When the U.S. national team entered Stanford Stadium in Northern California on Wednesday for its first World Cup training camp practice, it found a giant welcome banner from Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck.
The banner read: “Proud to have you boys at Stanford — Andrew Luck.”
Turns out Luck is a huge soccer fan. He spent much of his childhood in Europe while his father, Oliver, worked for the World Football League, so he played soccer and became a rabid fan. Then, his father became president of the Houston Dynamo in Major League Soccer, so Luck attended 20 to 25 games per season.
He played intramural soccer at Stanford, and is a collector of the World Cup Panini trading stickers.
Speaking of which, be sure to check your Sunday Miami Herald for a free sheet of Panini stickers.
Falcao on fence
Colombian star Radamel Falcao, recovering from knee surgery, remains unsure if he will be able to play in the World Cup.
“In the coming weeks, the decision will be made,” Falcao said. “I have been battling for many months now and working well. The knee is recovering without a setback, but all is still to be evaluated. I am hitting the ball now and have felt good. But that is one thing, just touching the ball. Another thing is to rejoin the group with maximum professional demands. … To arrive 100 percent match-fit will be impossible, because I am lacking competitive action.
“To sum up, if it feels good, I will go. If I see that I am not secure and I cannot bring anything, I will be sensible and not go.”
Samir Nasir’s girlfriend issued an apology to the French team and fans after an expletive-filled Twitter rant when Nasir was left off the World Cup roster.
Anara Atanes sent a series of angry messages directed mostly at manager Didier Deschamps.
“I apologize if i offended anyone from france, My tweets were not aimed at the nation as a whole,” she wrote on Twitter.
Nasir, who was also dropped in 2010, helped Manchester City win two trophies this season, but is considering retirement.
With the World Cup just a few weeks away, it’s a good time to start brushing up on our Portuguese. Here are some phrases that could come in handy:
• “Campo“ means field.
• “Um cai-cai” is what you call a diver, a flopper.
• “Cartao amarelo” is a yellow card.
• “Cartao vermelho” is a red card.
• “Juiz” or “arbitro” is a referee.
June 1: England national team arrives in Miami
June 2: FIFA Deadline for final 23-man rosters
June 4: England vs. Ecuador, Sun Life Stadium
June 7: England vs. Honduras, Sun Life Stadium
June 7: U.S. vs. Nigeria, Jacksonville
June 9: Ghana vs. South Korea, Sun Life Stadium
June 12: World Cup Opener, Brazil vs. Croatia, Sao Paulo