SANTOS, Brazil (AP) — Mexico and Brazil did not wait until Tuesday, when they face each other in a Group A match, and took their rivalry to the social networks.
The Brazilian federation challenged its Mexican counterpart to see which country arrives with the most followers for the day of the game.
"Congratulations for yesterday, @miseleccionmx! What about a game here on Twitter? Let's see who gets to the match with more followers..." the CBF posted Saturday night.
The Mexican federation quickly accepted, and the game is on.
The loser will donate a team jersey signed by the players to a charity of the winner*s choice.
"The bet is on against Brazil on Twitter, let's see who gets the most followers, even there we want to win," wrote the Mexican manager, Miguel Herrera.
The battle is a close one. Brazil had 1,615,061 followers, while Mexico had 1,665,931.
— By Carlos Rodriguez — www.twitter.com/crodriguezap
BELO HORIZONTE, Brazil (AP) — Strolling along central Belo Horizonte's tree-lined avenues on a Sunday morning is a quiet affair. Until you stumble onto Avenida Afonso Pena.
Song and dance, colors, artisan stalls and the smells of Brazilian street food hit the senses all at once.
Officially, it's the Feira de Artesanato, the weekly artisans' fair. But it's more like an impromptu street party.
Arriving at 10:30 a.m. seems a little late, because a group of four drummers and a guitarist are in full swing and onlookers are dancing, drinking ice-cold beers and eating espetinhos. It's a spontaneous jamming session watched by locals and World Cup visitors — including Colombia fans in full party mode because of the team's 3-0 win over Greece on Saturday at Mineriao Stadium.
The main attraction, though, is the hundreds of stalls selling anything from handcrafted leather sandals and porcelain earrings to caricatures and children's toys. It's a bustling bazaar that stretches for at least half a mile in front of the city's municipal park. Algeria fans arriving for their team's match Tuesday against Belgium were also out waving flags and taking pictures of a capoeira group.
The divide among the haves and have-nots was also visible at the fair, with several men lugging huge transparent plastic bags filled with empty beer cans and soda bottles tossed away by the revelers.
— By Frank Griffiths — www.twitter.com/fgriffithsap
BRISBANE, Australia (AP) — The agony of defeat ... and the resulting misbehavior.
Rowdy English football fans upset over their team's 2-1 loss to Italy at the World Cup on Saturday evening in Brazil found themselves, with the time difference, in trouble at a British-themed Brisbane pub early Sunday afternoon in Australia.
They forced the closure of the Pig 'N' Whistle in downtown Brisbane. Management called police shortly after midday Sunday after they said a group of drunken English backpackers created a disturbance and refused to leave. They were among hundreds who watched the match in the pub.
Police said two men were arrested and all of the offending patrons were evicted.
— By Dennis Passa — www.twitter.com/DennisPassa
RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — First there was planking and Tebowing. Now a spectacular World Cup goal has spawned "Persieing."
In what is sure to be one of the goals of the tournament in Brazil, Netherlands captain Robin van Persie flung himself at a long pass and headed the ball over Spain goalkeeper Iker Casillas to level the score at 1-1 just before halftime of the teams' Group B opener. The Netherlands went on to win 5-1 in one of the shocks of the tournament so far.
The flying Dutchman's momentum sent him sliding on his belly across the damp turf of Salvador's Arena Fonte Nova, his arms stretched out to either side.
Fans wasted no time photographing themselves — and even their babies — in similar poses and posting them online, giving birth to the "Persieing" meme.
— By Mike Corder — www.twitter.com/mikecorder
BOOS FOR BLATTER
BRASILIA, Brazil (AP) — FIFA President Sepp Blatter turned up at Sunday's Switzerland-Ecuador match for only his second game of this World Cup — and got a hostile welcome for his trouble.
As images popped up on the big screen of Blatter taking his seat before kickoff, there were plenty of boos and jeers for the most important man in football.
Blatter is from Switzerland, and world football's governing body is also based there.
— By Steve Douglas — www.twitter.com/sdouglas80
TERESOPOLIS, Brazil (AP) — Brazil star Neymar clearly isn't superstitious when it comes to his hair.
After scoring twice in victory to open the World Cup, Neymar showed up with a new style at the squad's training session Sunday. So did left back Dani Alves, his Barcelona teammate.
Neymar's head was shaved on the sides, with the front dyed blond. Alves' shorter cut had a grayish tinge to it.
Neymar has been known to constantly change his hairstyle during tournaments. Alves also shows up with different haircuts from time to time.
Brazil will play its second World Cup match against Mexico on Tuesday in the northeastern city of Fortaleza.
— By Tales Azzoni — www.twitter.com/tazzoni
Associated Press reporters will be filing dispatches about happenings in and around Brazil during the 2014 World Cup. Follow AP journalists covering the World Cup on Twitter: https://twitter.com/AP_Sports/world-cup-2014