In case anyone was worried that the 2014 World Cup would come and go without introduction of an irritating noise maker:
Worry no more! It looks like we have a winner. Which might make many fans of the global game the “loser.” Because while a lot of folks didn’t mind the vuvuzela noise makers that got so much media pop during South Africa 2010, a lot of viewers found them every bit as irritating as rash in the privates.
Brazil, an expansive land that has supplied the world with samba beats, Carnival, the dazzling beaches of Rio and beauty of the rainforests, not to mention so much good spirited soccer, now gives us the “caxirola.”
Why do I get the feeling that so many fans will want to give it the heck back?
It’s a percussion instrument, so the sound of the 2014 World Cup will be more “beat” than “buzz,” the droning sound of the vuvuzela.
Said Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff: “I am convinced that the caxirola is not only compatible with football, but it is also a symbol of our country’s huge capacity to offer a much better instrument that the vuvuzela.”
We’ll see. But clearly some Brazilian fans aren’t so enamored with these “instruments.” Either that or they simply prefer to employ them as convenient objects of low-level destruction, because a bunch carixola were thrown onto the field at a match Monday in Brazil. Video is included in that link.
We can probably mark that down as a “less than impressive debut.”
Here’s an early look. (Bonus from the video, there’s a dude explaining about the caxirola while wearing a brilliantly wacky hat, like a giant white rooster had attached itself to his head! His name, by the way, is Carlinhos Brown, a Brazilian artist.)
Bayern Munich midfielder Arturo Vidal has declared “ugly” Atletico Madrid unworthy finalists in the UEFA Champions League.
Bayern was eliminated in the Champions League semifinal by Atleti on Tuesday, with Diego Simeone’s Spanish side advancing on away goals.
[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s UCL coverage ]
However, Vidal believed Bayern were the better team in the second leg, saying Atletico played “ugly football” to get through.
Today ugly football – Atletico – played against the best football in the world. The only time they saw the ball was for the goal.
They are going to be dreaming about us right up to the final. They did not have the ball, they took on the best team in the world, they took their chances and got to the final.
The best does not always win in football, like today. They are not deserved finalists.
Bayern Munich controlled more than 70-percent of possession and had 33 shots compared to Atletico’s nine, but those stats mean little as Antoine Griezmann’s away goal was enough to send Atleti to the final.
[ MORE: Former England striker Joe Cole headed to NASL’s Tampa Bay Rowdies ]
Atletico may not play the most attractive football, but after eliminating Barcelona and Bayern Munich in consecutive legs, it’s hard to argue anyone deserves this more than Simeone’s men.
The second leg of the Europa League semifinals kick off tomorrow, with two La Liga sides looking to make it an all-Spanish final.
[ MORE: Premier League Playback ]
Villarreal holds a 1-0 lead over Liverpool, while Sevilla scored two away goals in their 2-2 draw at Shakhtar Donetsk.
Liverpool vs. Villarreal – 3:05 p.m. ET
Villarreal won first leg 1-0
Adrian Lopez’s late winner in the first leg has given Villarreal a slight lead, while the Spanish side did well not to concede an away goal. However, Liverpool have overcome deficits at Anfield before, including their memorable 4-3 victory over Borussia Dortmund in the quarterfinals. Emre Can is back fit for the Reds, as manager Jurgen Klopp will hope his fellow German can help the team to a cup final in his first year in charge.
[ RELATED: Liverpool preparing for another big Thursday night at Anfield ]
Sevilla vs. Shakhtar Donetsk – 3:05 p.m. ET
First leg ended 2-2 draw
Sevilla are looking to become the first team to win three consecutive Europa League titles as the two-time defending champions face off against Shakhtar Donetsk. Sevilla are in the driver’s seat after scoring two away goals in Ukraine, and will feel confident of advancing to the final with a great home record at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan Stadium.
In the latest Men in Blazers podcast, Rog and Davo celebrate Leicester City’s improbable Premier League title with Leicester’s own Arlo White.
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LISBON, Portugal (AP) Portuguese and European police say they have broken up a cell of an important Russian mafia group that allegedly laundered money through European football clubs.
Europol, the European Union’s law enforcement agency, said in a statement Wednesday the group identified EU football clubs in financial distress and infiltrated them with benefactors who brought much-needed cash.
[ MORE: Man City bounced from UCL ]
Once they were in control, the mobsters allegedly laundered millions of euros (dollars) through player transfers, TV rights deals and betting.
Portuguese and European police on Tuesday raided third-division Portuguese club Uniao de Leiria and arrested three key members of the Russian gang. Three other Portuguese clubs’ premises were searched.
Europol said the operation helped identify serious crimes in Austria, Germany, and the United Kingdom, though it gave no details.