Nigeria’s players miss out on bonuses of around R125‚000 each

William Ekong of Nigeria looks on as referee Sandro Ricci awards a penalty to Croatia during the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia group D match between Croatia and Nigeria at Kaliningrad Stadium on June 16, 2018 in Kaliningrad, Russia.
William Ekong of Nigeria looks on as referee Sandro Ricci awards a penalty to Croatia during the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia group D match between Croatia and Nigeria at Kaliningrad Stadium on June 16, 2018 in Kaliningrad, Russia.
Image: Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Nigeria’s loss to Croatia in their World Cup proved expensive in many ways‚ while Uruguay brought about a double-whammy on Wednesday.

SowetanLIVE also has news from Germany‚ Denmark and Iceland in our World Cup diary!

EXPENSIVE MISTAKE

Nigeria’s players missed out on bonuses of around R125‚000 each after losing their World Cup opener to Croatia.

That is the amount agreed upon by the Nigeria Football Federation for each victory in the group phase of the tournament‚ just heightening the disappointment for the side.

They can still pick up that amount though if they beat Iceland in their second game on Friday‚ with the NFF denying reports that had upped the amount to around R187‚500.

The team had also been promised an additional US$50‚000 (R625‚000) per win by sponsor Aiteo‚ while Nigeria's Senate President Bukola Saraki said he would match that figure.

Losing is an expensive business …

NO DIVISIONS IN GERMANY SQUAD

Germany forward Thomas Mueller admits there has been problems with divisions in the squad in the past‚ suggesting club allegiances have been brought into the national team‚ but he says this is not the case at the 2018 World Cup.

"In 2012‚ it was an issue with the Dortmund players and the Bayern players eyeing each other suspiciously and we didn't have the best kind of chemistry back then but it is totally different today‚" Mueller said.

"Of course a few players sit together who get on well. It's a natural thing. I sometimes change tables at meal times because I am a variable kind of guy‚ a multi-purpose eater.

“Are there factions and little groups in the squad? No. I have seen it happen.”

Champions Germany lost their World Cup opener 1-0 to Mexico and take on Sweden in their second game on Saturday.

TWO BIRDS‚ ONE STONE

Luis Suarez’s lone goal against Saudi Arabia on Wednesday had the double effect of knocking both the Middle East side and Egypt out of the tournament.

African has already lost two of its five sides in the finals with Morocco also ousted‚ despite a bright showing against Portugal‚ where they dominated the match but could not score‚ no doubt drawing sympathy from Bafana Bafana fans around the world who know that feeling all too well.

Egypt will play the Saudis in their final game on Monday as they seek to leave the competition with the consolation of a first ever World Cup win.

HELPING OUT A MATE

Talk about a helping hand from your mates … when Jonas Knudsen’s partner gave birth to a baby at the weekend‚ he was marooned with Denmark at the World Cup.

However‚ the entire squad of players clubbed together to hire a private jey so that he could make a whistlestop visit back home for 24 hours and see the newborn.

"We are human beings before footballers‚ I'm a father myself‚" Denmark goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel said.

"We wanted to make a gesture‚ we did everything so that he could return home."

NO SEX PLEASE‚ WE’RE … ICELANDIC?

A week into a major finals and journalists begin to run out of questions to ask‚ as was evident when the Iceland team were up for their pre-match press conference.

A scribe asked the captain Aron Gunnarsson if sex was banned during the tournament‚ to which he replied: "For the time being‚ yes."

But that is only‚ it seems‚ because the players’ wives and girlfriends are only due to arrive at the tournament on Thursday‚ after which it will be “game on” according to coach Heimir Hallgrimsson.

"At least as long as the wives have not arrived. No‚ sex is not banned‚ it's bullsh*t‚" he said.

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