- Associated Press - Thursday, June 26, 2014

BELO HORIZONTE, Brazil (AP) - When the coach needs to lighten up, squirt some water on him.

That’s what Ezequiel Lavezzi did during Argentina’s 3-2 win over Nigeria, and his teammates seem to think it’s a good idea.

Lavezzi, a known jokester, was receiving instructions from Alejandro Sabella during Wednesday’s match when he sent a squirt from his water bottle right in the coach’s face.

Sabella didn’t flinch and just kept talking.

Midfielder Ricardo Alvarez said Thursday it’s the kind of thing everyone on the team has come to expect from Lavezzi, also known as “el Pocho,” or the chubby one.

“We know el Pocho and we know the personality he has,” Alvarez said. “These things do good for the group, having a person like el Pocho who is always happy and in a good mood.”

After the match, a smiling Lavezzi explained his move by saying he thought the coach needed to lighten up.

What Sabella thought of it remains unclear.

- By Karl Ritter- www.twitter.com/karl_ritter



FORTALEZA, Brazil (AP) - Veteran Greece midfielder Costas Katsouranis is available to play for his country in Sunday’s knockout round match against Costa Rica after sitting out a game because of a red card, but fans are hoping he stays on the bench.

A Facebook page unsubtly titled “No to Katsouranis against Costa Rica” has gone viral, picking up more than 90,000 likes, from football supporters who view the 35-year-old Benfica player as slow and bad-tempered.

Katsouranis played an important part in Greece’s qualification run and has 113 appearances for the national team, including its stunning victory at the 2004 European Championships.

But in Brazil, Katsouranis’ absence in the final group match against Ivory Coast forced lineup changes that saw Greece score its first goals of the tournament for a 2-1 win.

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