FORTALEZA, Brazil (AP) — Their capes and mariachi outfits now looking a little rumpled, there are Mexican fans still celebrating in Fortaleza a day after their team held the hosts 0-0.
After the match, Mexico supporters flocked to the beachfront in this northeast city, joining Brazilians in rollicking festivities around the Fan Fest, generator-powered roadside food stalls, and makeshift alcohol stands where the drinks are kept cool in Styrofoam boxes.
At Habib’s Restaurant, offering a mixture of local and Middle Eastern food, Brazil and Mexico fans laughed, danced, and posed for photographs into the wee hours as they took turns singing insults to each other, with staff joining in.
The visitors chanted “Messi, Messi, Messico!” taunting the Brazilians with the name of Argentine star Lionel Messi. The locals responded with the national anthem.
One rowdy Mexican dressed in an embroidered folk costume was lifted off a table by a security guard, but they later hugged one another and the celebrations resumed.
A city of about 2.5 million, Fortaleza has delighted in seeing foreign visitors. A taxi driver might snap a selfie with his customers if their home country sounds exotic.
- By Derek Gatopoulos – http://www.twitter.com/dgatopoulos
DUBLIN (AP) – Ireland didn’t qualify for the World Cup, and it’s not faring so well in the broadcasting department either.
The country’s most outspoken football commentator, Eamon Dunphy, let the nation know what he really thought – live on national broadcaster RTE – before the Brazil-Mexico match.
And no, Dunphy had no idea he was on air. He blamed the rain-soaked field and team nerves for Brazil’s lackluster opening-night performance.
“The pitch was a (bleeping) bog,” Dunphy declared to his fellow panelists as the RTE host, Bill O’Herlihy, tried to talk over his R-rated language.
Dunphy, undaunted, kept going as though he was having a private chat in a Dublin pub.
“When Neymar was shaping up to take that penalty, I thought he was (bleeping) dreading it,” he declared.
This time, O’Herlihy gasped to get his attention.
“We’re not on air?” a flustered Dunphy asked, covering his mouth with a hand.
That stunned moment, capped by a rushed O’Herlihy apology for the “inexactitude” of Dunphy’s commentary, is the top item Wednesday on Irish social media.
- By Shawn Pogatchnik – http://www.twitter.com/ShawnPogatchnik
RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) – The game started way before kickoff at the Maracana for the boisterous red-shirted Chile fans who have taken over Rio de Janeiro the last few days.
A good five hours before their team took on world champion Spain in Group B, hundreds kicked a ball around on a street right next to the World Cup’s showcase stadium.
The game involved booting a football as high as you can and waiting for it to plummet down and bounce before the next person sends it swirling high into the sky again, sometimes rebounding off apartment windows and balcony ledges.
Meanwhile, the chants went up: “Chi… Chi… Chile! Chi… Chi… Chile!”
At one point, a police truck pulled up, apparently halting the fun. No matter, the Chileans swiftly changed tactics and began kicking the ball back and forth over the truck to smiles from the officers in black uniforms inside the vehicle.
Buoyed by an opening 3-1 win over Australia, Chile’s supporters have sights set on a place in the second round and extending their fun and games in Brazil. They’ve been noticeable for partying in big numbers on Copacabana beach over the past couple of days and challenging other supporters to sing-offs.
“Chi… Chi… Chile!”
- By Gerald Imray – http://www.twitter.com/GeraldImrayAP
PORTO ALEGRE, Brazil (AP) – Tim Cahill, whose perfectly timed volley tied underdog Australia’s game against the Netherlands, is one of a record 22 Major League Soccer players in the World Cup.
That’s well below the 119 that play in England, according to the European Club Association, but up big from the six in the 2010 tournament.
MLS had 19 players at the 1998 World Cup.
Clint Dempsey of the Seattle Sounders scored 30 seconds in for the U.S. in its opener Monday, and Brazil goalie Julio Cesar of Toronto FC had several big saves in Tuesday’s 0-0 draw against Mexico.
The 22 includes the recent signing of Spain’s David Villa by expansion New York City FC.
Cahill, who plays for the New York Red Bulls, won’t be available in Australia’s final group stage match against Spain after picking up his second yellow card of the tournament Wednesday.
PORTO ALEGRE, Brazil (AP) – The Dutch royal family is turning Porto Alegre’s Estadio Beira-Rio into a house of orange.
King Willem-Alexander and his wife Maxima were in Brazil for Wednesday’s match between the Netherlands and Australia in the southern city.
It’s a riot of color.
The sports-loving royals joined thousands of orange-clad Dutch fans at the stadium and thousands more Australians in their team’s green and gold.
It is almost a home game for Maxima, who was born and grew up in neighboring Argentina.
Willem-Alexander and Maxima are regulars at sporting events like the Olympics when Dutch teams play. The king was a member of the International Olympic Committee before he ascended to the throne as head of the Dutch royal family, the House of Orange, last year.
- By Mike Corder – http://www.twitter.com/mikecorder
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