World Cup diary: Netherlands v Argentina could see House of Orange segmented
Albiceleste fans are trying to claim the Dutch queen as one of their own - but she insists she's not supporting the country of her birth
Queen Maxima of the Netherlands has had to insist she won't be suffering from divided loyalties when the country she reigns over takes on the country in which she was born and bred.
The only other World Cup meeting between the teams since she married into the royal family in 2002, a group stage clash in 2006, ended in a goalless draw, with both teams having already qualified for the next stage - apparently a “great relief”.
The royal family insisted to AFP this week: “The Royal Family supports the Dutch team.”
Some Argentinian stories claim the match is “causing tension between the royal couple” in a “kingdom divided”, reports AFP.
Among the tweets doing the rounds: this one of a heavily-tatted King Willem-Alexander with Maxima resplendent in Argentina body paint. 'The Royal couple is ready for the semi-finals' says the caption.
— Woordhumor (@Woordhumor) July 7, 2014
This one purports to picture the scene in the palace:
— Darius (@DariusBaires) July 6, 2014
The King and Queen visited the Dutch dressing room after their win over Spain but, possibly in the interest of marital and regal harmony, won't be attending the semi-final, according to De Telegraaf.
Tournament on the fringes for people on the fringes
Meanwhile, away from the bajillion-dollar marketing, ticket-scalping, bribery and corruption festival that is the real thing, Sao Paulo is hosting a 'Street Soccer World Cup' for the excluded this week.
Players from two dozen nations across the world, all linked to movements seeking social change, are taking part, reports Reuters.
The opening match was held at Largo da Batata, where huge anti-World Cup protests were held last year.
"All participants belong to social movements," one of the organisers told Reuters. "These guys come from the outskirts of their cities. Soccer has a unique integration power, like no other sport."
Condoms not enough to prevent Russia's nasty case of Fabio
Russia fans have taken their anger out on their team in unusual fashion, hurling condoms at the football federation's Moscow headquarters as they demanded Fabio Capello get his marching orders, ITAR-TASS news agency reported.
Apparently condom is also a slang word for idiot in Russian, and the dozen or so fans weren't just requesting Capello and the federation to get f*****.
But it seems the prophylactics are too late. As England fans could have told them, once you get infected with a case of Fabio, it's a lengthy and extremely expensive process to get rid of it.
“I think a huge amount of work has been done by our national team under Capello’s guidance,” the head of the Russian federation said last week. “He is without doubt a top-class manager and we’re seriously interested in further cooperation with him.”