- Associated Press - Friday, June 13, 2014

MANAUS, Brazil (AP) - England tried to get out and about in Manaus on Friday, but the spirited reception from the locals in the Amazonian city made them cut their shopping trip short.

The team went to a mall to look around and experience a little bit of local flavor in the most exotic of the 12 World Cup host sites, where England plays Italy on Saturday in its opener.

Plenty of fans were there to greet them.

“I can’t believe the friendliness of the people. I can’t believe their enthusiasm,” England coach Roy Hodgson said. “But unfortunately the reception was such and the mobbing was such that we had to abort the trip.”

So short that no one was able to buy anything.

“There certainly wasn’t any shopping getting done today,” England captain Steven Gerrard said.

- By Chris Lehourites - www.twitter.com/chrislehourites

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MARACANAAAAAA!

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) - As the subway begins to slow, the next stop is announced as if it were a game-winning goal.

“Everyone get up on your feet, it’s coming! The best in the world - the Maracanaaaaaa,” bellows the voice over the public address system as the train pulls up to the station serving Rio de Janeiro’s Maracana Stadium. “Get ready to exit on your left. Everyone get up. It’s coming, it’s coming, it’s here! Ma-ra-ca-naaaaaaa!”

The boisterous advisory was developed by Rio’s subway system for the World Cup to spread a little football joy during the monthlong tournament and capture the attention of passengers whenever a station popular with tourists is approaching.

The voice belongs to Luiz Penido, a well-known football commentator from Rio’s Radio Globo.

But for all of Penido’s flash and zeal, it wasn’t enough to shake many weary office workers from an end-of-the-week slumber Friday afternoon. Either that, or they were still recovering from the late-night partying that followed Brazil’s 3-1 victory over Croatia a day earlier.

Rio’s metro is the main means of transport for fans attending matches at the Maracana. An estimated 80,000 straphangers are expected to ride its rails on match day.

Story Continues →