In Switzerland, police have warned that the tooting of horns may last only an hour after any World Cup victory, and that they'll arrest people who ride atop cars. In Amsterdam, the bars get to stay open an hour later (!) even if outdoor beer taps still are forbidden and, really, who knew?
In South Korea, there's bickering over whether the commission examining the sinking of the Sewol ferry should wait until after the World Cup because it might not get sufficient attention until then. In Mexico, there's bickering over whether the Congress should be debating opening the state-owned oil industry during the World Cup when nobody will pay attention, with a political analyst reassuring everyone by telling E. Eduardo Castillo of the Associated Press, "People don't follow congressional debates" anyway.
In host Brazil, the government has negotiated an agreement with the Movement of Homeless Workers to minimize protests.
The world hopes. In highly hopeful Belgium, King Filip saw off the hot-pick team by hoping for "a shower of goals," while the team-plane pilot, Filip Aerts, told the VRT network he'd "rather not think about the fact that a squad of players with an estimated value of 340 million euros is among his passengers." In highly hopeful Portugal, President Anibal Cavaco Silva saw off to Brazil the Cristiano Ronaldo-led team by proclaiming them ambassadors.
In highly hopeful Russia, State Duma Speaker Sergei Naryshkin hoped the team could continue a string of recent Russian success, and included in that string the annexation of Crimea.
In Brazil, a friend in Sao Paulo writes, "Before, people were complaining, but now you can see flags everywhere. I feel sad about it. But the population has the government that it deserves."
The world prays. In Uruguay, meet team doctor Alberto Pan, who has been updating the breathless subject of the whole 31-day, 32-team event: When might Luis Suarez play? In the Ivory Coast, defender Koko Toure will play despite having malaria, and there's some suggestion that Yaya Toure's injury situation might have prompted a prayer vigil. In Japan, people have been climbing the stone steps at the Nihonjinja shrine in Honjo to pray for the Japanese team.
The world diverts. In Ecuador, President Rafael Correa, that notable Fighting Illini alumnus, hopes for a "big role" from the Tri-Color while noting they "lack a little explosion and surprise." Colombia will hold a big presidential run-off election on Sunday, but a first World Cup berth in 16 years took precedence for many. In Greece, the continuing prowess of the national team distracts a bit from the financial crisis.
The world opines. In Spain, 150,000 people voted in a poll about the starting 11 in Marca, the big sports daily, with 90.9 percent favoring Iker Casillas in goal, proving you can always find 9.1 percent contrarians. In France, where you can find more than 9.1 percent contrarians -- or perhaps realists -- three percent of the respondents in L'Equipe think France good enough to reach the final.
In Cameroon, ahead of the Cameroon-Mexico match for which FIFA named a Colombian referee, fans with little knowledge of geography are chiming in with posts such as, "You guys are right. I don't trust this Colombian referee. Why do they have to choose a South American to referee the match?" Regarding Argentina and the best-of-all-prospects of an Argentina-Brazil final, the Argentina great player and mouth Diego Maradona said the Brazilian great Pele should go "back to the museum," and that an Argentina win over Brazil would be "like an orgasm."
In the United States, for the purpose of opining, ESPN hired one . . . Landon Donovan.
The world watches -- or tries to. In Pula, western Croatia, people can watch their team on a large HDTV screen, in the best-preserved Roman arena in the world, an amphitheater from the 1st century A.D. In Germany, where that five-hour time difference from Brazil makes a late-night chore, unions have asked that workers might start later come mornings.
In troubled Nigeria with its terrorism fears, a government media representative recommended that fans of the nation's beloved Super Eagles avoid "motor parks, restaurants, markets, supermarkets, shopping malls, drinking joints, parks, gardens, banks, churches, mosques, hotels, viewing centers and hospitals." In a Sarajevo that knows about war, the writer Aleksander Hemon notes in the New Republic that the city's Liberation Square has changed temporarily to "The Dragons' Nest" in honor of the Bosnia and Herzegovina team that serves as sentimental favorite for anyone with any sentiment.
China did not make the World Cup, but the fever is high enough that apparently one can make money selling fake sick notes to workers. India would never make the World Cup -- this isn't cricket -- but it revels, especially in the soccer hotbed of Kolkata.
The world moves. A Ghanaian travel agency has schooled Brazil-bound fans of the Black Stars, including reminding them to bring their yellow fever cards. The world sells. In sublime Costa Rica, the government plans a World Cup publicity campaign in other countries (including ours), including a commercial in which it takes only 10 seconds to see an astounding beak. The world quivers. In Honduras, with the modest expectation of hoping to win a game, the newspaper La Tribuna called Honduras "one of the countries that starts to vibrate on Thursday."
The world unites. In Algeria, where some fans looked forward to the World Cup with pyrotechnics and a pitch invasion at a friendly, there's support for the Algerian team from a musical group in neighboring Tunisia, even though Tunisia did not make the World Cup. The world doesn't unite. In Brazil, an Argentinian fan broke his finger when three Brazilian fans tried to rip away his Argentina flag.
The world laughs. In England, marvelous England, there's the kind of glory that seems to sprout only from media in England, as assistant coach Gary Neville may have given away strategy secrets (a midfield pressing game!) by holding his papers in a photographable position. In Italy, the state TV network Rai might field a lawsuit from the Archdiocese of Rio de Janeiro because it ran an ad with Christ the Redeemer wearing a digitally donned Italia football shirt. In Australia, with Group B hard as hell and expectations low as . . . hell, bookies have weighed how many goals the Socceroos will score in three group matches and have established as favorite the numeral zero.
In Rio de Janeiro, prostitutes are offering specials for English clients -- 16 pounds for 30 minutes! -- revealed in yeoman reporting in the Mirror from Jeremy Armstrong and Andy Lines.
The world teaches. In Iran, the head of the Environmental Protection Organization finds a "powerful message" in the team's Brazil shirts and the depiction of endangered Asiatic cheetahs. The world learns. In Chile, the cultural center Matucana 100 will let the wave submerge it and show a soccer film festival of sorts, including Offside, the 2006 film about girls yearning to play soccer in Iran.
The world preens. A Patricia Jordane, 21, posed for Playboy. Her distinction? She used to date Neymar, the 23-year-old Brazilian star on whom this whole thing rests.
Here goes the world, again.