Arjen Robben

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Maradona rather than Cruyff is the idol behind Van Persie's ambition

As a football devotee, Robin van Persie can tell you the exact moment when, as a child, he fell under the spell of the game. It was when he watched the footage of Diego Maradona lifting the World Cup in 1986, and on Tuesday night he sounded like a man who could scarcely believe that he was one game away from doing the same himself.

Farewell Forlan, the reborn star who tamed the Jabulani

T-shirts have been on sale in Cape Town (and probably in Accra as well) to those wishing to support "anyone but Uruguay". Luis Suarez's handling offence in the last minute of the tie against Ghana rendered the South Americans unpopular semi-finalists, when the whole of Africa and much of the world beyond, was desperate to see a team from that continent among the World Cup's last four for the first time.