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Page last updated at 14:36 GMT, Tuesday, 6 July 2010 15:36 UK

Tuesday's World Cup round-up

Uruguay players celebrate beating Ghan

Highlights - Uruguay 1-1 Ghana (4-2 pens) (UK only)

Thousands of supporters thronged Ghana's main airport to welcome home the national team following their agonising World Cup quarter-final defeat by Uruguay .

Kotoka international airport was packed with fans - many drumming and dancing - who started gathering six hours before the team's expected arrival.

National flags were waved at the players as they stepped out of the plane amid a deafening sound of vuvuzelas. Fans carried placards reading 'We love you our heroes, you made Ghana and Africa proud'.

"You've really held high the flag of Ghana and the entire African continent," Nii Nortey Duah, deputy minister of sports, told the players at the airport.

Captain Stephen Appiah said to the crowd: "We did our best but luck was not on our side but we'll go to Brazil in 2014 to be major title contenders."

Brazil's President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva is backing Uruguay to win the World Cup.

Lula, 64, who is travelling to South Africa for the World Cup final, urged Brazilians to support Uruguay as they are the only South American team left in the tournament.

"We will all be fans of Uruguay after Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay were knocked out so that Uruguay are world champions," said 64-year-old Lula.

"I have nothing against the European countries, but I want everything to be in favour of the Mercosur."

Eight-legged oracle Paul - the "psychic" octopus who has reportedly successfully predicted the winner predicted the winner in all five of Germany's games in South Africa - has bad news for fans of Joachim Loew's team.

In his latest prediction - broadcast live on national television - Paul tipped Spain to win Wednesday's semi-final against Germany.

Two plastic boxes, each containing food and a flag representing each country, were lowered into Paul's tank. And Paul opted for the Spanish box with the Spanish flag.

There is hope, however, as Weymouth-born Paul has been wrong once before, incorrectly tipping Germany as the winners of the Euro 2008 final against Spain.

Diego Maradona and his Argentina World Cup squad declined an invitation by the country's president Cristina Kirchner to be received at the presidential palace because they deemed themselves unworthy.

Kirchner also said that she had tried to speak to Maradona following Saturday's 4-0 quarter-final defeat by Germany but the 49-year-old had been too upset to talk.

"You know that this president shows her true colours to the people in the difficult moments and not just the good ones," the 57-year-old told a rally in the northern suburb of San Miguel.

"And I invited our squad to come to the presidential palace. The players refused because they felt they did not deserve such an accolade but I believe they are wrong because they all deserved it and I will wait for them. Yes, long live Argentina.

"On Saturday, Argentines were very sad. But have patience, Maradona, the squad and the country, even if the sadness, will last. I called him after his press conference on Saturday but he was not able to talk because he was crying.

"I offer my support because nobody has ever given as much pleasure on the pitch than Diego Armando Maradona gave us."

Spain coach Vicente del Bosque admits misfiring striker Fernando Torres may not start against Germany. "He continues to be an important player for us and one that the other squad members are used to," he said.

"All strikers go through good and bad runs but he brings his work rate and his personality to the team and he is still our forward.

"You should not necessarily take my words to mean that he is definitely going to be starting (the Germany match) but we have full confidence in him."

A survey in newspaper Bild has shown that 83% of Germans believe their side will win the World Cup.

Nigerian president Goodluck Jonathan said hundreds of posts on his Facebook page had helped persuade him to reverse his suspension of the national soccer team from international competitions. (Full story)

Ghana president John Atta Mills says the country's World Cup players will be rewarded with national honours and $20,000 following their performance in South Africa.

Mills told the players: "You did not win the World Cup but, through your performance, you carried high the flags of not only Ghana but Africa."

Former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan says despite Ghana's defeat in the dramatic World Cup quarter-final against Uruguay , the Black Stars were the true winners.

In a letter to the team Annan, himself a Ghanaian, said: "Heartbroken, that's how you must have felt at the end of your epic match against Uruguay last Friday. There is no other word for it. Hundreds of millions of us felt the same way."

Ghana were beaten 4-2 by Uruguay on penalties after Asamoah Gyan had missed a penalty that would have won the game for Ghana in the final minute of extra time.

Paraguay captain and goalkeeper Justo Villar has condemned Fifa for giving the World Cup to South Africa, claiming the country were not prepared to host the tournament.

South Africa has received praise from many quarters for the manner in which it has hosted the event, but Villar said: "A mountain of things happened. Like in the first game, against Italy, when we had to go to the hotel, the bus broke down - a new bus - and we had to wait 45 minutes and we had to go in taxis. FIFA only care about the stadiums and what you see on TV."

Paraguay reached the quarter-finals, where they were beaten 1-0 by Spain .

The inventor of Hawk-Eye believes the International Football Association Board could make a strong decision on the implementation of goal-line technology at a meeting in Cardiff later this month.

The debate regarding the technology has reopened following a number of incidents - most notably England midfielder Frank Lampard's disallowed goal against Germany in the last 16.

"I think most people would say that the Lampard incident and other refereeing decisions have slightly undermined the credibility of the World Cup," said Dr Paul Hawkins. "I think we will get a much clearer direction as to where football is heading after that meeting."

Former AC Milan manager Leonardo says he has not heard anything from Brazil's football chiefs amid speculation that he is one of the contenders to replace Dunga as the national team's boss.

"Honestly I don't know anything," he told Sky Italia. "I have never spoken with the Federation, the only thing I know is that which comes out in the press.

"I don't know if you can say no or yes. I'm not looking for a job, I'm looking for a dream. I have decided to make myself available to everyone.

"If I had to choose my path, maybe this would not be the right time. It's been 20 years that I've been outside Brazil.

"I have decided to make myself available. If nothing happens, I will decide after that what I will do.

"I'm giving my availability because it is the first time I have spoken. I haven't spoken in Brazil because it didn't seem to me to be the right moment."

Updated throughout the day.



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see also
Monday's World Cup round-up
05 Jul 10 |  World Cup 2010
Sunday's World Cup round-up
04 Jul 10 |  World Cup 2010
Saturday's World Cup round-up
03 Jul 10 |  World Cup 2010
Friday's World Cup round-up
02 Jul 10 |  World Cup 2010
Thursday's World Cup round-up
01 Jul 10 |  World Cup 2010
Wednesday's World Cup round-up
30 Jun 10 |  World Cup 2010


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