BRAZIL BEAT: Breakfast pasta on menu for France

Associated Press
France's players run on the field during a training session at Santa Cruz stadium in Ribeirao Preto, Brazil, Saturday, June 28, 2014. France will face Nigeria on Monday in the round of 16 at the World Cup. (AP Photo/David Vincent)

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RIBEIRAO PRETO, Brazil (AP) — Good morning. Pass the pasta, please.

France's lunchtime kickoff against Nigeria is going to shake up the players' eating habits, and that's not to everyone's liking.

France played its three Group E games in the late afternoon, but Monday's round of 16 match in Brasilia kicks off at 1 p.m. This means players have to eat the equivalent of their lunch for breakfast.

"That means eating pasta from 9 o'clock in the morning," France defender Bacary Sagna said.

Munching on spaghetti carbonara that early might prove an arduous task for some.

Sagna, however, is used to it from his playing days with Arsenal in England, where lunchtime kickoffs are fairly common and where most games start at 3 p.m.

Games in the French league traditionally start at 8 p.m., so the France-based players on the team — like Paris Saint-Germain pair Blaise Matuidi and Lucas Digne — may find it hard to stomach.

— By Jerome Pugmire —



BERLIN (AP) — A Berlin court has upheld a woman's right to peace and quiet after 10 p.m. and ordered her neighbors to keep their doors and windows closed when they watch late Germany matches.

The court in the German capital's Neukoelln district ruled this week that there must be no "noise, particularly in the form of collective singing, bawling and loud shouting" from the neighbors or visitors on their balcony after 10 p.m. when Germany plays. A repeat offense could incur a fine of up to 250,000 euros ($340,000).

Berliners, like other Germans, are supposed at least in theory to keep the noise down between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. Because of the time difference with Brazil, many of this year's World Cup matches have kicked off at 9 p.m. or later in Germany. Organizers of outdoor viewing events were allowed to apply for exemptions from the noise rules.



RECIFE, Brazil (AP) — Security staff at the Arena Pernambuco in Recife were faced with a terrible reality: They were working while Brazil was playing at the World Cup.

How to watch the knockout game from Belo Horizonte?

You need: a bit of shade, a wooden crate turned on its side and a tiny mobile TV screen.

The small group set up their own viewing center on the outskirts of Recife's World Cup stadium, using the crate to prevent the glare of the sunshine from spoiling the view as they huddled around the device perched inside.

Although Brazil has given its more than 200 million people a national holiday each time the home team has played, and the Brazil-Chile second-round game fell on a Saturday, World Cup stadium staff and others, like taxi drivers, have to watch while they work.

— By Gerald Imray —



BERLIN (AP) — For Cologne's Gaffel brewery, it seemed like a good idea — incorporating the flags of the 32 nations participating in the World Cup onto the label of its Koelsch beer.

But the promotion got it into trouble with Iran, whose embassy objected to a beer bottle carrying the flag of the Muslim nation, where the consumption of alcohol is prohibited in line with Islam's teachings.

Gaffel spokesman Michael Busemann said Friday that the brewery hadn't considered it might be a problem and removed the Iran-flagged beer about three weeks ago from its production line after it received a letter from the embassy.

He says it was a simple decision: "We didn't want to offend any religious feelings."



RECIFE, Brazil (AP) — World Cup tourists using public buses in Recife are in for the ride of their lives.

The No. 503 bus driven by Uiraquitan Batista is completely covered in Brazilian flags and yellow and green paraphernalia. It also blasts the forro music popular at the festivities going on during the month of June in Northeast Brazil.

Wearing a top hat with the Brazil flag, Batista drives around the city hopping up and down in his seat as he dances to the upbeat music he plays and welcomes passengers with an ear-to-ear smile.

Soon passengers are chanting along with the forro music and dancing together inside the bus, sometimes with Batista's colleague, bus fare collector Eduardo Martins, who wear a green and yellow wig.

Though the World Cup inspired Batista to decorate his bus in support of the Brazil national team, this 44-year-old bus driver always had a taste for festive decorations.

"It's a way of identifying yourself with the passengers and saying I'm doing what I like," said Batista, who has been a bus driver for 20 years and has been decorating his workspace for 12.

"I show it at every party: Saint John, Christmas, New Year's and Carnival," he added.

For commuters used to moody drivers and endless traffic, the atmosphere Batista created makes the ride a pleasure rather than a daily nightmare.

"This way we go to work lively," said Maria Antonia Chaves, who occasionally is lucky enough to hop onto Batista's bus.

"I love it. I love forro, and I love his good mood," she added.

Batista and Martins took an entire day to decorate the bus with flags, banners and other objects, which were paid for by their bus company. In fact, the company liked Batista's idea so much that it asked him to alternate routes every weekday from 5 a.m. to 2 p.m. to benefit passengers in all parts of Recife.

"It's a therapy for passengers. It brings them happiness, joy. Everyone who gets on likes it, takes pictures, films it and shares it on social media," Martins said proudly.

— By Renata Brito —



RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Brazil's government says a hacker breached the Twitter account of the nation's federal police and posted false word that there was a bomb threat in the World Cup stadium where Brazil took on Chile.

The hacked message was posted about an hour before kickoff Saturday and said that there "was a confirmed bomb threat" in the stadium in the city of Belo Horizonte, and that "an evacuation is not being ruled out."

The office of the Brazilian presidency said on its own Twitter account about an hour later that the message was false. The fake message was removed.

Brazil's government websites and those related to the World Cup have been targeted by hackers in recent weeks. But nobody immediately took credit for this incident.


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:

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