BRAZIL BEAT: Piranhas? No problem at Manaus beach

Published on NewsOK Modified: June 16, 2014 at 6:20 pm •  Published: June 16, 2014
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MANAUS, Brazil (AP) — Beaches are a big part of life for most Brazilians, and the locals deep in the Amazon jungle are definitely Brazilian.

In Manaus, the most exotic of the 12 World Cup host cities, the residents head to the posh neighborhood of Ponta Negra to lounge on the sandy beach and take a dip in the Rio Negro, the river that joins up with the Amazon River on the other side of the city. The warm water, as its name implies, is dark, but with a bit of a red tint.

Oh yeah, there are piranhas in there, too, but that doesn't seem to bother anyone. And neither does the rain.

On Monday, it started to pour in the afternoon, scattering the few spectators in the nearby Fan Fest who were watching Germany beat Portugal 4-0 on a large-screen TV. But down on the beach, most of the revelers stood their ground and stayed in the water.

No piranha injuries were immediately reported.

— Chris Lehourites

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DROUGHT OVER

NATAL, Brazil (AP) — Clint Dempsey wasted no time in ending the goal drought by U.S. forwards at the World Cup.

The Americans' captain scored in the first minute of their opener against Ghana on Monday — the fastest World Cup goal in his country's history. U.S. strikers had failed to find the net in the previous two tournaments: The last goal came from Brian McBride against Mexico in the second round in 2002 in South Korea.

Dempsey briefly left the game later in the first half after taking a cleat to the nose, but he returned. The news was far worse for the American's other starting forward, Jozy Altidore, who was taken off on a stretcher in the 21st minute with an apparent left hamstring injury. He was replaced by Aron Johannsson.

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GAME ROOM

MANGARATIBA, Brazil (AP) — No. 3 goalkeeper Mattia Perin has one foot high in the air as he leans down to return a table tennis shot.

Daniele De Rossi is battling Ignazio Abate in a video game.

Andrea Pirlo interrupts a pinball game to glance at the camera.

The photo that defender Leonardo Bonucci posted on Instagram last week offered insight into what Italy's players do with their free time at the Portobello Resort & Safari.

On Monday, goalkeeper Salvatore Sirigu revealed which player is better at what on PlayStation and Xbox.

"Thiago Motta gets the gold medal at war games," he said. "(Alessio) Cerci, (Ciro) Immobile and (Lorenzo) Insigne dominate at football. De Rossi thinks he's good at basketball, but he's not, and I know that because Perin beat him.

"And I'm happy to let everyone know (De Rossi) is no good," Sirigu added with a laugh.

The game room must have been approved by Cesare Prandelli, although the Italy coach might do well to warn the players not to go overboard. It was only a few years ago that defender Alessandro Nesta had to have his thumb operated on, reportedly after injuring it playing too many video games.

"It's a good way to spend our free time and create team spirit," Sirigu said. "It's just good to be together."

— By Andrew Dampf — www.twitter.com/asdampf

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WORDS OF ENCOURAGEMENT

FORTALEZA, Brazil (AP) — Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari sent a message to his former Portugal players after their 4-0 loss to Germany on Monday.

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