Father wants 'scapegoat' Ozil to quit German team

The father of Mesut Ozil said Sunday his son should quit Germany's national squad after he was "made the scapegoat" for team’s shock first-round World Cupdefeat. Pressure had already been mounting on Ozil in the World Cup run-up over a photograph with Turkey President Tayyip Erdogan that was seized on to question his loyalty to Germany. Germany's team boss Oliver Bierhoff sparked a new round of outcry suggesting Ozil should have been dropped after his failure to publicly clear up the Erdogan meeting. "This statement is insolent. In my opinion, it is aimed at saving one's own skin," said the mid-fielder's father Mustafa Ozil.

 

Brazil's Fernandinho target of racist insults

Brazilian midfielder Fernandinho and family members have been victims of racist insults on social media since his World Cup own goal on Friday, when Brazil was eliminated by Belgium in the quarterfinals of the World Cup in Russia. Several internet users referred to the Manchester City player as a "monkey," while some even threatened to kill him after Brazil's 2-1 loss. The player's wife, Rosa Glaucia, also found her Instagram account full of insults. Fernandinho's mother had to close her Instagram account due to the heap of offensive comments on her profile. Shocked by the racist messages, dozens of internet users rushed to Fernandinho's defense on social networks.

On the Mundo Negro site, which specializes in black culture, a message illustrated by a photo of Fernandinho underscored that "the defeat of Brazil and the own goal do not justify racism. Nothing justifies racism. We are with you Fernandinho." On Friday night, TV Globo journalist Glenda Kozlowski wept in front of the cameras, talking about how distraught the player's family was.

 

Fernando Hierro leaves job as Spain coach

Fernando Hierro, who stood in as Spain coach when Julen Lopetegui was sacked on the eve of the World Cup, will not continue in the role, the Spanish football federation said Sunday. Under the former Real Madrid and Spain defender, who had little previous coaching experience, Spain lost on penalties to Russia in the last 16. "After travelling many kilometres together, the Spanish Football Federation and Fernando Hierro have put an end to their relationship," the federation said. Hierro declined to return to his previous job as the federation's technical director and "will undertake new professional challenges", the federation wrote.

Spain were tipped among the favourites until Lopetegui caused chaos by announcing he would become Real Madrid's new coach after World Cup. The federation, fearing a split between Barcelona and Real players, sacked Lopetegui two days before Spain's opening game against Portugal. He described it as the saddest day of his life since the death of his mother. Andres Iniesta, who scored the winning goal in 2010 final, retired after defeat to Russia.

 

Brazil exit 'the saddest moment’ in Neymar’s career

Neymar has expressed his anguish after Brazil were knocked out of the World Cup on Friday, losing 2-1 to Belgium in the quarter-finals. "I can say it is the saddest moment of my career, the pain is great because we knew we could get there, we know we had a chance to go far, to make history... But it wasn't to be this time," he wrote in an Instagram post. "It is difficult to find the strength to want to go back out and play football, but I am certain that God will give me sufficient strength to face up to anything," Neymar added. "Very happy to be part of this team, I am proud of everyone. They interrupted our dream but they have not taken it from our heads or our hearts."