World Cup Debrief: Neymar's ankle problems; Mexico sick players; Saudi Arabia suffers plane engine failure

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(WFI) Neymar has lingering problems with his ankle which prevented him on Tuesday from finishing the practice session with Brazil.  While he gets treated for his injury, he also knows that he has to improve for Brazil’s next game against. And it all may start with the hair.

According to several media reports, the Brazilian star has decided to change his hairdo after legions of football fans mocked what they called Neymar’s ” spaghetti” hairstyle. 

Former Manchester United great Eric Cantona joined the bandwagon posting on Instagram a picture of himself with pasta poured over his head holding a portrait of Neymar.

"Neymar style... spaghetti al dente!" Cantona wrote.

Neymar is not the first Brazil star with bizarre haircuts at the World Cup. In 2002, Ronaldo shaved almost his entire head while leaving a small amount of hair just on top of his forehead.

Brazil won the tournament that year.

Saudi scare in the air

Saudi Arabia’s delegation is safe again and resting at its residence after a reported engine failure on their flight to Rostov-on-Don on Tuesday for its next World Cup game against Uruguay.

The Saudi Arabian Football Federation confirmed suffering a technical failure in one of the airplane engines. Despite the incident, the team posted photos of the players exiting the plane and smiling Monday night.

The Saudis were beaten 5-0 by Russia in the World Cup opener in Moscow last week. Uruguay beat Egypt 1-0 in its first game in Group A.

Brazil and FIFA at odds

FIFA’s president Gianni Infantino has announced that football’s governing body will answer the letter of complaint sent by the Brazilian Football Federation (CBF). In it, the Brazilians question the referee in charge of Sunday’s game between Brazil and Switzerland in Rostov.

Until now FIFA has insisted that the referee of that game, Mexico’s Cesar Ramos, made the right decision in allowing the Switzerland goal despite Zuber’s push on Miranda right before scoring. 

CBF also complains about a possible penalty kick that was not called against Gabriel Jesus. The Brazilians demand FIFA to release the conversations between the referees in charge of the VAR and the referee on the pitch. 

Infantino has promised that the referees of that game will be consulted about some of the decisions they made before replying to the Brazilians.

Japan overcame obstacles on and off the pitch

Japan’s victory against Colombia happened despite the rough morning on Tuesday for the Asian squad.

Not only did the Japanese players have to worry about news of a deadly earthquake in Osaka, but they also had to endure an accidental hotel alarm blaring around 5 a.m.

Coach Akira Nishino, who built his reputation coaching the club Gamba Osaka, said he and a number of his players know people who've been affected by the quake.

"The psychological impact is something I'm slightly worried about at this point," said Nishino before Japan’s 2-1 victory over Colombia.

Egypt criticism of the balls

Hours before facing Russia on Tuesday, Egypt's reserve goalkeeper Essam El Hadary said there is a "problem" with the ball used at the World Cup.

El Hadary went even further, stating that he and his fellow keepers are the "victims of FIFA".

Three free kicks were scored in the opening four days of the tournament in Russia, as many as in the entire tournament in Brazil four years ago. Meanwhile two balls burst during the match between France and Australia.

The 45-year-old El Hadary says "we are the victims of FIFA and the ever-developing football. Every four years there are new footballs more acceptable to the players than to the goalkeepers."

The "Telstar 18" ball used in Russia is a remake of the "Adidas Telstar" of the 1970 tournament.

El Hadary didn't play in Egypt's opening loss to Uruguay.

Mexico and the Flu

Mexico’s coach Juan Carlos Osorio has revealed that several of his players had the flu during his team’s victory against Germany last Sunday

Osorio says he had to make early substitutions around the 60 minute mark to give some rest to the players with the worst flu symptoms.

After the first round of matches in group F, Mexico shares the top of the standings with Sweden after the Scandinavians beat South Korea 1-0. The next game in the group will pair Mexico and Sweden.

By INSIDER Javier Monne

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