World Cup 2014 diary: Not another dreadful mascot? It's time to roll up into a ball and hide

 

Armadillo! World Cup 2014 will be a not-before-time welcome back into the limelight for a creature all but abandoned in popular culture since Harry Enfield's seminal 1990s advert for Dime bars.

Fuleco, another dreadful World Cup mascot, is based on the rare, three-banded variety. Visitor numbers to Rio Zoo have tripled since the cute creature was named World Cup mascot. Known – now – as the "football armadillo" due to their ability to roll up into the shape of a football, it is hoped the tournament's attention might address their fate: only found in Brazil, they were thought to be extinct until 1990.

Messi put his house in order

Argentina forward Lionel Messi, the world's highest-paid footballer, has scrapped plans to rent a mansion for his family outside Belo Horizonte for the duration of the World Cup because it is too expensive.

At Barcelona Messi earns £16m a year but he and his staff thought the £40,000 rent for a month-long stay was too expensive for a mansion with seven suites, 13 bathrooms and 86,000 square feet of land next to a lagoon. Messi decided instead to rent a house in Rio.

Thais try to make World Cup a free-for-all

Who says the World Cup can't spread joy and happiness? Certainly not Thailand's military junta, who, determined not to be killjoys, promised to "return happiness to the people" after last month's coup by asking officials to find a way to allow the country's soccer fans to watch the tournament for free. An official for the main broadcaster said the military had contacted the agency's chairman and asked him to arrange for all matches to be broadcast on free-to-air channels.

Skeleton aiming to score where Ross failed

Humans like Diana Ross are, as we know, fallible, so the job of kicking a ceremonial penalty to open the tournament will not be left to chance this year. Even the armadillo mascot will not be the most attention-stealing exoskeleton in town come the opening ceremony, when a robotic skeleton is expected to assist a paraplegic teen in taking the first kick of the tournament.

Twitter.com/@paul_bignell

Sport
tennisLive: Follow all the updates from Melbourne as Murray faces Czech Tomas Berdych in the semi-final
Arts and Entertainment
'The Archers' has an audience of about five million
radioA growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried
Arts and Entertainment
Henry VIII played by Damien Lewis
tvReview: Scheming queens-in-waiting, tangled lines of succession and men of lowly birth rising to power – sound familiar?
Arts and Entertainment
Taylor Swift is applying to trademark song lyrics from 1989
musicYou'll have to ask Taylor Swift first
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Joel Grey, now 82, won several awards for his role in Cabaret
people
Sport
Harry Kane celebrates scoring the opening goal for Spurs
footballLive: All the latest transfer news as deadline day looms
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee
World War Z author Max Brooks honours WW1's Harlem Hellfighters in new graphic novel

Max Brooks honours Harlem Hellfighters

The author talks about race, legacy and his Will Smith film option to Tim Walker
Why the league system no longer measures up

League system no longer measures up

Jon Coles, former head of standards at the Department of Education, used to be in charge of school performance rankings. He explains how he would reform the system
Valentine's Day cards: 5 best online card shops

Don't leave it to the petrol station: The best online card shops for Valentine's Day

Can't find a card you like on the high street? Try one of these sites for individual, personalised options, whatever your taste
Diego Costa: Devil in blue who upsets defences is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

Devil in blue Costa is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

The Reds are desperately missing Luis Suarez, says Ian Herbert
Ashley Giles: 'I'll watch England – but not as a fan'

Ashley Giles: 'I'll watch England – but not as a fan'

Former one-day coach says he will ‘observe’ their World Cup games – but ‘won’t be jumping up and down’
Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

Greece elections

In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
Holocaust Memorial Day: Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears

Holocaust Memorial Day

Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears over Europe
Fortitude and the Arctic attraction: Our fascination with the last great wilderness

Magnetic north

The Arctic has always exerted a pull, from Greek myth to new thriller Fortitude. Gerard Gilbert considers what's behind our fascination with the last great wilderness