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Six things we have learned from the World Cup so far

19 June 2014 18:32

We take a look at six talking points to emerge from the opening week of the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.

1. There is now a new meaning to 'Flying Dutchman'

The 'Flying Dutchman' was the name of a legendary 17th-century ghost ship that can never make port and is doomed to sail the oceans for eternity.

However, the moniker can now be applied to Netherlands forward Robin Van Persie, whose remarkable lobbed header in a 5-1 win over defending champions Spain prompted a social media storm, with countless tweets featuring images of people imitating his diving finish.

2. It really is always Balotelli

Mario Balotelli got off to a great start in Brazil when he scored the winner in Italy's 2-1 victory against England and claimed the man-of-the-match award just for good measure.

The Milan forward subsequently did his bit to fuel the intrigue that surrounds him by posting a picture on his Facebook page, showing the Italy squad section of this year's official tournament sticker album filled with images of himself.

Unsurprisingly, the Balotelli-heavy photo was accompanied by the caption 'WHY ALWAYS ME?'

3. Cameroon can get angry, very angry!

Cameroon were thought to have a reasonable chance of progressing to the last 16, despite being drawn in a difficult group alongside Brazil, Mexico and Croatia.

However, following a below-par display in a 1-0 defeat to Mexico, the wheels fell off against Croatia on Wednesday.

Alex Song was red carded for foolishly elbowing Mario Mandzukic in the back and Croatia duly romped to a 4-0 victory, with things going from bad to worse for Volker Finke's men as Benoit Assou-Ekotto headbutted team-mate Benjamin Moukandjo in the closing stages.

4. Brazilians hit the high notes

As hosts, Brazil's players have been immensely patriotic so far.

The renditions of the national anthem - Hino Nacional Brasileiro - in the games against Croatia and Mexico were rousing and passionate to the point that several players have been moved to tears.

There's nothing wrong with a bit of passion and this Brazil side appear to have it in abundance.

5. FIFA eager to highlight new technology

Goal-line technology has been used for the first time at a World Cup and it has become apparent that FIFA are a bit too keen to show it off.

Even if the back of the net is bulging following a 30-yard screamer, a global audience of millions still need to be shown that the ball crossed the line.

6. Taxi for tiki-taka?

By winning back-to-back UEFA European Championship titles either side of their victory at the 2010 World Cup, Spain secured a place among the greatest football sides in history.

However, any hopes Spain had of retaining their world crown are already over, with defeats to Netherlands and Chile, the former by an astonishing 5-1 margin, eliminating Vicente Del Bosque's side.

After such an embarrassing campaign, a fundamental squad overhaul looks likely and possibly even a change in philosophy.

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