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Friday 19 September 2014

Brazil Daily - All the action from the 2014 World Cup

Published 25/06/2014 | 02:30

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Spain's defender Jordi Alba
Spain's defender Jordi Alba

Alba lashes out in 'moment of tension' - JORDI ALBA had a bee in his bonnet when he stormed through the mixed zone following Spain's win over Australia in Curitiba on Tuesday night. The target for his ire was Javier Gomez Matallanas, a reporter for the sports daily 'AS'.

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"Next time I'll rip your head off," said Alba, much to the surprise of the watching audience. Matallanas was perplexed and told the left-back as much. "Yes, yes, next time ... I'm warning you," continued the Barcelona man before making his way out the exit.

The disagreement flared up again before the team boarded their flight back to Spain with Alba, accompanied by Sergio Busquets, accusing Matallanas of being a grass. The journalist told Onda Cero radio he was unaware of any history. "I have not written anything about him," he said. "I don't remember writing anything about him at all."

Alba did issue an apology of sorts on Twitter upon his return home, saying that he wanted to apologise for a "moment of tension" that he didn't want, without clarifying the reason for his outburst.

After six years of glory, it'll be a challenge for Spain to regroup with all sorts of latent tensions coming to the fore over the past fortnight. One player's war with the media is the least of their problems if the tales of dressing-room angst are correct.

Amazonian blame game begins

MANAUS has been the subject of much scrutiny as a venue and now it's being put forward as an excuse for the subsequent failings of the teams that have played there. England and Italy kicked proceedings off in the Amazonian venue and both went on to lose their second match.

Then Croatia and Cameroon went toe-to-toe and they were comprehensively beaten by Mexico and Brazil respectively on Monday night. The theory is that the impact of the intense heat has taken so much out of the aforementioned nations that the fatigue spilled into their next encounter.

It's an interesting thought, although, on the flip side, England did finish strongly against Uruguay only to be caught out by that long punt upfield that outfoxed Steven Gerrard and released Luis Suarez.

Cameroon would have been expected to lose to Brazil anyway, which leaves us with Croatia's collapse against the Mexicans and Italy's struggles against Costa Rica. We're not convinced if that's enough yet to prove the point emphatically.

The performances of USA and Portugal – who played out a thriller there on Sunday night – will be monitored closely when the curtain is drawn on Group G tomorrow.

Irish Independent

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