- Associated Press - Sunday, June 22, 2014

PORTO ALGRE, Brazil (AP) - Algeria’s coach had just steered his team to a 4-2 win over South Korea that resurrected its World Cup, its first win in the tournament since 1982. But he said his critics in the Algerian media were so bitter toward him they would have preferred to see the team lose.

“You journalists have always criticized me, but the Algerian fans have always been behind us,” said Vahid Halilhodzic, a Bosnian who took over the national side in July 2011. “It’s a pity for you. I’m sorry for you. Maybe you are sad, but this is how it is.”

Halilhodzic has long had a testy relationship with the media and the Algerian federation and has been under intense pressure to win.

After an opening 2-1 loss to Belgium, many Algerian journalists criticized his team selection and his strategy, which they judged to be too defensive. The 61-year-old spent much of his news conference Saturday defending himself.


Asked by a Brazilian journalist why his country’s media was so against him even after the victory, he didn’t speculate but answered simply: “Why not ask them? They are here in front of you.”

By Chris Brummitt - www.twitter.com/cjbrummitt

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ROAD TRIP

SAO PAULO (AP) - A group of seven Dutch men have arrived in Sao Paulo after a 13-day journey from Bolivia in an orange hippie van that dates back at least 45 years.

They like to joke that they spent more time underneath the van, fixing the engine, than traveling in it.

For the group of friends it was a trip worth making to engage others in South America in the Orange cause.

In one of the places the van broke down, they had to ask police officers if they could watch the Netherlands-Australia match last Wednesday at a station in Ribas do Rio Pardo. The town is halfway between Cochabamba, where they set out on their trip, and the city of Sao Paulo, where the Netherlands takes on Chile on Monday.

“They said, ‘You just have to be very quiet because there are criminals here who can’t see the match,’” said Udo van Heteren, a 29-year-old from Utrecht.

- By Adriana Gomez Licon - www.twitter.com/agomezlicon

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