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Reality check

Rashneel Kumar
Wednesday, July 02, 2014

FLUKE win?

That's what many football fans called Germany's 2-1 win over minnows Algeria in the opening round of the 2014 FIFA World Cup knockout phase yesterday.

All three goals were scored in the extra time play after the Algerians gave the Germans a reality check on their status as one of the best football teams by holding them nil-all at fulltime.

Germany was superior in every facet of the play but for a team that is known for its precision, their struggle to hit the target was a shame.

In defence, Manuel Neuer had to make some grand saves in the opening spell as Algeria almost sneaked in to break the deadlock.

Andre Schurrle's opener looked like a fluke (flick) goal but if the Chelsea player mastered that play then he is a genius.

Mesut Ozil smashed the second before Abdelmoumene Djabou scored a consolation goal as the Desert Foxes ran out of time to find the equaliser.

Algeria, which made the top 16 for the first time, goes home as one of the most decorated teams from this World Cup.

They came so close to kicking Germany — the team that can eventually prevail over all — out of the tournament.

Most of their players are observing the Ramadan fast but they fought until the end and have every reason to be proud of their performance.

Germany needs to come back better prepared against France, which defeated Nigeria 2-0 in the quarters. They will have to start quicker or otherwise they will be eaten alive.

Off the field, here's an interesting article from TIME on the merchandise that's been popular with fans in the 2014 World Cup.

Jerseys (of hot players)

Early in the tournament, the top-three best-selling player jerseys, according to US sports apparel specialist, belonged to Brazil's Neymar, the World Cup's leading scorer; Robin Van Persie, the Dutch forward who scored what most observers say is by far the best goal of the tournament, an epic header against Spain; and the captain of the US national team, Clint Dempsey.

Recently, reports that Mexico's Chicharito has pushed into the site's top three for jersey sales, and sales for gear for Mexico's team in general has spiked 180 per cent.

World Cup condoms

Global sporting events like the Olympics are associated with increased demand for condoms, so it makes sense that when the sexiest country of all hosts the World Cup, it'd spur on enough condom sales to fill a rainforest.

Sure enough, the World Cup-themed Prudence brand condoms, which sell in a three-pack for around $1.39 ($F2.53) in Brazilian pharmacies, have been hot sellers.

According to Agence France-Presse, the first 850,000 packs of condoms, which were supposed to last three months, sold out in 15 days.

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