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BRAZIL BEAT: Fears eased on Curitiba flooding

June 13, 2014
Associated Press

SAO PAULO (AP) — Fears that flooding could affect games in Brazil's southern city of Curitiba have abated.

Adriana Kreush, a spokeswoman for Curitiba's City Halls, said Friday the Arena da Baixada stadium, hotels and tourist sites are far away from the rivers that overflowed their banks and that "nothing is stopping the games from being held there as scheduled."

Forecasters have said rain is not expected when the stadium hosts its first World Cup match June 16, with Iran facing Nigeria.

Earlier this week, the floods caused the water flow of world-renowned Iguazu Fall on the border of Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay to increase nearly 30-fold, from 1,500 cubic meters per second to 43,000 meters per second, topping the previous record of 36,000 set in 1992.

— By Stan Lehman



CUIABA, Brazil (AP) — About 15,000 Australia fans have made the 9,000-mile trip to Brazil to cheer on their country in the World Cup, despite grisly predictions that the team — the lowest-ranked in the tournament — will lose all three group matches against Spain, the Netherlands and Chile.

The streets around the Arena Pantanal in Cuiaba were awash with Australian green and gold Thursday hours before the Socceroos' opening game against Chile. It was quite a sight, especially with Brazil football fans wearing the same colors also joining in the pre-match party.

"That's their colors, too?" joked Australia fan Craig Bellamy, 50, whose journey from Newcastle, Sydney, comprised two 14-hour flights. "I just thought they were supporting Australia!"

Holding an Australia flag behind his shoulders and with fireworks exploding in the distance, Bellamy said: "It's unreal. It's been a trip of a lifetime — so far."

— By Steve Douglas —



SALVADOR, Brazil (AP) — Canada had rare representation at the World Cup in Friday's rematch between the Netherlands and Spain.

Toronto-born midfielder Jonathan de Guzman was in the starting lineup for the Dutch, one of coach Louis van Gaal's key components for trying to stymie the title holder's quick-touch possession game.

The Canadian national team has appeared just once at the World Cup — in 1986, when it lost all three of its group matches against the Soviet Union, France and Hungary without scoring a goal.

At Salvador's Arena Fonte Nova, several Canadian flags could even be spotted amid the orange jerseys of the Dutch fans.

De Guzman is also familiar with Spain's players, having played at Spanish clubs Mallorca and Villarreal previously.

— By Paul Logothetis —



RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Directly across the street from Rio's famed Maracana Stadium, the owner of Rio Bebidas, a store selling beer by Brazilian beverage giant Ambev, ordered his workers to cover up the store sign.

The employees weren't sure why, but they suspected it might have something to do with World Cup sponsorship rules — and the Coca-Cola sunshades that went up on the neighboring restaurants.

— By Jenny Barchfield —



SAO PAULO (AP) — U.S. central defender Matt Besler made a point to move toward his hotel room window to witness the pandemonium.

He got a quick lesson on just how much soccer means to the fanatical Brazilians, who beat Croatia 3-1 on Thursday to kick off their home World Cup.

"I was up in my room for the second half and I had my window cracked open a little bit," Besler said Friday as the U.S. prepared to travel to Natal for its Monday opener against Ghana. "When Brazil scored those two goals in the second half and again on the final whistle, I heard the entire city of Sao Paulo roar. It gave me chills. It was just so cool. I was watching on my TV and I saw the ref blow the final whistle and then the two-second delay, I heard an eruption in the city. The energy of the country, it's finally here."

For one night, at least, most of the Americans allowed themselves to sit back and enjoy the game for the moment it was.

"Part of us were watching as soccer players and professionals trying to scout a little bit certain teams, but a lot of us, we were watching as fans," Besler said. "We really felt like this whole thing kicked off, because it did."

— By Janie McCauley —



BERLIN (AP) — A German football club's stadium has been turned into a huge "living room" for fans to watch the World Cup on a giant screen from the comfort of their very own sofas.

Union Berlin, which plays in the second division, invited fans to place their couches on its Alte Foersterei pitch for the duration of the tournament in Brazil, or at least as long as Germany is still in it.

Organizer Gerald Ponesky says he got the idea "to give football a home."

The pitch is covered in sofas - 780 are registered for around 3,000 fans - each flanked by a desk and atmospheric lamp. Another 9,000 supporters can watch games from the surrounding stands, which have been decorated with wallpaper to create a cozy World Cup atmosphere.

Covers are provided in case it rains.



SALVADOR, Brazil (AP) — Locals were taking to Salvador's streets before Friday's Spain-Netherlands match — not to protest the World Cup, but to play football.

Police were redirecting traffic away from the Arena Fonte Nova stadium, so choking gridlock gave way to several kilometers of empty streets used only by FIFA-accredited vehicles.

With all that pavement to spare, locals set up impromptu games along the road.

It was mostly children playing in bare feet, occasionally pausing to let vehicles through and wave on visitors.

— By Paul Logothetis —


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:



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