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From Russia with love… Brief stories from the World Cup

Iceland coach Heimir Hallgrimsson makes a call for fans to turn up for their next game against Nigeria © AFP / Jonathan NACKSTRAND

MOSCOW, Russian Federation, Jun 18AFP Sport takes a look at some of the stories you may have missed at the World Cup:

Iceland’s call to fans

Iceland coach Heimir Hallgrimsson has issued an urgent plea for his fellow countrymen to turn out for their date with Nigeria in Volgograd on Friday.

Icelanders were vastly outnumbered by Argentinians in their famous 1-1 draw with Lionel Messi and company in Moscow’s Spartak Stadium on Saturday.

“Strangely we had difficulties in buying tickets. It was sold out for Iceland,” he said at the post-match press conference.

“I can’t see where all the Argentinians bought their tickets because we could have sold much more in Iceland. We’ll have to discover (how to get) more for our next games.”

Ramos, Vazquez and VAR

Spain midfielder Lucas Vazquez has a VAR doppelganger according to teammate Sergio Ramos © AFP / PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOU

Sergio Ramos did a double take when he thought he spotted his Spain and Real Madrid teammate Lucas Vazquez in charge of VAR during Mexico’s win over holders Germany.

Ramos published a photo of the Vazquez lookalike on Twitter, to which Vasquez told Ramos: “If they put me in charge of VAR you wouldn’t be on the pitch for more than five minutes!”

Thumbs down for museum all-nighters

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Kaliningrad’s culture and tourism chief Andrei Yermak says the World Cup host city has had to shelve its plan to keep museums open at night on game days because almost no one showed up after Saturday’s Croatia-Nigeria match.

“Only a handful of people visited our museums after the match. The idea did not prove very popular.”

Iceland’s 0.4 percent

“The other 0.4 percent was on the pitch!” Iceland striker Alfred Finnbogason responds to a tweet pointing out that 99.6 percent of the Nordic nation’s 330,000 population watched them hold football superpower Argentina to a 1-1 draw in their World Cup debut on Saturday. Finnbogason scored Iceland’s goal.

Brandt’s selfie

Germany forward Julian Brandt criticised over a selfie © AFP / Yuri CORTEZ

Germany winger Julian Brandt found himself in hot water back home after taking a selfie with a fan in the immediate aftermath of the World Cup holders’ shock opening loss to Mexico.

The Bayer Leverkusen star explained: “I was heading for the tunnel, and this young boy came up and shouted at me. At the time you don’t think, you just please the kid.”

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