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BRAZIL BEAT: Keep quiet Dad

AP - Sports
BRAZIL BEAT: Keep quiet Dad
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TERESOPOLIS, Brazil (AP) -- Brazil reserve midfielder Willian had some advice for his dad after he visited the team's training camp: Don't talk too much!

Severino da Silva told local media this week that he thinks Willian has to be Brazil's starter the rest of the World Cup, putting his son in a difficult spot with Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari.

''I already spoke to him and asked him not to say anything else from now on,'' Willian said Wednesday, with a laugh. ''My father is very passionate and sometimes he talks too much.''

Willian came in as a second-half substitute in the last two Brazil matches at the home tournament, a 0-0 draw against Mexico and a 4-1 win over Cameroon.

''My father respects all the players, he respects Felipao,'' Willian said. ''I think that if you ask any father he will say that he wants his son to play, it's normal. He is my idol, someone who always supported me. I'm only here today because of him.''

- By Tales Azzoni - www.twitter.com/tazzoni

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GOODBYE TO FOUR CITIES

MANAUS, Brazil (AP) - The Brazil World Cup has 12 host cities, but four will be done by Thursday afternoon.

Manaus, the Amazonian city that caused so much consternation as players and coaches dreaded the humidity and heat, hosted its last game Wednesday, Switzerland defeating Honduras 3-0.

Manaus's Arena Amazonia was one of the most talked about venues, and players worried about the state of the pitch in the days leading up to the tournament. However, games went on without any serious problems related to the turf.

Brazilians still worry whether the 40,000-seat stadium will get enough use after the World Cup.

Thursday's match between Algeria and Russia will be the last match in the Arena da Baixada in Curitiba, a city of 1.8 million south of Rio De Janeiro and Sao Paulo.

Arena Pantanal in Cuiaba and Estadio das Dunas in Natal had their last matches Tuesday.

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HELPING FLOOD VICTIMS

TERESOPOLIS, Brazil (AP) - Fifty kids who had their lives affected by the 2011 flooding that killed nearly 1,000 people in the Teresopolis region got to meet Brazil's team before practice on Wednesday.

The children lined up on one of the training fields and the players talked to them for a few minutes. The youngsters received soccer balls and were allowed to watch the team practice.

The kids were selected from the neighborhoods that were most affected by the heavy rains that ravaged the region in early 2011. The Brazilian federation said some lost their homes and relatives in the tragedy. The floods are considered one of Brazil's worst natural disasters.

At the time, Brazil's training camp was used to help authorities in the logistics to search for those missing in the floods.

- By Tales Azzoni - www.twitter.com/tazzoni

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CHURCH OF FOOTBALL

SAO PAULO - There's really only one place along Sao Paulo's hectic Avenida Paulista, where you can escape the constant noise of traffic and the hurried movement of people. But even inside the tranquil confines of Paroquia Sao Luis Gonzaga church you still can't entirely get away from the football fever engulfing Brazil.

Inside the chapel, worshippers kneel in silence. But on one of the empty pews there is a church brochure explaining its World Cup related activities and the public debate surrounding the event.

In the back of the church, discount clothing is being sorted for the needy and a small TV with an antenna is broadcasting a fuzzy image of the Argentina-Nigeria game. Oohs and aahs are heard as Lionel Messi does his magic.

For some, the football obsession goes too far.

''Here in Brazil, everything is about football and that's why I don't like it. It's too much,'' said Greta Santos, 21, who came to the church for some quiet after her lunch break.

- By Aron Heller - www.twitter.com/aronhellerap

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SO MANY NEYMARS

SAO PAULO (AP) - The name Neymar is not common in Brazil, or at least it wasn't until a few years ago, when the star player began scoring goals as a teenager.

Since he started playing professionally with the Santos club in 2009, 371 Neymars have been born in his home state of Sao Paulo, according to the state's association of registries. Only two were given that name between 1992 and 2008, and one was Brazil's striker, who was born in Mogi das Cruzes, a suburb in the outskirts of the city of Sao Paulo.

Before Neymar moved to Barcelona last year, he led Santos to the 2010 Brazilian Cup, the 2011 Copa Libertadores and three state championships. He also won FIFA's award for the best goal of the year in 2011.

If Brazil thrives in the World Cup, expect more Neymars in nurseries.

- By Adriana Gomez Licon - www.twitter.com/agomezlicon

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HULK-ING PHOTO OP

TERESOPOLIS, Brazil (AP) - Fans visiting Brazil's training camp are lining up for a smashing photo opportunity with a huge statue of the superhero Hulk dressed in a national team jersey.

The statue, located in front of a restaurant just outside the training camp, wears the Selecao's yellow No. 7, the number worn by the striker who goes by the same name.

''We came to try to see the players, but if they don't let us, at least we got a photo with someone who we know is part of the team,'' joked 17-year-old Brazilian fan Luana de Aguiar.

Brazil's training sessions in the mountain city of Teresopolis, about an hour from Rio, have been closed to fans, although hundreds show up at the gates every day to try to get a glimpse of their idols.

- By Tales Azzoni - www.twitter.com/tazzoni

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FRENCH CUSTOMS 1, COUNTERFEITERS 0

PARIS (AP) - That's the score after officials at Paris' main airport seized a shipment of 30 counterfeit FIFA World Cup trophies, in the first such bust of this year's World Cup.

The shiny gold-colored statues were to be sold to souvenir shoppers in France. The official World Cup replicas are sold by FIFA for about $130.

The phony trophies had been shipped from China and were intercepted by customs officers at the Charles de Gaulle airport on June 18, the customs office said Wednesday.

The customs office said the trophies will be destroyed.

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