World Cup: Brazil asks FIFA to overturn Silva ban

World Cup: Brazil asks FIFA to overturn Silva ban
July 6, 2014, 2:00 pm
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Thiago Silva is suspended for Brazil's next game after being shown a second yellow card of the tournament against Colombia. (AP)

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RIO DE JANEIRO -- FIFA says the Brazilian football confederation is trying to overturn captain Thiago Silva's ban for the World Cup semifinal against Germany.

FIFA spokesman Delia Fischer says its disciplinary committee is "analyzing materials" submitted by the confederation.

Thiago Silva is suspended for Tuesday's match in Belo Horizonte after being shown a second yellow card of the tournament in 2-1 quarterfinals victory against Colombia.

The defender impeded Colombia goalkeeper David Ospina's attempt to kick the ball downfield.

Yellow cards traditionally cannot be overturned.

Argentina: Di Maria injury a setback
BRASILIA, Brazil -- One step away from a potential World Cup final, Argentina is hoping for Angel Di Maria to recover from a thigh injury in time for Wednesday's semifinal clash against Netherlands.

The Real Madrid winger strained the back of his right thigh in Argentina's 1-0 win over Belgium, and was to undergo medical tests on Sunday to discover the extent of the injury.

Losing Di Maria would be a big blow for Argentina as it prepares for its first World Cup semifinal since 1990. Besides Lionel Messi, he's been Argentina's most influential player in Brazil.

Di Maria scored the extra-time winner against Switzerland in the second round and set up Gonzalo Higuain's winning goal in the first half against Belgium on Saturday.

"He's a key player in this project," Higuain said of Di Maria. "We hope that he will be ready as soon as possible because we know what he does for the team."

Germany: Schweinsteiger fit for late World Cup stage
PORTO SEGURO, Brazil -- Bastian Schweinsteiger's fragile left knee has been a matter of concern for weeks and the reason the Germany midfielder started the World Cup on the bench. Now he's fit again just as the tournament gets into the decisive stage.

Germany coach Joachim Loew considers Schweinsteiger one of his key players, the man who controls the pace of his team's game and sets quick transitions in motion once he wins the ball.

But Schweinsteiger was on the bench when the tournament started because he was not yet fully fit after a lingering knee injury that forced him to miss of Germany's pre-World Cup training camp.

He has been in the starting line-up for the last three games and says Loew was right to give him time to get back in shape.

World Cup: Crowds top 2nd best average in history
RIO DE JANEIRO -- World Cup attendances are set to achieve the second-highest average in tournament history.

FIFA says the average crowd after 60 matches in Brazil is 52,762, beating the 52,491 mark for the 2006 World Cup in Germany.

The record was set in the United States at the 1994 World Cup, when an average of 68,991 attended the 52 matches in a 24-team tournament.

More than 3.16 million spectators have attended in Brazil, with stadiums filled to 98.3 percent capacity, FIFA says.

With four matches left, the total attendance is set to approach 3.4 million.

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