World cup 2014
World Cup Diary

World Cup diary: Why sweeper-keeper Manuel Neuer worries the Butcher of Seville

Former German goalkeeper Harald Schumacher, who left Patrick Battiston a crumpled mess in Spain in 1982, is not impressed with the way Bayern star rushes outside his area

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 02 July, 2014, 1:10am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 02 July, 2014, 7:37am

Manuel Neuer's performance against Algeria was remarkable for the amount of times he came flying out of his area to halt the African attacks, playing almost as a sweeper. As these tweets show, he seemed to spend almost as much time outside his area than in it.

But one of his predecessors as Germany keeper, Harald Schumacher, was far from impressed, saying Neuer's penchant for charging out could lead to a repeat of the famous incident when Schumacher clattered Patrick Battiston at the 1982 World Cup, leaving the France striker a crumpled mess, minus several teeth, with cracked ribs and damaged vertebrae. Here is a video, which Fifa in their wisdom do not allow to be embedded.

“It’s a split second thing,” Schumacher, now 60, replied to a question from AFP at a gathering of journalists organised by tabloid Bild in Berlin. “If one looks at yesterday’s match and how many times Neuer came out of his goal ... he can always be unlucky and arrive too late and something like what happened [in 1982] can occur.”

Germany play France in their next match, hence why Schumacher was wheeled out to meet the press. He maintains his foul on Battiston, which earned him the nickname 'The Butcher of Seville' was an accident.

“This subject comes up with me at every major finals,” he said. “Later I apologised, but only because I did not go to his aid after the incident.”

Despite his fears Neuer might hurt someone he still said: “Without Neuer [the Algeria game would have been a debacle. For me he is one of the best if not the best goalkeeper at the finals."

Barca welcome Suarez apology. Funny that

And so it begins. Luis Suarez's apology - of sorts - for his bite on Giorgio Chiellini was hardly the most repentant admission of guilt. "My colleague Giorgio Chiellini suffered the physical result of a bite in the collision he suffered with me," said Suarez - or more likely his agent / lawyer.

"I'm not saying I bit him, but hey, when he bumped into me maybe he hit my teeth" in other words. If Suarez had shown any humility in stating his case to Fifa, instead of insisting it was all the result of an unfortunate stumble, perhaps he would not have received such a long ban.

But now the real reason for the 'apology' becomes clear. Suarez's image has to be laundered as best it can before Barcelona - with their lofty self-image as being 'Més que un club', morally superior to the rest of football's lowly grubbers - can sign him from Liverpool.

“Suarez has had the character and the humility to acknowledge his mistake. That is important,” Barca’s sporting director Andoni Zubizarreta told a news conference on Tuesday, AFP reports. “That’s the starting point for a person’s recovery process.”

And the starting point of a lengthy transfer saga. If Barca can manage to get his ban reduced from four months as well, so much the better.

“Luis Suarez is an excellent player and everyone knows it," added Zubizaretta. "But everyone also knows that he is a Liverpool player.”

For now.

Mauricio Pinilla makes some wise life choices

Chile striker Mauricio Pinilla has had a tattoo done on his back of his late shot that crashed off the bar against Brazil.

"One Centimeter from Glory," says the writing. Six to 10 seems more accurate - might as well be exact if you're going to get it permanently marked on your body, Mauricio.

"He said it was an inerasable wound," tattoo artist Marlon Parra told newspaper La Tercera, Reuters reports. "That he hasn’t stopped thinking about that moment, in what could have happened if the ball had been a few centimetres lower. What he wanted to do was leave a record of the suffering he’s going through."

Pinilla also decided to get his face tattooed while he was it, 'Blessed' on one side, 'For Life' on the other. Seems like a decision he will definitely not regret later in life.

All that for a miss. What on earth would he have done had it gone in? We're assuming a cattle brand of the Chile flag on his forehead, plus a pattern of ritual scarification in the shape of Brazil, at the very least.

Lotto hit the jackpot thanks to Ticos

The World Cup was supposed to be all about Nike v Adidas in the battle of the mega brands, but Costa Rica's unlikely success has boosted one of the minnows of the sportswear world, Italian firm Lotto.

The firm says sales of Costa Rica shirts have risen  20-fold as the Ticos reached  the last eight.

Reuters reports: "Lotto is struggling to keep up with demand and an extra 50,000 shirts have been sold since Costa Rica won their opening game against Uruguay."

"We are now having trouble organising some fast production to let everyone have this shirt that will become a memory of a historic achievement," Lotto President Andrea Tomat told Reuters.

The ticos are the only one of 32 teams whose kit is not made by Adidas, Nike or Puma and the only one in the quarter-finals not sponsored by Adidas or Nike.