Maradona beats Pele and Beckenbauer in poll to decide all-time greatest team

World Cup Diary

Thursday 30 January 2014 05:12

* In a vote to name the all-time greatest team, Maradona received 111,035 votes to start in midfield. Pele, who led Brazil to three World Cup titles, was the top striker with 107,539 votes. Starting up front with Pele was Johan Cruyff (53,645 votes) and Romario (29,480). Also in midfield were Zinedine Zidane (80,527), Roberto Baggio (55,625) and Michel Platini (53,783). The defence was comprised of Franz Beckenbauer (81,442), Paolo Maldini (58,523) and Roberto Carlos (58,200). Lev Yashin (24,587) was picked as the best goalkeeper.

* Fabien Barthez has pledged to continue playing for France despite their elimination, though he did say: "Nothing can console me, nothing. I didn't see anything coming, and by the time I turned around we were back in Paris." Bixente Lizarazu will also continue until Euro 2004.

* Spain are two goals away from their 900th international goal. Raul scored the 800th, in a 9-0 win over Austria just over three years ago.

* Cut it like Beckham? Japanese hairdressers have been inundated with requests for hairdos modelled on his groundbreaking crop. "I'm a fan of Beckham, but I don't think I look like him at all," said office worker Kazuo Koyama, 39, after his makeover.

* The United States' victory over Mexico may have only been seen in 1.98 million households – but that makes it the most-watched men's game on cable TV ever between 1 a.m. and 6 a.m. Yet the squad should not expect promotional riches. "Right now soccer is not in the loop," said Andrew Rohm, a marketing professor at Northeastern University's business school. "The World Cup games are on at ungodly hours, so no one's watching them."

* Japanese police arrested 18 fans as thousands of die-hards took to the streets to cheer Japan's team despite their elimination. Six of those were arrested for indecent exposure in Osaka, where more than 900 people jumped off a downtown bridge into the city's polluted Dotombori River.

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