The Rio Report

5 crazy things you might have missed: Spain’s on-bench beautician

The Rio Report

Every day, the World Cup throws up dozens of amusing, disturbing and downright shocking stories. As well as a few football matches, of course.

But we realise that you don't have all day, every day to trawl the web for amusing titbits to keep you entertained; luckily, that's why we're here.

So here's our daily selection of the best stories of the World Cup that might have passed you by in the last 24 hours or so.

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1. Diego Costa gives beauty treatment to team-mate while on bench during match

If we hadn't seen this with our own eyes, we'd not have believed it: this really is Spain's star striker Diego Costa waxing the legs of Spain's star midfielder Xabi Alonso while the pair were on the bench and, theoretically at least, watching their team-mates playing Australia.

We're as baffled as you are.

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2. Netherlands fail to park the Van for first time in 20 years

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Robin van Persie was suspended for the Dutch side's final group stage match, having picked up a pair of yellow cards in the opening two matches.

And while it didn't slow Louis van Gaal's men down much - they beat Chile to top Group B - it meant that the Netherlands fielded a team without a player called 'Van' something for the first time in 18 years.

That previous match, incidentally, was a Euro '96 warm-up match in which they beat China 2-0.

Conspiracy theorists please note: that is the exact same scoreline by which they beat Chile on Monday. And Chile, like China, is a five-letter word that begins with the letters 'C', 'H', and 'I'.

SPOOKY!

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3. "Next time I'll rip your head off!"

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‘I’ll rip your head off!’ Spain’s Jordi Alba fires verbal volley at reporter

Spain left-back Jordi Alba has never struck us as a particularly violent type, but he certainly came across that way when picking a fight with Spanish journalist Javier Gomez Matallana after the Australia match on Monday.

Matallana, who works for Spanish newspaper AS, was trying to grab players for a post-match chat when Alba apparently stormed up to him and screamed "next time I'll rip your head off!"

Now, nothing unusual in that you might think, considering some of the scurrilous stories that appear in the Spanish press.

But Matallana insists that he "doesn't remember ever having written anything at all" about Alba in his entire career.

Yet Alba was insistent he had the right target, following up with, "Yes - yes - next time! I'm warning you!" before apparently having another go at him as he boarded the plane home.

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4. German fans under investigation for allegedly 'blacking up' to watch Ghana match

No matter how much fun everyone is having, the disturbing spectre of racism always seems to hover over football - and the same, sadly, has proven true after a group of fans 'blacked up' to watch the group stage match between Germany and Ghana.

FIFA are currently investigating the incident, and may yet bring a case against the German FA.

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5. The race for the Golden Boot should already be over

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Five things we spotted in Brazil: Golden Boot could have been decided

With goals still flying in at this World Cup at the highest rate since 1954, the quest for who wins the Golden Boot - awarded to the top-scoring player of the tournament - looks set to be one of the most intriguing underlying stories.

Neymar currently leads the way with four goals in his three matches so far - but one player should already be so far ahead of the rest as to be almost out of sight. That man is France's Karim Benzema.

A bizarre mix of bad luck has blighted the Real Madrid striker: he had one goal technically credited as an own goal because it ricocheted in off a post and the goalkeeper's back, another chalked off because the referee blew for full time while a goal-bound, long-range shot was still whistling through the air; and he also had the misfortune to take the only penalty of the tournament so far that has been saved.

Not that he's out of the running: he still has three goals, and every chance of claiming the most coveted, yet least-wearable footwear in sport.

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