Tuesday, September 2, 2014


Argentina's head coach Alejandro Sabella listens to a question during a news conference at Itaquerao Stadium in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Monday, June 30, 2014. Argentina will face Switzerland in their next World Cup soccer match, Tuesday. (AP Photo/Victor R. Caivano) (Victor R. Caivano)

United States goalkeeper Tim Howard talks to reporters before a training session in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Saturday, June 28, 2014. The U.S. will play against Belgium on July 1, in the round 16 of the 2014 soccer World Cup. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez) (Julio Cortez)

Brazil's Neymar, right, fights for the ball with Chile's Mauricio Isla during their World Cup round of 16 soccer match at Mineirao Stadium in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, Saturday, June 28, 2014. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein) (Frank Augstein)

An Argentine fan laughs as he stands next to his recreational vehicle at the Samabdrome during the 2014 soccer World Cup in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Monday, June 30, 2014. Argentina will face Switzerland on Tuesday for a second stage match of the World Cup. (AP Photo/Dario Lopez-Mills) (Dario Lopez-Mills)

A fan of the U.S. national soccer team walks by the seaside with a U.S. flag draped over his shoulders, in Salvador, Brazil, Monday, June 30, 2014. Salvador is one of the host cities of the FIFA 2014 Soccer World Cup. (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd) (Rodrigo Abd)
BRAZIL BEAT: Waffle House vs Belgian waffles
BRAZIL BEAT: Waffle House doesn't believe in Belgian waffles before US World Cup game

Posted on June 30, 2014 at 12:32 p.m.

SALVADOR, Brazil (AP) — Waffle House doesn’t serve Belgian waffles and certainly won’t start now.

The Georgia-based restaurant chain took to its Twitter account Monday to proclaim, “We don’t believe in Belgium waffles.” Or Belgian waffles, as a follower quickly corrected. But the sentiment, a riff on American fans’ “I believe that we will win” chant,” was popular a day before the U.S. faces Belgium in the World Cup.

Restaurant spokeswoman Meghan Irwin says it’s all in good fun. Earlier, when a follower asked for the restaurant’s opinion on Belgian waffles, it tweeted: “We dominate them.”

Waffle House serves American-style waffles. Belgian waffles are bigger with a lighter batter.

In Belgium, waffles have been a part of the diet for centuries. But so-called Belgian waffles aren’t really served in that country. There are Brussels waffles and Liege waffles.

CHEAP TRAVEL

SAO PAULO (AP) — Travel doesn’t get any cheaper than the Argentine fans who have covered more than 1,000 miles in motorhomes and vans for days even without having tickets.

Penniless musicians, hitchhikers and other devoted fans began arriving Monday at the parking lot of Sao Paulo’s Sambadrome, a venue used for Carnival parades that the city opened for them to camp. Argentina is playing against Switzerland in the city’s Itaquerao Stadium on Tuesday to advance to quarterfinals.

Some fans wearing light blue and white were making noodles in a shabby pot.

“That’s what we have been eating every day,” said 48-year-old Fritz Latzina, who called himself a “professional fan,” putting nearly 3,800 kilometers on his RV since he left Buenos Aires on June 11.

Mariano Bellotti, 22, had been hitchhiking with his friend for the past six months traveling from their native Mar de Plata.

“We thought this year we will be champions, so let’s make it a trip, work odd jobs and live it to the fullest from the start,” he said.

They couldn’t afford the tickets, but they will hit the Fan Fests to support the players.

One of the vans parked at the Sambadrome stands out because of a giant sticker on its hood of Pope Francis with an Argentine flag to his right and a Brazilian one to his left.

Anticipating a final between the South American rivals, van owner Jose Alberto Brizio, 63, said, “Let the best team win.”

“But he is blessing the best one,” said Brizio, showing with a cigarette in hand that the pope is waving at his country’s flag.

— By Adriana Gomez Licon — www.twitter.com/agomezlicon

WORLD CUP DOODLES

SAO PAULO (AP) — A bright blue letter G boots ball after ball through an O-shaped life preserver hanging from a palm tree in a makeshift version of a World Cup shootout. A red “e‘‘ lounges on the sand, sipping a tropical beverage through a straw.

The Google “Doodle Team,” as it’s called, is having a blast on-site in Brazil for this World Cup, offering up soccer-themed daily animations on the home page. Multiple versions each day, in fact.

This is the first time doodles are being created outside Google’s Silicon Valley headquarters in Mountain View, California. A small group of the regular doodle team is on location in Sao Paolo.

“We’re basically compressing a process that normally takes a week or more into a few hours in order to keep the doodles fresh and relevant to the day’s matches and football fever in general,” said Ryan Germick, the Google Doodle Team Lead.

Through the tournament’s initial two-plus weeks, Google had posted 36 doodles with “everything from vine-swinging referees; to egg-laying, score-keeping eagles; to a clairvoyant octopus from the great aquarium in the sky,” Germick said.

Leading the efforts is doodler Matt Cruickshank. Cruickshank, Germick and fellow doodlers Sophie Diao and Leon Hong are working from a space they named the “inspiration room” in Google’s Sao Paolo office. There are football collectibles, an artificial turf floor and a record player with a stack of Brazilian albums.

All of the doodles from the tournament can be viewed at www.google.com/doodles.

— By Janie McCauley — www.twitter.com/JanieMcCAP

WARDROBE DILEMMA

TERESOPOLIS, Brazil (AP) — Neymar is having doubts about what to wear to his World Cup matches.

Brazil’s star attracted some attention in the team’s second-round match against Chile on Saturday after changing his cleats at halftime. Neymar played the first half with a golden boot made especially for him for the World Cup, but he came back from the dressing room wearing his regular orange cleats.

Neymar said he decided to make the change because he didn’t feel comfortable with the newer model, which he had been using for only a couple of days before Saturday’s match.

The golden boot was created by Nike in reference to the cleats Neymar used when he was a kid. He liked the color so much that he spray-painted them before matches.

Neymar’s exclusive golden model, which has the drawing of a spray can on its sole, is expected to be sold for more than $500 in Brazilian stores.

— By Tales Azzoni — www.twitter.com/tazzoni

HOWARD’S RECORD

SAO PAULO (AP) — Tim Howard never counts his caps.

Howard broke Kasey Keller’s record for appearances by an American goalkeeper when he played his 103rd international match last Thursday, a 1-0 loss to Germany.

On Tuesday night, he will make it 104 when the Americans face Belgium in the World Cup’s second round at Salvador.

The 35-year-old Howard spoke with Keller, now an ESPN analyst, in the leadup to the World Cup when the U.S. team played an exhibition game against Turkey in the New York area June 1.

“Milestones like that are important,” said Howard, a top goalkeeper in England’s Premier League with Everton. “And obviously Kasey’s dear to me in terms of being a friend and a goalkeeping mentor. I never thought I’d get that close, let alone break it. It’s a proud day.”

— By Janie McCauley — www.twitter.com/JanieMcCAP

MIDNIGHT CALL

SAO PAULO (AP) — Each time Alejandro Sabella was asked Monday about his lineup — and there were many attempts in different manners — he politely declined.

No hints whatsoever about Tuesday’s second-round World Cup match with Switzerland, and no predictions about what style each team might play.

Sabella is preparing Lionel Messi and Argentina to attack a swarming Switzerland defense. The coach must decide whether to go with Ezequiel Lavezzi in a three-man front missing striker Sergio Aguero. An injured left thigh muscle forced him to leave in the first half of Argentina’s 3-2 win over Nigeria last Wednesday.

The coach insists he might still be pondering his 11 players until midnight, and someone suggested he could announce the lineup then.

“I’m not going to say until the last minute. I think until this evening until around midnight I will think about the lineup,” Sabella said before his team practiced at Itaquerao Stadium. “You can call me if you have my phone number, but I don’t know if I will answer my phone at midnight.”

— By Janie McCauley — www.twitter.com/JanieMcCAP

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