friends. I am an optimist and I like to have fun. Even if people think that referees are the strictest of people, off the pitch we are people who love life.

12.15pm BST

Hello world!

So it's now a little after 8am in Rio, which means that at some point soonish people in Brazil might wake up and start doing things which I can write about. So that's something to look forward to. In the meantime, here's my favourite Fifa press release of the weekend:

The first ever FIFA World Cup match ball to have a Twitter profile has reached a landmark of one million followers. As interest in the tournaments Official Match Ball reachesfever pitch, followers have grown by approximately 850,000 since the kick-off of the worlds biggestfootball tournament, and the official ball is growing its follower base at an unprecedented rate to be the first ever ball to reach over one million followers.

Flattered by its volume of followers, @brazuca said (in less than 140 characters), I can't believe I've

Im @brazuca, match ball of the 2014 FIFA #WorldCup. Yes Im a ball. Yes Im tweeting. Join me on my journey! #ballin

12.03pm BST

Anyway, and with that, that's us - Simon Burnton will guide you through the tricky middle hours.

12.01pm BST

Jack Wilshere, the thinking man's tough

11.45am BST

Pirlo's face is a sentence all of its own, but Pirlo's face as he performs this dummy is an entire chapter.

11.36am BST

Phil curls one in from 25 yards

11.36am BST

Phil plays the Yes-No game

11.35am BST

Phil smashes Ronaldo

11.34am BST

Phil with a great save.

11.34am BST

"In defence of Phil Neville" - here's Marcus Christenson, defending Phil Neville.

Given that it was his first go, aside from the tonal issues, I don't think he was too bad. And actually, his brother, though excellent in a studio, isn't anywhere as good in co-commentary.

11.17am BST

Childish but nice. Someone changed the screensavers on all the Macs in some Mac store somewhere to Pirlo's face.

11.10am BST

Back to "Steven", here's Adrian Chiles challenging Brendan Brendan for the stevening world record.

10.56am BST

Another World Cup hero: Enzo Scifo, what a liege. Here he is, proving the same.

10.50am BST

Steven Gerrard, then. Apparently, England lost because of a "lack of quality in the final third". Nothing to do with his hapless anonymity, of course - what a coincidence!

And there's more:

10.42am BST

"You don't have to win to be loved", tweets Gary Naylor. -"England aren't loved yet, but might be soon." The new Denmark '86?

Of whose deeds you can read in the excellent book, Danish Dynamite - which began life on this site, here, and there's a further extract, here - co-authored by Rob Smyth (with Lars Eriksen and Mike Gibbons. Naylor's review is here.

10.38am BST

Bazza, of course, is the progenitor of the award for this gem:

"People always say its a shame someone as talented as Ryan Giggs or George Best before him never played in a World Cup or European Championship and I dont want my name to be added to that list."

10.31am BST

Daniel Sturridge is magnificent. Magnificent. And is hereby shortlisted for the Barry Ferguson award for self-knowledge.

10.25am BST

"Even though the song is being ironical this is how I feel this morning", emails Niall Mullen. The pitch for this included the words "with hilarious results". Fact.

And it might even be worse than old Nasir's contribution; any more for any more?

10.23am BST

A fathers' day thought: people with children really are something else. Nas! What on earth is going on?

10.17am BST

Good World Cup names: Daley Blind, which would be perfect for a newspaper.

10.15am BST

So, today's games. Might Honduras and Bosnia give France and Argentina a nit of aggravation? Also, Switzerland, under Ottmar Hitzfeld, will not be no pushover.

10.07am BST

A World Cup hero. Here's Wim van Hanegem.

10.05am BST

Lee Hendrie. Lee Hendrie and his twin earrings - why wouldn't he want to draw attention to such lovely lugs? - are marking the England team on Sky. Somewhere in heaven, John Logie Baird sighs with pleasure.

9.50am BST

"Not only am I stuck in Italy in a small town near Padova," whinges Alexi Lalas Johny B, "surrounded by literally (literally literally) thousands of Italians, but for some insane reason there is only one game available per day on terrestrial television here, with the rest only shown on Sky, which I don't have. I have the newspaper to read though - gloating on the back pages, billions of missing euros from the flood defences at Venice on the front pages. Would I swap Britain's relatively functioning political system for the corruption and scandal-ridden regimes of Italy or Brazil in return for a side capable of winning the World Cup? Probably."

And that's exactly why the suits can keep having us over.

9.42am BST

I CANNOT WAIT TO WATCH MORE FOOTBALL. I want the finest footballs available to humanity. I want a golden goose.

9.29am BST

Oh, go on then. Cameron versus Keys versus banter.

9.26am BST

Rooney versus Aspas. Oooh yeah,.

9.18am BST

"My fingers were crossed and it paid off" - Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain explains why the scan on his injured knee went well.

9.14am BST

Pirlo is a boss. But to placate the cosmos, here he is, crying over football.

9.07am BST

However - Roy Hodgson forgot Plan A. After ten minutes of Italy sitting in, it was clear England weren't going to play through them - who could? So, instead of bringing on Lallana to augment the clutter, Lambert and crosses into the box would've made more sense. In mine.

9.03am BST

Back to Italy, what a masterclass in closing out a game - magnificent, and the best I cam remember since Bayern Munich knocked Man United out of the European Cup in 2010, admittedly against ten men. Here's Arjen Robben's clinching goal.

9.01am BST

"Here's Sky Sports News, your home of sports news." Pithy, catchy and clever, all mixed.

8.59am BST

Sunday mornin', praise the dawnin'It's just a restless feelin', by my sideEarly dawnin', Sunday mornin'It's just the wasted years so close behind

Watch out, the world's behind youThere's always someone around you, who will callIt's nothin' at all

8.48am BST

"Completely agree about the TV coverage", emails David Wall. You what? Agreement, on a football blog, on the internet? This will not do; call yourself a human? "Ferdinand has been a pleasant surprise, and Juninho earlier of was insightful and fun too. In pretty much all respects the BBC are out-doing ITV so far (quality of pundits, opening sequence, etc). They just seem far more professional whereas ITV want to be the voice down the pub. But you can get that voice down the pub so why put it on TV? Gary Lineker as usual showing he's actually pretty good at presenting tournament coverage, it's just a shame he doesn't get the same freedom on MOTD. But why is it that the Beeb are always better than ITV at tournaments, is it merely the lack of adverts or something else (perhaps comprehensiveness of coverage with radio as well as TV, or ability to attract better pundits because they're more widely respected)?"

Keane's absence is a big thing for ITV - though I thought Clarke Carlisle was good as co-commentator in Mexico-Cameroon. But otherwise, BBC have just chosen more sensibly - two men who've played with and against a lot of the players involved, and are telling us stuff we don't know - how to play them, and how they'd handle particular situations. Roughly, that's what you want off pros - to give the benefit of their specific and individual expertise.

8.44am BST

How many fathers are being forced to have meals, outings, conversations and not watching sport all day bestowed upon them? Kids and wives are the best, just so thoughtful.

8.42am BST

West Brom fans, disappointed their club hasn't appointed Tim Sherwood. Have that, Alan.

8.37am BST

Telly talk. It was not remotely difficult to experience ground gears upon being informed that Rio Ferdinand is "having the time of my life" - that's his, not yours - at the licence payer's expense. But isn't he really good at actually supplying insight - and what a pleasure to see him and Thierry Henry talking across Shearer, the cogs of his brain visible through his pate and frantically churning in an attempt to contribute.

8.27am BST

"Botched rhinoplasty Messi" is an avant-garde way to open a sentence - well done, James Debens. "A terrifyingly expansive pair of nostrils".

Well, he is the natural successor to Maradona. Is this called a messifigy?

8.22am BST

However. Mr Elvis Afriyie-Ankrah, Ghana's sports minister, has tasked the Black Stars with winning the competition.

I require not the slightest persuasion nor excuse to post this video of the squad enjoying a sing-song. Here's the squad enjoying a sing-song.

8.19am BST

Meanwhile, Kwame Noglow, an Asante witch doctor, has advised us that Ghana will fail and Argentina will succeed. There is an old saying in Argentina which has seeped into the vocabulary of almost every citizen,|" he said, on, er, Classic FM. "'God is Argentine, they claim in reference to the countrys enviable geographical position and natural riches, a combination of factors which to the millions of impoverished immigrants who crossed the Atlantic Ocean fromSpain, Italy and elsewhere must have seemed like heaven on earth."

Done and done.

8.10am BST

Who's not spending hours trying to concoct a means by which they can justify lozzing everything and flying to Braseeeww?

8.07am BST

"Gary Lewin's World Cup has come to an abrupt end." Physiotherapist heal thyself. Poor blighter.

8.06am BST

A great World Cup goal. Negrete for Mexico against Bulgaria, 1996.

8.00am BST

El Diego. Scores the winning penalty for the Americas against Rest of the World, man in light blue comes to congratulate him.

7.51am BST

"It's perhaps too early to tell, returns David Wall, "but this is shaping up to be the best tournament since the early 80s/ 70s/ ever. It's as though everyone involved has decided to go retro with more commitment to attacking, some hapless defending, a couple of dodgy goalkeeping performances, inept refereeing and more lenience about physical challenges (almost all of that within the Spain - Netherlands game alone). The best things obviously never go out of style."

"I think it was me who said...". Here's a piece from December, after the play-offs, on why this would be the best World Cup in a generation. And yes, I forgot to bet a goal spread.

7.49am BST

"Admittedly the beer may have influenced my assessment, writes Martin Kuzmicki, "but this was fundamentally a usual England tournament performance - Rooney disappointing (that corner alone should stop all talk of 'world class'), defensive mistakes for goals, not beating a good team. The only difference is that they were not as abject as last time round against the Italians."

Rooney wasn't anything like England's worst player, I'd not say - better than Baines, Johnson, Gerrard and perhaps Henderson. But disagree that it was typical England - they played without fear, as though they actually wanted to be there, and that gave them a very different energy.

7.44am BST

And how good is Brazil; that's another statement. It's just such a country, and the effect on the competition just couldn't be clearer - everyone is just in a superb mood. Just look at how good the goal celebrations have been (England aside, of course).

7.39am BST

Anyway, how good is football; that's a statement. But really, how very, very good - in some ways, too good for its own good, so wonderfully good as to ensure its exploitation, and then to ensure its toleratation in name of more majestic goodness. It's so good.

7.35am BST

First email of the day, with David Wall."I expect there will be a lot of people complain, looking for a scapegoat, etc after the game last night, but I was pleasantly surprised. England had lots of attacking intent and retained possession pretty well in general. That is, they did exactly what everyone had been calling for them to do. Even if they end up losing all of their games I'd not be as disappointed as in past tournaments if they continue to play like that. It might be their best in-tournament performance for a decade, they just met a very good side in the first game rather than the quarter-final."

Johnson-Cahill-Jagielka-Baines;I don't think England had a choice but to attack. They played ok, I'd say - but how many of the players had good games? Two, three? I'd say Cahill, and then Sterling and Welbeck if we're being generous - both looked dangerous, neither threatened as much as you'd like, especially in that last 20 minutes. But yep, it wasn't bad.

7.31am BST

Talking of beauty, here's some more. A scenario: England lose to Uruguay, narrowly. Italy beat Costa Rica. Needing to be sure of winning the group, Italy then beat Uruguay, and England scrounge a 2-0 against Costa Rica, to finish second in the group, with three points! You'd have to admire that, both for its own sake and its poetic perfection.

7.24am BST

Insight with Andy Cole.This is just so exceptionally magnificent. Five questions, three don't knows, one Messi and one Brazil. Beautiful. Ex to tha clusive.

7.14am BST

Football. Football football football. Football, football, football, football-football, football. Football football football football football football, foot'ball. Football football football football football football football football football football football football football football football football football football football football football. Football, football, football, football, football. Football-football-football. Football3. Football. Football. Football. Football. Football. Football. Football. Football. Football. Football. Football. Football. Football. Football. Football. Football. Football. Football. Football. Football. Football. Football. Football. Football.

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Samaras Pledges Social Relief, Not More Austerity

Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras has repeated his pledge to never again impose austerity measures – although cuts are being made to pensions in some cases – and said instead he will move toward cutting taxes and providing relief for those most affected by big pay cuts, tax hikes, slashed pensions and worker firings. “The major changes come step by step, not suddenly,” he said in an interview with the Sunday To Vima newspaper. He promised to accelerate social reforms he said “will bring competitiveness and dynamic growth of the economy” and reverse injustices. “Forget the elections,” he said, referring to the May 25 defeat of his New Democracy Conservatives to the major opposition Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) which won more seats in the European Parliament. The Leftists said they want early national elections but he has rejected it. He said a tax cut plan would be ready by the middle of autumn but he didn’t specify what it would be. Samaras repeated his insistence the economy, battered by seven years of recession, is on the road to recovery and that the still-crushing 315 billion euro ($430 billion) debt will be sustainable by the next decade. Greece is surviving on what’s left of two bailouts of 240 billion euros ($327 billion) from the Troika of the European Union-International Monetary Fund-European Central Bank (EU-IMF-ECB) that began four years ago, and most of which run out this year. “As long as we meet our targets and are standing on our own feet then we would be able to promote our own reform agenda and not only what the Troika recommends,” said Samaras, clarifying that there will be no additional austerity measures. “We are examining a series of interventions that are all necessary, most of them will surprise and will bring relief. However, they must be realistic and based on the results of the current State Budget. Some of these interventions will be applied within the next six months” he said. He didn’t mention what the government will do about overcoming a court order that it must repay the military, emergency services, police and other uniformed officers 500 million euros in back pay after reductions to their salaries under austerity was declared unconstitutional. There are other similar orders facing the government, including restoration of pension lump sums slashed as much as 38 percent, and which were also declared unconstitutional because the money was taken from workers pay checks to be put aside for their retirement, and not for the government to touch. Greece now is heading toward asking the Troika for debt relief, although while the lenders have been open to talking about lowering interest and lengthening the repayment period they have ruled out a so-called “haircut,” in which Greece woudl walk away from a big chunk of what it owes. That would force the taxpayers in the other 17 Eurozone countries to pay the tab for generations of wild overspending of Samaras’ New Democracy Conservatives and his coalition partner, the PASOK Socialists, who hired hundreds of thousands of needless workers in return for votes. It Greece gets a break, Samaras said he could then try to restore jobs, with 1.4 million people out of work during record unemployment and deep poverty worsened by austerity he supported. He said Greece’s cost of borrowing would then drop too if the government can stiff public investors the way it did to those in the private sector, including the Greek Diaspora, who took a 74 percent hit two years ago. Samaras said his government will stay the course until the scheduled 2016 elections. “I believe that we will complete our four-year tenure. This ‘game’ must come to an end. Governments to be elected with mandate to govern for four years and not to exceed two years! This should happen only in emergency conditions,” he said. SYRIZA could move to force the elections if it can get enough support in the Parliament to block the naming of the next symbolic Greek President but Samaras said he has enough backing to overcome the rivals. “The government’s majority is more ‘comfortable’ now than it was a few months ago. This means that we also have improved the political stability and with the continuous improvement of the situations, I believe that we will have and a Presidential majority in March,” next year he said. The coalition had only a three-vote majority in the 300-member Parliament but several former PASOK lawmakers are planning to return to the party. Referring to main opposition SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras, the premier said: “He is a young man and speaks an outdated language. He returns to stereotypes and obsessions swept away by history. And he wants to return the country to the …ice age”.


It’s The End Of The World: Greece Lost 0-3 To Colombia

If you were an outsider sitting in one of the crowded coffee shops of Ampelokipi after Saturday’s game, you would think that a major disaster had hit Greece. The atmosphere was all sullen faces and sad remarks. Listening to some comments was like listening to victims reporting a natural catastrophe. Someone even suggested the Greek team should pack their bags and leave Brazil now. After the initial bitterness, anger showed its distorted face. Yes, a lot of people had high hopes for the national team’s showing in the 2014 World Cup and, yes, a loss in the opening game with such a wide score was a disappointment, but losing a game is part of that wonderful sport we call soccer. For most Greeks though, a loss is out of the question. Later on curiosity took the best of me and I tuned in to a sports radio station where listeners were calling in. The general feeling of the comments was almost the same: That’s it, we’re worthless and we can’t have a decent showing in the fields of Brazil. The 2004 European Cup was an once-in-a-lifetime miracle that will never be repeated. The players went there as tourists. Greek soccer is decades behind and we might as well stop watching the national team. Those were only some of the comments. Us Greeks get easily disappointed. Thank God we get enthusiastic as easily. For most of us, the line between enthusiasm and disaster is a very thin one. Had we won Colombia, the eleven men in the team would be hailed as top players, heroes, semi-gods. After the defeat, they were just a bunch of losers, indifferent and incompetent, some guys who went to Brazil to show their new tattoos and fancy haircuts (I heard that too). We do that with our politicians, too. One day we worship them as saviors and the next we want to see them lining up in front of the firing squad. We can travel the length of the emotional range with ultrasonic speed. And during the trip, somehow we forget that there is the other team playing too, and if the other team plays better, they will win. Somehow, we forget that losing a soccer game is not the end of the world.


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Samaras Vows Relief, Not Austerity

Greeks battered by austerity can now look forward to tax cuts and other measures to reverse social injustices the measures caused, Prime Minister Antonis Samaras has pledged.

The post Samaras Vows Relief, Not Austerity appeared first on The National Herald.


WSJ Says IMF Owes Greece An Apology

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World Cup match report: Colombia 3, Greece 0

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Fifa World Cup 2014: as it happened, Saturday June 14 2014 World Cup 2014: as it happened, Saturday June 14 • Colombia v Greece - live at 5pm BST! • Uruguay v Costa Rica - live at 8pm BST! • England v Italy - live from 8pm BST! • Ivory Coast v Japan - live at 2am BST! • Like Telegraph Sport on Facebook • Sign up for Henry Winter's free World Cup Daily email ...Prandelli blasts 'absurd' lack of time-outsTimes of IndiaItaly high on Balotelli's header, beat England 2-1 in gripping matchHindustan TimesSteven Gerrard would have won a penalty if he'd been wearing yellow shirt ...Daily MailIrish Independent -The Guardian -Sydney Morning Heraldall 3,615 news articles »


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After Italian flop, Honda finds World Cup magic at right moment _ but Japan fail

by  Associated Press Japan's Honda finds magic _ but Blue Samurai fail by JOJI SAKURAI, Associated Press - 15 June 2014 00:22-04:00

RECIFE, Brazil (AP) — It seemed like a perfect way to redeem a half-year of frustration.

The roar Japan's star striker Keisuke Honda let out after putting his team ahead against Ivory Coast in the 16th minute with a beautifully poised left-footed strike appeared to be a release from the derision he suffered this year in his new role as AC Milan's No. 10.

Honda came to the World Cup with something to prove — and the goal he scored showed he still has the lethal touches that made him such a presence with his old club CSKA Moscow.

For Japan, it was a shame that the rest of the team couldn't find the inspiration that inhabited their talismanic player. Ivory Coast kept muscling forward, and something had to give for a Japanese side that showed uncharacteristic sloppiness in its passing. Two strikes early in the second half gave Ivory Coast a 2-1 lead that they kept till the final whistle.

Japan's other star — Manchester United's Shinji Kagawa — was particularly ineffective on Saturday. Anemic in attack, he sprayed passes early in the first half and gave away chances that Japan was lucky not to be punished for.

But Japan can find a measure of consolation in the fact that their best player appears now to have found his form just in time for football's greatest stage.

If the Asians can regroup from defeat in their first match, they still have an outside chance of getting through to the knockout stages. Two victories would put them through, and they have the talent and the depth to beat their next opponents Greece and Colombia.

But Saturday's performance also exposed mental lapses that the Japanese will need to address if they are to have any chance of making it through.

"We need to change our mentality," Japan goalkeeper Eiji Kawashima conceded after the loss. "It's tough to accept defeat in the first match. We just need to give everything for the next match."

News Topics: Sports, 2014 FIFA World Cup, FIFA World Cup, Men's soccer, Soccer, Professional soccer, International soccer, Events, Men's sports

People, Places and Companies: Keisuke Honda, Shinji Kagawa, Eiji Kawashima, Japan, Brazil, East Asia, Asia, South America, Latin America and Caribbean

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Defeat by Colombia is no Greek drama says coach Santos

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Ivory Coast v Japan: World Cup 2014 live!

World Cup Group C updates live in RecifeAll the latest standings, results, fixtures and more And you can email

3.58am BST

It's all over. The Ivory Coast come from one goal down to overhaul Japan in what was a very watchable match. All it took was two headers in two minutes. Japan will be disappointed. They seemed in control for so long. But once they went behind they seemed to lack the energy and wit to grab an equaliser.

Mark O'Donnell is back to close out the coverage: "I got the score wrong but it's been another cracking game, glad I stayed up for it. Japan just seemed to fade away in the second half. Anyway, it's definitely time for bed now..."

3.53am BST

90 min + 4: Ya is down again, moments after coming back on. He's carried off between two sturdy shoulders. And he no sooner clears the sideline than the referee ends the match.

3.52am BST

90 min + 4: Japan again go long but there's no plan behind it. And again, the Ivory Coast deal with it comfortably. It's looking like Ivory Coast's night as the clock ticks past the four extra minutes...

3.50am BST

90 min + 3: A lengthy stoppage is endured before Japan knock it long in hope. But Drogba wins possession and runs clear.

3.49am BST

90 min + 2: Four minutes of additional time, as Ya sits on the deck, glistening with sweat, worrying over his knee.

3.48am BST

90 min: The Ivory Coast take a couple of corners that they don't seem too interested in knocking into the middle. But their attempts to hold the ball up results in a goal kick to Japan.

3.47am BST

89 min: Don't rule out Japan just yet, says Kalim Quadri. "They've recently been scoring goals at the death. Usually good levels of fitness but they all seem a bit leggy out there."

They better get a wriggle on... and now Kalou forces Kawashima to tip his angled shot out for a corner.

3.45am BST

87 min: An explosion of action! First Barry punches a Japanese cross into midfield, then Gervinho sets off at pace down the central corridor. He attempts a one-two but his one is better than the two and an opportunity goes begging.

3.43am BST

85 min: Drogba nearly seals it! From a Kalou incursion on the right, Drogba is found all by his lonesome on the left-edge of the box. He has time to line it up and hit it sweetly but a desperate Japanese leg thrown in front of it (still attached to the body it belongs to, just to be clear) does enough to deflect it wide.

3.40am BST

83 min: Playing something like 2-5-3 at the moment, the Ivory Coast are playing keepings off. Japan are struggling to get the ball here.

3.39am BST

80 min: Uchida, Honda and Kagawa move the ball around the egde of the Ivory Coast box but the Elephants are back in numbers and a clean shot can't be found.

Up the other end all of a sudden and a foul 30-yards out, in centre field, gives the Ivory Coast a free kick. Drogba takes it and it's headed to the top right corner but Kawashima pushes it wide without too much bother.

3.36am BST

79 min: Japan seem a little muted here, particularly since they are a goal down. The humidity could be a factor, but perhaps they are gathering their strength for one last push. Only ten to go.

3.35am BST

77 min: A hurried shot from distance by Yaya Toure threatens not. With the ball out of play, Bony is substituted for Konan Ya. With that goal under his belt, the Swansea man will be pretty happy about how his night turned out.

3.33am BST

76 min: Bernardo Sousa reporting live from the Ivory Coast. "The mood here is the same as ever: Drogba is the sole [player] responsible for this turn around. His aura, his bravery, his attitude. Everything about Drogba is sanctified. No coincidences here!" Methinks you have a man crush.

3.31am BST

74 min: Ivory Coast substitution: Boka off for Djakpa.

3.30am BST

72 min: Boka has been carried off with a knock of some description, and now Uchida is called off-side just as he gets on the end of a long raking pass.

3.28am BST

71 min: Rob Richardson is very happy ("Drogba! Drogba! Drogba! etc) while David Healey has made up his mind which team to support in this one: "After careful consideration I've decided I want Japan to win because they've got at least one player in normal black football boots.

"I've just read that back and dear me what an old codger I've become. Also, I'm clearly a massive jinx!"

3.27am BST

69 min: And so the game has been turned on its head! Ever since Drogba came on, in fact. Not that he had anything to with the Ivory Coast goals but it can't just be a coincidence can it?

3.25am BST

Crikey! The Ivory Coast are in front! In an almost carbon copy of the last goal, Aurier, fed by Gervinho, sent in another testing cross. This time it was Gervinho who got of the end of it, his header finding the bottom right corner. Kawashima was there at the near post, but the ball bounced through his hands. He should have had that.

3.22am BST

Aurier, who's having a great night, curls in a wicked, Beckham-esque cross and Bony, wasteful up until now, holds off Morishige to thump home a header!

3.20am BST

62 min: Substitution Ivory Coast: Drogba on for Serey... so not Bony, who is reprieved.

And immediately he causes trouble for Japan, his back-heel to Gervinho in the Japanese box creating havoc. But no goal.

3.18am BST

60 min: It's a bit scrappy here with both teams losing possession left, right and centre.

3.16am BST

57 min: Classic Yaya! He races forward and into the box like a train out of a tunnel, using his strength to keep Yoshida at bay. But the ball gets tangled under his feet, and he then falls and rolls a few more times than was necessary.

Moments later, another Bony glancing header has too much glance on it. Drogba must be on soon.

3.13am BST

55 min: Honda and Endo stand over the ball and have a long and satisfying chat about life, the universe and everything. They should have discussed what to do with the free-kick, however, because it's wasted.

3.11am BST

54 min: Japan substitution: Captain Hasebe off, Endo on.

And now Okazaki is fouled by Bamba a foot across the knee just outside the Ivory Coast box.

3.10am BST

53 min: "Yaya Toure seems to be stuck in third gear," says the commentator, perhaps forgetting that's his default position.

3.09am BST

51 min: Zach Neely has an answer on that bib issue: "Regarding Van Persie, FIFA by-law 1301.5(b) clearly states that 'Raymond Reardon is wasting his life.'"

3.07am BST

49 min: Japan get numbers forward and Hasebe tries to catch Barry off guard with a shot from the left edge of the D but he drags it wide.

3.06am BST

46 min: Kagawa slides in to hook a ball from the feet of Serey on the Ivory Coast byline. He gets up to shoot but it was over the line.

Up the other end and Bony misses an excellent chance! Aurier's cross is deflected but finds Bony anyway. Perhaps the slight deflection threw him off but his unopposed header hits his left ear and the ball flies wide of the right post. Not the happiest game for Bony so far.

3.03am BST

Here we go! The Ivory Coast win early possession as we note that Bony has not been pulled (sorry) for Drogba as some have anticipated.

3.02am BST

They are coming back onto the pitch and Japan get into a huddle, obviously working out who's going to take the kick-off.

2.57am BST

Raymond Reardon is still thinking about yesterday's Socceroos-Chile match. "On the subject of the fabulous flying dutchman Robin van Persie, after being substituted in the 79th minute he re-entered the playing field without his FIFA allocated bib to help celebrate Arjen Robben's 80th minute goal," he says, warming up. "In Aussie Rules a team captain can call for a count of players and if it exceeds the maximum allowed then the opposition's total score is annulled at that point in time. What is the position in regard to FIFA world cup matches?"


2.53am BST

Rob Richardson is also intrigued by the background sounds. "Watching from Brooklyn New York," he says. "What in the world is that sound in the background? I hear drums. But I also hear a sound that sounds like bees being swung in a hammock. What does it sound like from Australia?"

From here? More like wasps in a sock, I'd say Rob. Could be the Coriolis effect at play. Or something.

2.47am BST

A very enjoyable half of football that, with opportunities for both teams.

2.46am BST

44 min: Some nice interplay by the Ivory Coast Aurier, Gervinho, Yaya finds the Machester City hero in space but his shot-on-the-turn from the six-yard box is blocked. Kawashima then makes a regulation save from a follow-up speculator.

2.43am BST

42 min: As Kalou nurses a sore thigh, Richard Ashton wonders if he is falling into a trance. "Oddly hypnotic sound from these drums and shakers in the crowd (although the fact it's 2.30 and I have work in the morning may also have something to do with the trance-like state I'm slipping into)."

2.42am BST

41 min: The pattern here seems to involve Japan sitting back and striking on the counter. Some of the Ivory Coast players seem to have the turning circle of semi-trailers, so it's not a bad ploy.

2.40am BST

39 min: Oh Gareth, Bony goes close! Serey digs out a cross and Bony meets it near the penalty spot but he miscues his volley and it goes high and wide. Coulda, woulda, shoulda.

2.39am BST

37 min: Gareth Morris Jones is watching form Japan. "I'm torn," he says. "I'm a Swansea boy watching from my sofa in Osaka. Perhaps my ideal result is a Bony hat-trick in a game he ultimately loses. I'm enjoying your updates- I struggle to follow the Japanese commentary..."

2.37am BST

35 min: End to end stuff. Honda goes on a mazy dribble and finds room for a shot but it's deflected for a corner, which comes to nothing.

2.36am BST

34 min: The Ivory Coast are getting on top here and Bony angles a pass ahead of Gervinho but his early shot is blocked by Bamba for a corner.

The corner is cleared and Boka, from about 30-yards, hammers it back and Kawashima is forced into a diving save! That would have been some goal. Bony goes for the rebound by he's offside.

2.32am BST

30 min: And misses. But it was a much closer thing. This time he went for the top right corner and the curl was there to take it past Kawashima, but it was a tad too high. Not sure if Kawashima would have saved that had it been a couple of inches lower.

2.31am BST

29 min: Gervinho in space now and, as he gets into a good shooting position, Osako clatters into the back of him. Yaya lines up another free kick a few metres outside the D...

2.30am BST

26 min: Yaya cries out for a penalty for hand-ball, but it's not given. A ball to hand thing. Yaya had skipped down the left, Hasebe hauled him in, and as Yaya attempted to get by him with a little chip it hit Hasebe's hand, which was by his side.

2.28am BST

25 min: It's calmed down a little now, giving me time to note that moments after Simon McMahon posted his concern that this could be the first 0-0 draw of the tournament, Japan scored. "I did that deliberately," he said in a follow-up email.

2.25am BST

23 min: ... but Yaya's shot clears the bar and sails into the crowd.

2.24am BST

21 min: It's all Japan now... but as I speak, Dia wins possession in the midfield and gallops through the central channel like a thoroughbred. As he approaches the D and attempts to jink around Yoshida, the defender brings him down. He gets a yellow, and the Ivory Coast get a free kick in a great position.

2.22am BST

19 min: Now Japan are threatening, and Uchida almost gets Japan another! Motoring down the right, he skips past Serey, shapes on his left and shoots. But Barry gets down to his left to keep it out.

How quickly momentum has shifted.

2.19am BST

All of a sudden Japan have the lead! A short corner is whipped across to Honda just inside the box and with more time than he should ever have had, he leathers a left-foot firecracker past Barry's right glove into the top left corner!

2.17am BST

15 min: Okazaki wins a near post header and attempts to glance it into the far corner but he doesn't hit it cleanly enough. But the Ivory Coast have to clear for another corner.

2.15am BST

14 min: Okazaki, leaping for a midfield header, is collected by Zokora in a heavy knock. He looks a little ginger, as you would be. Zokora has some heft.

From the free kick Japan threaten down the left but Aurier is there to clean up for a corner. Honda takes it...

2.14am BST

13 min: Japan have just not got themselves into this game as yet. They are finding it hard to penetrate into the final third. There's a wall of orange shirts blocking their way. And now the rain starts to fall.

2.12am BST

10 min: Honda and Osako try to fashion a cross from the right but, under pressure, Osako loses the ball over the byline before Barry needs to worry about an incoming threat.

2.09am BST

8 min: Japan sitting back now as the Ivory Coast knock it from side to side. They've started well the Ivorians.

2.08am BST

6 min: Just wide from Bony! Gervinho scoots down the right wing, feeds Bony in the box but his shot is deflected just wide! The Ivory Coast maintain possession from the corner, and already their physicality is putting Japan under pressure.

2.06am BST

5 min: Aurier whips in another cross, in Bony's direction, but it misses everyone and rolls out for a throw in. The Ivory Coast with the early running.

2.05am BST

3 min: A forward foray from the Ivory Coast, with Yaya strolling through the midfield before an attempted header by Gervinho from a cross from Aurier (I think) is cleared away for a corner. Nothing comes of it.

2.03am BST

2 min: Kagawa threads through a defence splitting pass but it's overhit and Barry picks it up as casually as you'd expect for someone called Barry.

2.02am BST

1 min: Japan string together a few nerve settling passes as we hear that the Ivory Coast have scored13 goals in their last five games without Drogba.

2.01am BST

The Elephants get us under way!

1.59am BST

Simon McMahon congratulates me for bagging the best game of the tournament so far. "I'm really looking forward to this one," he says. "3-2 to Japan I'm going for. Although what that means for England I'm not entirely sure."

This game will be the last thing on England's mind round about now.

1.56am BST

Here they come, Japan in all blue, the Ivory Coast in all orange. Or is it tangerine?

A man in the crowd is holding up a scarf that says "1000%" Elephants. That takes the standard "110%" and blitzes it.

1.53am BST

And for the sake of even-handedness, here he is again keying out Japans national anthem. As you can hear, its a rather more sombre piece. Unlike his polo and check shorts combo.

1.52am BST

They'll be sauntering out in a bit. The ref will grab the ball off the plinth, an utterly pointless piece of theatre, and then we'll get the anthems.

Here's the Ivory Coast anthem played on a piano quite well (to my untrained ear) by a bloke in an aqua polo and check shorts.

1.51am BST

All this talk of coffee makes me want one. Not that I need help to stay awake. I'm in Melbourne, and it's approaching 11am. An utterly civilised time to watch football. But there are clouds ahead for me. Two 2am Socceroos kick-offs coming up. 2am. Do you stay up? Do you attempt a few hours' kip? A troublesome time, as those in the UK will be currently appreciating.

1.47am BST

Mark O'Donnell is also thinking of stimulating beverages. "It's strong coffee time," he says. "ITV are doing a great job of building up to this intriguing match-up between Africa and Asia by talking about England.

"I fancy Japan to cause a few surprises, they won all their warm-ups including a 3-1 win over that handy Costa Rica side and last year they beat Belgium 3-2 in Brussels. I fancy Japan to win 2-1 tonight."

1.45am BST

Alex and Sian are staying up for this one. "You lovely Guardian chaps have been nice enough to give quite a bit of love to Panini Cheapskates (stingy married couple attempt to fill Panini album with home-made stickers) in the last couple of days," says Alex. "In case it's of any use to you, here's a wee Keisuke Honda and a little Gervinho for your delectation. Ta! Hope you've got a coffee on." Thanks, Alex. It's almost like a photograph, isn't it?

Time for #CIVvsJPN ... Honda looks pensive. Gervinho looks like nothing else on planet Earth.

1.42am BST

And how about Yaya? He's alright, too:

1.39am BST

The hope is for some open play today, and plenty of goals. On that front, heres a taste of Okazaki.

1.37am BST

The teams:

Ivory Coast: Barry, Boka, Zokora, Kalou, Tiote, Gervinho, Bony, Aurier, Y.Toure, Serey, Bamba. SUBS: Diarrassouba, K Touré, Bolly, Akpa-Akpro, Drogba, Ya Konan, Diomand, Gradel, Gbohouo, Djakpa, Sio, Mandé

1.33am BST

Time for something a little less salient.

Did you know, asks Francois, that as a teenager Drogba was banned from playing football for a year by his parents after failing school exams? At the age of five he travelled to Brittany to stay with his uncle Michel Goba, who was a professional footballer, and did not see his parents again until he return back home three years later.

1.30am BST

And heres François Kouakou on the Ivory Coasts tactical set-up, as well as these few answers to some key questions:

Gervinho. He may have been a flop at Arsenal but the man with a suitably Brazilian-sounding nickname will arrive at the World Cup in dazzling form following his superb season with Roma. Explosive and penetrative, he can trouble any defence.

1.27am BST

So, you want a little more on our combatants today? Dont look at me, I just work here. Best, I think, to leave you in the hands of some authorties from the Guardian Experts Network series: Ben Mabley and François Kouakou.

Heres Ben on Japans transformation under Zaccheroni. And heres his take on a few salient questions.

Who is the player who is going to surprise everyone at the World Cup?

Japan may still lack a top-class goalscorer, but they don't necessarily need one as long as the striker facilitates those just behind him. As he showed against Holland, Yuya Osako can be that man. The 23-year-old sometimes flattered to deceive during his first four years at Kashima Antlers and was dropped from the Japan squad for the London Olympics. But 19 J-League goals in 2013 earned him a chance at the East Asian Cup, before that excellent performance against Holland where he combined so well with Honda, Kagawa, and Okazaki. A January move to the Bundesliga second tier appeared risky six months ahead of the World Cup, but Osako has been a regular performer for mid-table 1860 Munich, top scoring with six goals in just 15 appearances.

The clear issue is in defence, but since expectations there are so low as a result, it probably would not count as a disappointment if the back line imploded. As a colleague at JSports recently pointed out, Honda may be the absolute central player to whom injury would be most devastating, but because he is such a consistent performer, Japan's fortunes actually depend more on the form of Shinji Kagawa. It is vital for the side's attacking fluency that the former Borussia Dortmund star is confident and on his game. There is little point in Honda pulling all the strings in midfield if Kagawa is moping about his difficult season at Old Trafford and cannot exert similar levels of influence.

1.02am BST

Hello there. After Colombia romped home against Greece to get Group C up and running some eight hours ago, its time for the second Group C fixture, this one between the Ivory Coast and Japan, teams whove played each other only three times in history. The head-to-head? For what its worth about 15c (or 8p) Japan lead 2-1, although their last meeting, in 2010, was a 2-0 win to Les Éléphants, which, if my French is right, translates as The Elephants. What can I say, some people are just good with languages.

1.00am BST

Paul will be here shortly.

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