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Page last updated at 20:13 GMT, Saturday, 26 June 2010 21:13 UK

Saturday's World Cup round-up

The France team definitely had the wrong size blankets
The France team must have had the wrong size blankets

Uruguay coach Oscar Tabarez has rivalled Eric Cantona in the oddest football soundbite stakes with a beauty about maintaining the balance between attack and defence.

Ahead of his side's last-16 match with South Korea, he said: "There's a saying among coaches that football is like a short blanket: it covers your head or it covers your feet, and if it covers your head, your toes are in the air."

Mexico coach Javier Aguirre is determined to prove wrong those who predict his side are "dead and gone" even before kick-off in their World Cup last-16 clash with Argentina.

"Nobody is betting a bottom dollar on us, the analysts are saying we're dead and gone. We will see," Aguirre said.

"I think Mexico are nobody's favourites, they don't believe we have a possibility (to win) but we will see after the 90 minutes whether we can change history. These guys are hungry, they are not afraid of success. They have no complexes."

The opening match of the knockout stages attracted the lowest crowd of six games staged so far at Nelson Mandela Bay stadium.

The official attendance of just 30,597 for Uruguay's 2-1 victory over South Korea on Saturday meant almost 12,000 seats were empty in Port Elizabeth, with more than half the corporate hospitality suites appearing unused.

The 42,486-capacity stadium was not filled for any of the five group matches it hosted, and will stage a quarter-final next Friday and the third-place match on 10 July.

Argentina coach Diego Maradona has called for journalists who criticised his team during their qualifying campaign to say sorry to the players.

Maradona, whose side have impressed so far in South Africa, said: "Many journalists should apologise to the players.

"I'm not suggesting you drop your trousers, but it would be honest and great so we all get along better."

Desperate England fans have been queuing outside the Fifa ticketing centre in Bloemfontein hoping to snap up tickets for Sunday's match against Germany.

Up to 1,000 tickets will be released for sale and 19-year-old student James Godwin said: "It will be like getting hold of a golden ticket to Willie Wonka's chocolate factory. The tickets are gold dust.

Meanwhile the "luckiest football fan in the world" has set a new World Cup world record for attending the most matches. Thulani Ngcobo, 29, has already beaten the previous record of 17, and after visiting two more stadiums today he will have seen 20 full matches.

Chile coach Marcelo Bielsa insists his side are determined to pull off a shock and beat Brazil in the second round.

"Historically, they are a team to fear," says Bielsa, aware that Brazil have put four goals past Chile in their previous World Cup meetings in 1962 (4-2 in the semi-finals) and 1998 (4-1 in the second round).

"This latest version retains all the creative footballing aspects of this country [Brazil] - to which they have added aggression and forcefulness. But we will do the impossible to ensure that things don't come to an end too soon for us."

France striker Thierry Henry has hinted he feels karma may have had a role in his country's disastrous World Cup campaign.

Henry helped secure France's place in the tournament when his handball went unpunished and led to the goal that beat the Republic of Ireland in a play-off.

But after France finished bottom of their group in South Africa, with only one point from three games, Henry said: "They always say you get what you deserve."

Nigeria captain Nwankwo Kanu has called time on his international career following the Super Eagles' exit from the World Cup in South Africa.

Former Germany number one Oliver Kahn has criticised the English game for failing to develop "world-class goalkeepers".

North Korea striker Jong Tae-Se says it's a dream of his to play in the Premier League.

United States coach Bob Bradley believes his side can capitalise on finishing top of their group, ahead of England, by reaching the final.

Bradley's side take on Ghana in the round of 16, with the winner facing either Uruguay or South Korea in the quarter-finals.

"If we continue to build on the successes so far we can go to the end," Bradley said.

"We try hard not to get ahead of ourselves but at the same time everybody has this idea that if everybody gives their best effort, if everybody puts everything they have into it and if things go our way then we can travel far."

Brazil say the protective back padding used by goalkeeper Julio Cesar in the match against Portugal has been approved by Fifa.

The padding became visible after Julio Cesar got injured and doctors had to lift his jersey.

Brazilian federation spokesman Rodrigo Paiva says the protection has a small metal strip on it.

Fifa can prohibit some devices from being used if they can cause injuries to other players. The governing body did not immediately confirm that it approved the protection.

Updated throughout the day

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see also
Friday's World Cup round-up
25 Jun 10 |  World Cup 2010
Thursday's World Cup round-up
24 Jun 10 |  World Cup 2010
Wednesday's World Cup round-up
23 Jun 10 |  World Cup 2010
Tuesday's World Cup round-up
22 Jun 10 |  World Cup 2010
Monday's World Cup round-up
21 Jun 10 |  World Cup 2010
Sunday's World Cup round-up
20 Jun 10 |  World Cup 2010
Saturday's World Cup round-up
19 Jun 10 |  World Cup 2010

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