World Cup Daily: Scolari bullish but Rodriguez calm

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In The Headlines

Brazil manager Luis Felipe Scolari is suddenly more bullish about the hosts’ prospects of winning the trophy for the first time since 2002.

Despite facing criticism that his side are a one-man team that are too reliant of the skills of Neymar, Scolari insist that World Cup triumph is in touching distance for the Selecao.

“Does Brazil continue to have one hand on the trophy? Yes,” he said.

“We are going on to the fifth step and there are seven steps.”

Neymar himself is leaving nothing to chance and has been practicing his famous penalty run-up just in case …

The non-England Camp

Germany are getting their excuses in early in case they are sent packing by France with no fewer than seven of Die Mannschaft suffering from what the papers are referring to as “flu-like symptoms” – that’ll be a runny nose then.

Manager Joachim Loew said that one third of the team – including top scorer Thomas Mueller – have sore throats but were able to train ahead of tonight’s crunch quarter-final.

“They still have a slight cold, but there’s no feeling of exhaustion. I hope that we do not have any worsening overnight,” he added.

Injury List

In addition to the snot-nosed seven, Germany will be without defender Shkodran Mustafi has been who has been ruled out of the rest of the World Cup with a thigh injury.

Meanwhile, it’s mixed news for the Holland camp.

Robin van Persie is now a doubt for the Costa Rica clash after limping out of training with his thigh heavily strapped, while Nigel de Jong could yet feature in the tournament against after surprising the Dutch medical staff with his recovery from a groin strain.

In Other News

While James Rodriguez, Lionel Mess, Thomas Mueller and Neymar battle it out for the Golden BOOT, France’s Paul Pogba has been the star of the World Cup as far as social media is concerned.

The Juventus midfielder has seen a bigger rise in Twitter followers than any other player at the tournament with a 505 per cent growth, according to figures published in the Evening Standard.

Brazil and Chelsea star Oscar is the Premier League star with the most growth at 428 per cent, while the evergreen Andrea Pirlo completes the top three with 332 per cent.

Rodriguez, will not be concerned about his Twitter growth however as he has clearly moved his social media attention to Vine – as this prank on team-mate Juan Cuadrado shows.

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James Curtis

After studying for a degree in journalism and gaining his NCTJ, James contributed to a wide range of papers, online publications and broadcasters including the South London Press, Press Association and Sky Sports News before joining the Ladbrokes News team.