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Page last updated at 07:43 GMT, Wednesday, 7 July 2010 08:43 UK

Wednesday's World Cup round-up

Diego Maradona
Maradona said on Sunday he would consider his future as Argentina boss

Argentina Football Association president Julio Grondona says Diego Maradona's future as the national team boss lies with the coach himself.

Maradona's team were eliminated from the World Cup when they were thumped 4-0 by Germany in the quarter-finals, and the manager has not spoken about his future in the position since he returned to Argentina.

But Grondona said: "Maradona is the only person in the country who can do whatever he wants. He still has a contract with us, so it's up to him."

Meanwhile, Argentine lawmaker Juan Cabandie - an ally of president Cristina Kirchner - has suggested erecting a statue of Maradona in the capital Buenos Aires.

He said: "The Argentine people have shown that, where Maradona is concerned, results are not important.

"Maradona has become an icon of Argentine popular culture, he is a social phenomenon and his popularity goes beyond the sporting arena."

Viewers of British broadcaster ITV's coverage of Tuesday's World Cup semi-final between Uruguay and the Netherlands might have been wondering why commentator Clive Tyldesley was doing so much talking.

The reason was that regular co-commentator Jim Beglin, due to join Tyldesley in Cape Town, was struck down by an ear infection and ITV were unable to recruit another summariser in time.

The Netherlands has woken up to an understandable case of Orange fever after the team reached their first World Cup final for 32 years.

The country's leading newspaper De Telegraaf simply led with "FINAL" on its front page, saying that the Oranje could now "smell gold". The NRC Next daily added: "Finally, icons for our couch potato generation." Reports suggested more than 80,000 people watched the match on big screens in Amsterdam's Museum Square.

The total attendance at the World Cup will pass the 3m mark at Wednesday's semi-final between Germany and Spain with an average of just over 49,000 fans attending each of the 61 games so far.

Although the total and average attendances are third in the list since the World Cup was expanded in 1982, many games in South Africa have featured empty seating with high ticket prices and poor ticket distribution claimed as reasons.

Meanwhile, German chancellor Angela Merkel has predicted a 2-1 victory for Germany.

Her hopes go against Paul the "psychic" octopus who has correctly predicted all of Germany's results in the World Cup so far. This time Paul is going for a Spanish win.

Veteran France defender William Gallas has blamed former national coach Raymond Domenech for Les Blues' disastrous World Cup 2010 campaign.

The 32-year-old told weekly publication Les Inrockuptibles: "If [the campaign] was a fiasco, then there are reasons for it. And for me there is no need to draw a veil over why: they emanated from the coach. Ok I wasn't good, we weren't good. But the coach wasn't up to scratch either."

Gallas added: "Domenech hammered into us time and again: 'Put your egos to one side'. But I believe that he forgot to do that himself."

Pop star Shakira will headline the World Cup closing ceremony on 11 July which is promised to be more "youthful and a bit more technologically advanced" than the opening ceremony in which the Colombian singer also featured.

She will once again perform the official tournament anthem "Waka Waka (This Time for Africa)".

The Uruguay squad will be treated to a lavish presidential welcome when they return from the World Cup in South Africa.

Uruguay reached the semi-finals for the first time in 40 years, where their progress was halted by a 3-2 defeat to Holland , but after a parade through the streets of Montevideo on Monday, the squad will be greeted by President Jose Mujica as well as members of his government, according to tourism and sports minister Hector Lescano.

First, they will play Germany - who lost 1-0 to Spain in the other semi-final - in Saturday's third-place play-off in Port Elizabeth.

Updated throughout the day.



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see also
Tuesday's World Cup round-up
06 Jul 10 |  World Cup 2010
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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