Croatia in nude ban, French cop arrested


CORLUKA-BRAZILZAGREB, June 16- Croatia’s World Cup squad have launched a World Cup media boycott in protest at the publication of photos of players swimming naked at their Praia do Forte base.

The pictures notably featured international defenders Vedran Corluka and Dejan Lovren swimming naked in their hotel pool.

“This is not only in Croatia, it is spreading throughout the world,” said coach Nico Kovac after the photos appeared on several Croatian online news sites.

“It’s easy for me to talk but I’m not part of this story. I respect their opinion. What can I do? I cannot pull them by the ears and say “let’s go talk to media”.

Croatia lost their opening World Cup match 3-1 to hosts Brazil in Sao Paulo on Thursday.

Cop busted

Brazilian police have detained and charged a French policeman on holiday in Rio for using cannabis and trying to bribe officers.

The 27-year-old was found to have a joint and two sachets of cannabis on him and had offered Brazilian police cash to let him go, a police spokesman told AFP.

No anthems

The World Cup Group E clash between France and Honduras got off to a bizarre start as the national anthems for both sides were not played before kick-off.

Both teams lined up for the anthems as usual but were then instructed by the referee to go through the protocol of shaking hands when no music for the anthems began.

The players then had to wait for several minutes till the game could start at the scheduled 4pm (1900 GMT) kick-off time.

A FIFA spokesman was unable to immediately give an explanation as to why the anthems hadn’t been played.

Braving war

Young Syrian opposition activists living with the constant dangers of more than three years are war are braving bombardment by government forces and jihadists’ threats to watch their favourite World Cup teams.

In Raqa province, controlled by powerful jihadist group the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), one young activist and avid football fan risked the extremists’ anger to sneak out to watch Spain play the Netherlands.

“Members of ISIL raided the cafeterias on the first day of the World Cup, and forced the young people to go pray,” said the activist who identified himself as Abu Ibrahim.

“Football, they said, distracts the mind from worshipping God. So I watched Friday evening’s match, Spain-Netherlands, at a friend’s house. We were worried they might raid us there, so we made sure not to make a sound even when there was a goal,” he said.