Algeria heroes to donate prize money to Gaza
The Algeria squad plan to donate their £5.2m World Cup prize money to the residents of Gaza, according to the striker Islam Slimani. The generous gesture was announced after the players flew back to a heroes’ welcome following their extra-time defeat against Germany. Slimani said the players decided to make the donation to Gaza because “they need it more than us”. Algeria had never previously progressed beyond the group stage of the tournament. The high point of their group stage was a stylish 4-2 win over South Korea. They celebrated with an open-top parade through crowds of cheering supporters in Algiers.
Microsoft makes a sucker out of Paul the octopus
The Diary has revelled in the wildly unsuccessful World Cup predictions of banking analysts, economists and data crunchers – most of whom have a considerably lower accuracy rate than Paul the octopus. But Microsoft now claims to have bucked that trend after their Windows mobile phone application, Cortana, notched up eight correct predictions in a row by adjusting for previous results, geography, climate and pitch conditions. The developer Mouni Reddy announced the result in a tweet saying: “It’s official we live in the matrix #Cortana 8-0”. The next test is on Friday, when Cortana forecasts wins for Brazil and Germany.
Rojo and Romero mock Brazil with twirling towels
Jubilant Argentina players celebrated their progress into the quarter-finals by singing a rowdy, Brazil-taunting song in the dressing room. As the Diary has reported, the song “Brasil decime que se siente” has become one of the unofficial hits of the World Cup with its humorously provocative lyrics about past Argentina victories and the superiority of Maradona over Pelé. It was previously heard only on the streets and in the stands but now, a video is circulating online showing Marcos Rojo, Sergio Romero and others dancing, twirling towels and yelling out the lyrics after beating Switzerland 1-0 after extra time in São Paulo.
Argentina seat-breakers lead fan havoc ratings
Argentina’s fans appear to be wreaking more havoc than any other at this World Cup, though levels of violence for all nationalities have so far been relatively low compared with tournaments in the 1980s and 1990s. Argentina supporters smashed more than 300 chairs at the Arena Corinthians during their team’s 1-0 last-16 victory over Switzerland on Tuesday. This exceeded the vandalism at the England against Uruguay match at the same stadium in São Paulo last week, when 175 seats were broken. Fifa has played down the damage, saying a few hundred broken seats is “not much in an audience of more than 60,000”.