Goleo makers to sack staff
German toymaker Nici said on Wednesday it would lay off some 120 of its workers following poor sales of soft toy versions of Goleo the Lion, the World Cup mascot. Nici last week received more than 700,000 orders for the shaggy lion but said this alone was not enough to cure its financial ills, which it has blamed on the Goleo venture. It paid 28 million euros (US$35 million) for the license to produce Goleo but sales have failed to match its profit forecasts.
■ Hong Kong
Illegal Web casts popular
An estimated 40,000 households in Hong Kong have been watching the World Cup through illegal Internet broadcasts without paying a cent, media reported yesterday. Peak traffic times occurred while soccer sites operating out of China were streaming matches from state-run CCTV's broadcasts, according to the Hong Kong Internet eXchange, cited by the South China Morning Post. Hong Kong viewers can only watch the games live with a subscription from the local Cable TV station.
Tax office nabs TV
Tax officials hit a tax cheat where it hurts most on Wednesday, confiscating the man's plasma TV two days before Argentina plays Germany in the World Cup quarterfinals. It was the latest move in a "shock" campaign by Santiago Montoya, the top tax man in Buenos Aires Province, the country's biggest, to curb rampant tax evasion. Tax officials carted off the new big-screen television from a man who owes some 6,100 pesos (US$2,000) in back taxes.
Lunar ambassador sells air
A Chinese entrepreneur who once tried to sell land on the moon is offering soccer fans bags of stadium air. Li Jie, who describes himself as chief executive of the Lunar Embassy to China, is selling his "World Cup air" for 50 yuan (US$6.25) a bag. "The air was packed at the World Cup venues while the workers were cutting the grass before matches," Li told the Beijing Daily Messenger. Li suggests soccer enthusiasts who are not able to make the trip to Germany hang the bag around their neck and breathe in the air while watching World Cup matches on television. "Whichever stadium you like, I can give you its air," he added.
Spanish born to lose
Spain are destined to lose -- it's part of the whole business of being Spanish, according to AS sports daily. "We just must believe that there is something in us which prevents us overcoming at the crucial moment ... Maybe there's something deep within us," AS said in a commentary which said the defeat by France in the last 16 could be added to a long list of losses including "Cuba, Trafalgar ...."
Frings adding skin art
Germany's all-action midfielder Torsten Frings says he wants to add to his already extensive collection of tattoos. The collection of squiggles snaking down his right bicep -- including the Chinese star sign of his wife and two daughters -- and a smaller tattoo on his left arm are set to be adorned by further designs done by an old friend who has a parlor in the Netherlands, he told Bild newspaper.
FIRING BLANKS: West Brom and Burnley had conceded a combined 21 goals in their seven games, but the 47th match of the season was the first to end goalless Wolverhampton Wanderers on Monday climbed to sixth place in the English Premier League as Raul Jimenez sealed a 1-0 win at Leeds United on a night West Bromwich Albion and Burnley played out the first goalless draw in the division this season. Nuno Espirito Santo’s Wolves clinched their third league win of the campaign when Jimenez’s second-half strike deflected in off Leeds midfielder Kalvin Phillips. The Mexico striker’s third goal of the season made it back-to-back wins for Wolves after they beat Fulham before the international break. “It was a good performance with some aspects to improve. We were better in the second
China wants to unite its 1.4 billion people through soccer, while also using the sport as “a bridge to work with the rest of the world,” Chinese Football Association secretary-general Liu Yi told reporters in an interview published yesterday. Liu spoke about what lies behind the country’s push to become a major soccer power by 2050. Under Chinese President Xi Jinping — who is described by state media as an “avid soccer fan” — the world’s most populous country has grand plans to host and even one day win a World Cup. Liu spoke about “using football to motivate the whole nation.” “Football is
Maybe Kyler Murray will lose a game on the home field of the Dallas Cowboys one of these days. It was not going to be on Monday, when the Arizona quarterback watched the star running back of his hometown team have another night of “fumble-itis.” Murray accounted for three touchdowns in his first game back home as a professional and Ezekiel Elliott set up the visiting team’s first two touchdowns with fumbles as the Cardinals beat the Dallas Cowboys 38-10. The speedy quarterback, who won three high-school championships and a Big 12 title at the home of the Cowboys, improved to 7-0 as
Patrick Mahomes on Monday did not mind taking a back seat to rookie Clyde Edwards-Helaire and the Kansas City Chiefs’ running attack. With the Buffalo Bills working hard to limit deep throws by Mahomes, he gladly kept handing off the ball as Kansas City beat Buffalo 26-17 in a game originally scheduled for Thursday last week. “You know my nature, I want to throw it deep every time. We want to go down and throw these long touchdowns, but if teams are going to play us like this, we’ve got to show we can run the football,” Mahomes said. Mission accomplished. Led by Edwards-Helaire’s