Brazil 2014 - Five things we’ve learned from the World Cup so far

A Japanese fan covers himself from the rain before the group C World Cup soccer match between Ivory Coast and Japan at the Arena Pernambuco in Recife, Brazil, Saturday, June 14, 2014. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek) A Japanese fan covers himself from the rain before the group C World Cup soccer match between Ivory Coast and Japan at the Arena Pernambuco in Recife, Brazil, Saturday, June 14, 2014. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)

Wednesday, June 18, 2014
1:08 PM

With Belgium, Algeria, Russia and South Korea making their World Cup bows yesterday, each of the 32 teams involved has now appeared.

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File photos of (from left to right) Rory Bremner, Harry Judd, Robbie Savage, Russell Grant, Jason Donovan and Audley Harrison who have all been confirmed for the new series of Strictly Come Dancing. Former professional tennis player and TV presenter, Daniel Lobb (not pictured) also features in the line up. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Wednesday September 07, 2011. See PA story SHOWBIZ Strictly. Photo credit should read: PA WireFile photos of (from left to right) Rory Bremner, Harry Judd, Robbie Savage, Russell Grant, Jason Donovan and Audley Harrison who have all been confirmed for the new series of Strictly Come Dancing. Former professional tennis player and TV presenter, Daniel Lobb (not pictured) also features in the line up. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Wednesday September 07, 2011. See PA story SHOWBIZ Strictly. Photo credit should read: PA Wire

So, with 17 games and 1,500 minutes of football already behind us, we’re taking the opportunity to take stock and look at the five things we’ve learned from Brazil 2014 so far.

1) Goal-line technology works –but we’re still not happy.

When Karim Benzema’s volley ricocheted off a post, squirmed through the hands of Honduras goalkeeper Noel Valladeres and trickled over the goal line on Sunday night, football’s newest gizmo sprang into life – and a wave of controversy began.

Replays showed goal-line technology (GLT) had got the decision to give the goal spot on, but that was only after replays of the ball hitting the post were shown in the stadium and on television.

BBC commentator Jonathan Pearce was baffled, Honduran players raged at the referee and Twitter went berserk.

Who said it would make things simpler?

2) Japanese fans can take defeat, and clean up after themselves.

Japanese fans at the Arena Pernambuco in Recife took the 2-1 defeat to Ivory Coast on the chin on Saturday.

And after dusting themselves down, they did the same to the stadium.

The Blue Samurai fans became social media darlings in the days after the game as pictures of them wielding bin bags and picking up litter from the stands quickly spread.

3) Brazil is perfectly safe for fans.

Reports of gun crime, violence and tourist hold-ups before the tournament will have had paid-up fans having second thoughts about boarding the plane to South America.

But with no reports of trouble, fans from our area have been reporting that they have been made to feel right at home by locals.

4. Vanishing spray is a hit.

Unlike GLT, the vanishing spray used by referees to mark out the distance players must stand from dead balls has been a FIFA innovation that has proved to be a success.

So much so, that children have been seen emulating referees in the park. One picture on Twitter earlier this week showed one game where children were marking out a line on the grass – armed with a can of shaving foam.

5. Robbie Savage is older than he looks.

When BBC pundit Robbie Savage told Gary Lineker he remembered the infamous 1962 Battle of Santiago during Sunday’s France v Honduras game, viewers were left scratching their heads. The game was played 12 years before he was born.

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