The Rio Report

5 crazy things you missed: North Korea ‘tells citizens they’re in the final’

The Rio Report

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North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un poses with the national football team during a training session. Okay, not really. …

Some of the best stories at the World Cup come and go so quickly that if you're not quick, you can miss them. And when that means you could miss some of the funniest, quirkiest tales from the tournament, that's a real shame.

Luckily, we're here to trawl through the virtual recycling bins and make sure you don't miss any of the good stuff. Here's today's selection:

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1. North Korea to face Portugal in World Cup final

The North Korean state news agency is well known for being fanciful with the truth, particularly when sports reporting is concerned.

After all, they once reported that Kim Jong-il took just 34 shots to play an 18-hole round of golf - an astonishing day on which he made 11 holes-in-one.

And a news report that hit the internet on Saturday night appeared to be very much in the same vein, telling the citizens of the shadowy regime that their men had made it all the way to the World Cup final where they would play Portugal. Quite some achievement, considering that they failed to qualify.

The report apparently tells the tale of how the North Koreans beat Japan 7-0, USA 4-0 and China 2-0 en route to the final match in Rio de Janeiro.

Sadly, most voices on the web suggest that this is merely a spoof rather than a real news report smuggled out of the country.

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2. Lionel Messi revealed as huge fan of Lionel Messi, as Lionel Messi literally sings praises of Lionel Messi

After the nailbiting Argentina victory over Holland in the semi-finals (okay, let's admit that it was deathly dull until the shootout), you could forgive Argentina fans, in their exuberance, for claiming that star player Lionel Messi would go on to lead them to glory in the final.

And it's even more understandable when that claim is made in the course of a song which has swept through Argentina supporters in Brazil (a song whose references are so arch to local ears that the whole of Brazil got firmly behind Germany for the final, incidentally).

But it's rather less understandable when the claim is made by Lionel Messi, literally singing his own praises. It's like watching one of those game show chumps who joins in the clapping when being given a round of applause by the audience for getting a question correct.

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3. The Arjen Robben Piñata

A Piñata, for the uninitiated, is basically a big donkey that Mexicans whack with a stick at parties, partly for the hell of it, and partly to break it open and get at the sweeties hidden inside.

They are often donkeys, but can be made of anything - and in Mexico now, it seems that a diving Arjen Robben is the piñata's latest form of choice. Not so much for the filled with sweets, of course, but for the purposes whacking of the cheating Dutchman with a big stick.

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4. Nine-year-old girl tries best to cheer up David Luiz

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(Pic: https://ec.yimg.com/ec?url=http%3a%2f%2finstagram.com%2fp%2fqSt8VvjHXh&t=1436174652&sig=i6jFjuM9B_b2Z70B5Wj83Q--~C)

Just a week ago, David Luiz was on top of the world of football: the former Chelsea star had been sold to PSG for £50 million just before the World Cup, and had just scored a belting free-kick to put Brazil into the World Cup semi-finals.

Then, on Tuesday night, the greatest moment of all: leading his country out as captain in that semi-final, with Thiago Silva's suspension meaning that Luiz had the opportunity to lead a nation of 200 million people into the World Cup final.

Less than half-an-hour later his dreams had evaporated: Brazil were 5-0 down, out of the tournament, and Luiz's failures in defence were already being pinpointed as the chief problem. Thank goodness, then, for little Ana Luz, who penned the above letter to cheer him up -and charmed the world as she did so.

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5. A History of the 2014 World Cup in 22 objects

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The incredibly dodgy staircase at unfinished stadium

Okay, so telling a story via the medium of objects has been done before.

But never at a World Cup, so far as we know; never, that is, until now.

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