BRAZIL BEAT: Brazilian, Argentine fans clash

Associated Press
Argentina supporters cheer during the group F World Cup soccer match between Argentina and Iran at the Mineirao Stadium in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, Saturday, June 21, 2014. (AP Photo/Victor R. Caivano)
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BELO HORIZONTE, Brazil (AP) — A large group of mostly Brazilian and Argentine World Cup fans got into a large street clash early Saturday, tossing beer bottles and insults at one another.

Police said the action took place around 2 a.m. in Belo Horizonte, where Argentina is playing Iran.

Police say they have no reports of injuries and would not confirm if there were any arrests.

It's not clear who started the fight.

In eyewitness videos of the incident, a group of a few dozen Argentina fans are seen waving their country's flag and hurling beer bottles at Brazil fans about 50 meters away.

The Brazilians responded with their own volley of bottles, while some fans took cover under large beach umbrellas.

The violence elicited boos from bystanders, while clusters of Brazilians taunted Argentines by chanting, "We're five-time champs!"

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DIRK'S PRIORITIES

FRISCO, Texas (AP) — Mavericks star Dirk Nowitzki had to make sure organizers of his celebrity baseball game in the Dallas area knew where the 7-foot German's priorities were.

The annual charity event with his name on it was set for the first pitch about four hours after the start of Germany's World Cup match against Ghana on Saturday. It certainly tightened the window for Nowitzki's pregame activities.

"I told them I can't come here before 4:30," Nowitzki said the day before his game, drawing laughs from reporters. "I can't leave in the second half of a tight game."

Of course, Germany could always make things easier for the country's most famous basketball player by doing what it did to Portugal in the opener — taking a 3-0 halftime lead. Even then, it'll be hard to pull Nowitzki away from the TV.

"For every German, it's huge," the 2011 NBA Finals MVP said. "We have to watch every game. I had my jersey on for Game 1. I had my scarf. So I'm ready to roll."

— By Schuyler Dixon — www.twitter.com/apschuyler

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MARADONA MAKES IT

BELO HORIZONTE, Brazil (AP) — Diego Maradona made it into the stands this time.

After claiming he was blocked from watching his country play its World Cup opener, the Argentina great sat in the crowd Saturday at Mineirao Stadium for the match against Iran.

Maradona, who captained Argentina to the 1986 World Cup title, has been one of FIFA's fiercest and most regular critics. The sport's governing body said that he simply didn't have the proper credentials last Sunday.

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STILL SINGING

SAO PAULO (AP) — Luiz Antonio Mazzulli still plays his guitar and sings six nights a week at Cantina Roperto, a landmark since 1941 in the heart of Sao Paulo's Italian neighborhood, Bixiga. He has been a fixture here for 17 years.

At 72, Mazzulli is loving every minute of it, playing a mix of Italian and Brazilian favorites and a few classics such as Tony Bennett's "Tender is the Night" and "From Russia With Love" by Matt Monro.

And Mazzulli — whose grandfather is from Calabria, Italy, his mother's family from Spain — still keeps a day job in the cardiology and geriatrics office of his niece.

For the past five years at the bustling Cantina Roperto, Mazzulli has been spending from 8 p.m. to midnight Monday through Saturday entertaining a late-night dinner crowd that often sings right along.

"It's not a job. It's my pleasure to play my guitar," Mazzulli said.

He once had a monthlong gig in 1984 on a cruise ship that left Brazil for Buenos Aires and on occasion would make a stop in Uruguay, with the well-known rough waters on that voyage.

"For me, it was a party," said Mazzulli, who grew up in the Brazilian countryside city of Sorocaba and came to Sao Paulo to work for his sister in her psychiatry business.

Mazzulli began taking guitar lessons at 13 but never had formal voice instruction, saying, "I just taught myself."

He walked to a wall of photos in the restaurant and points to former Brazilian President Fernando Henrique Cardoso — and there is a striking resemblance.

"They say I look like Cardoso," Mazzulli said, then walked away to play another song.

— By Janie McCauley — www.twitter.com/JanieMcCAP

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Associated Press reporters will be filing dispatches about happenings in and around Brazil during the 2014 World Cup. Follow AP journalists covering the World Cup on Twitter: https://twitter.com/AP_Sports/world-cup-2014

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