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World Cup 2014 diary: Romance relegated to supporting role on Brazil’s big day

The events you may have missed in Brazil
  • @Paul_Bignell

Brazilian commercial types have been scratching their heads in a bid to work out how to get around the thorny issue of the tournament opening on the same date the country traditionally celebrates its version of Valentine’s Day.

Those running tacky gift stores and restaurants were encouraging Brazilians to move their romantic plans up by a day, so people’s love lives won’t get in the way of the game. The Brazilian motels association announced it had formed a partnership with beer company Brahma to promote romantic mottos such as “First I will kiss you, then my jersey” – which will no doubt go down a treat with lucky Brazilian ladies.

Fabregas’s other half could win WAG battle

It will come as both a relief and a delight to television directors, as Spain enter the 20th straight minute of passing the ball across their back line and back again, to be able to cut to the crowd and the shapely figure of Shakira. The Colombian singer, the other half of Spain centre-half Gerard Pique, is undoubtedly the Grand High Wag of 2014, but expect the lenses to linger also on the Lebanese Daniella Semaan, who steps out with Spain and now Chelsea’s Cesc Fabregas despite being 13 years his senior. She is known in Spain as “Queen DD”, which is a conservative estimation of two of her more prominent charms.

Beer and football off the menu in Brighton

Those looking to pretend the World Cup doesn’t exist need look no further than the Tea Total bar in Brighton. The alcohol-free bar opened its doors an hour before the first kick-off in Brazil last night. Landlady Pasha Du Valentine said: “Watching the World Cup would be worse than getting drunk for me.” Tea Total in Brighton is offering non-alcoholic fruit juice cocktails and miso soup instead of the usual pub favourites. Form an orderly queue now…

Salvador’s metro system faces easy first day

Brazil president Dilma Rousseff was in Salvador on Wednesday as the city’s new metro system finally opened 14 years after work began on the 5.6km network – and with two days to spare before the city’s opening fixture between Spain and Holland. Demand is unlikely to be too high immediately given that businesses are closing early to allow workers to watch the football – even staff at the city’s chamber of commerce had letters telling them they could head home at noon on the next two days.