RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Frank Lampard is bracing himself for his 36th birthday Friday after the England midfielder saw one of the team's staff members receive his "gift."
"It was one of the masseurs' 50th birthday today, so we strapped him and volleyed a few balls at him, as us mature boys do, and that's it. It's light-hearted," Lampard said Tuesday. "That's how it is. You have to have that. We're away a long time. You have to have your moments."
Masseur Paul Small's birthday treat was captured by striker Daniel Sturridge: http://instagram.com/p/pWvQKgHNX1/
— By Rob Harris — www.twitter.com/RobHarris
PORTO ALEGRE, Brazil — Anderson Goncalves Rodrigues was probably the only person not busy rooting for Brazil.
Screaming with delight, waving his green jersey above his head, he ran wild-eyed and whooping.
He had just had his jersey signed by France striker Olivier Giroud and midfielder Paul Pogba at Tuesday's training, where around a dozen or so fans were invited to attend the otherwise closed-doors session.
He didn't even mind that Brazil was playing Mexico at exactly the same time as France was training at Botafogo's Santa Cruz stadium in Ribeirao Preto.
"I don't care if I missed the Brazilian game," he said through a translator. "I would have waited for the French players outside, but the security let me in. And now I have an autograph from Pogba!"
As it turns out, he didn't miss a great deal, anyway, because Brazil was held 0-0 by Mexico.
— By Jerome Pugmire — http://twitter.com/jeromepugmire
MANAUS, Brazil (AP) — Just below a wooden bridge on the edge of a polluted river, a small caiman found something tasty, and the reptile started chomping away.
Now that's a "tourist trap" no one would want to be caught up in.
But the Mindu Municipal Park is drawing plenty of World Cup fans to its mini-jungle on the edge of Manaus, and Marcel Agueros was one of them.
"This is my sixth World Cup," said the 41-year-old American, an assistant professor at Columbia University in New York.
Agueros said his strategy in coming to World Cups is to pick a town and see what matches and sights he can. This year, he chose Manaus, the most exotic of World Cup venues located deep in the Amazon rainforest, because that was all that was left when he finally got around to buying tickets.
"The Amazon," Agueros said. "Why not?"
— Chris Lehourites — www.twitter.com/chrislehourites
OLINDA, Brazil (AP) — The nearly 500-year-old coastal community of Olinda is a UNESCO World Heritage site where narrow, cobblestone streets climb a hillside past stucco-sided buildings painted in cheerful shades of yellow, orange, green and blue, finished off with white trim highlighting old-world architectural detail.
There, one might find a handful of residents wearing Jacoby Ellsbury Red Sox shirts or baseball caps commemorating the team's 2013 American League Championship Series victory. It won't be long before someone strolls by in a Tyler Seguin Bruins jersey.