World cup 2014
World Cup Diary

World Cup diary: Queen of Belgium can't tell Lukaku and Origi apart

Embarrassing moment for her Maj and Chelsea striker, who's not enjoying his World Cup so far

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 24 June, 2014, 1:17am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 24 June, 2014, 6:56am

It's not been a great World Cup for Belgium's Romelu Lukaku.

Having arrived in Brazil after another impressive season on loan, and sounding off to all and sundry about how Chelsea better be ready to make him their first-choice striker, Lukaku has been subbed off in both the Red Devils' games at the tournament so far after anonymous performances. He wasn't best pleased the other day:

Lukaku's been replaced by teenager Divock Origi after less than an hour in both games. Such is the moronic fickle nature of football fans that many who were deriding Chelsea for sending the striker out on loan to Everton last season are now all but suggesting he's finished.

Nonsense of course, but Lukaku could certainly use a goal in Belgium's final group game against South Korea (and given the way they defended against Algeria, that's not unlikely).

But at least one person's still a fan as this video of the Queen of Belgium congratulating him for scoring the winner against Russia shows. Unfortunately, Lukaku didn't score the winner, it was Origi.

It's in French with Dutch titles, but it's pretty clear what's happening - Lukaku sheepishly pointing Mathilde in Origi's direction is clear in any language. The original story is here in Dutch.

WATCH: Belgium's Queen Mathilde gets confused - video:

Tennis reporters determined to ask about the football

Wimbledon is on, which means only one thing: stunningly inane questions in press conferences.

Players at the tournament are well used by now to reporters' determination to ask them about anything except tennis. What with the World Cup on and all, it was obvious what the agenda on day one was going to be.

The first question champion Andy Murray faced was: “How does it feel to have the hopes of a despondent nation on your shoulders?”

"Wow," replied Murray, almost struck blind by the sheer dumbness of the question.

“I enjoy it when the World Cup is on. It gives me something to do in the evenings. I don’t have to listen to people talking about me playing at Wimbledon,” he said, reports AFP

“When you walk into the locker room most mornings, [the World Cup] what almost all of the players are talking about,” he said of the World Cup.

I enjoy it when the World Cup is on. It gives me something to do in the evenings
Andy Murray

Rafael Nadal was asked if he would be more motivated to win, given Spain's early exit from Brazil, as if he wouldn't have been too bothered otherwise.

“I am sad. Everybody in Spain is sad for what happened in the World Cup,” he said.

“But my mentality, my motivation was going to be always at the top to play here at Wimbledon.”

And Victoria Azarenka revealed she was supporting Argentina.

“I love Messi. I think he’s one of the greatest players of all time. He’s so little, so cute.”

But the strawberry-and-cream-chomping fans won't be able to watch any of the football at SW19 - organisers sniffily refuse to screen any of the matches. We don't want to attract the wrong sort, you know.

Grim outlook for Asia

The World Cup in Japan and South Korea was seen as a watershed for Asian football, with Korea reaching the semis, but more than 10 years later and we're set for the worst performance from Asia's teams since 1990.

After nine matches Asia's representatives - Japan, South Korea, Iran and Australia - are all winless and it looks like none will reach the last 16.

"Asian teams year after year keep making the same mistakes, so they’ll never be able to be on the same level as Europe or South America," Iran boss Carlos Queiroz told reporters.

"It’s because of the competition system, the training and organisation. You cannot copy Europe because the day you think you are close, they are one step ahead because they also progress.

"But the officials persist in copying Europe and year after year the gap is higher and higher. It is a pity because 60 percent of the money in football comes from Asia and they have the worst conditions."