'The physio nicked it for me'

Former Ireland international Matt Holland and Barnet boss Martin Allen dropped by Baker & Kelly Not in Rio this week and swapped some entertaining stories about their football memorabilia. Click here to hear how Holland bagged himself a World Cup match ball and how Allen took home Johan Cruyff's shirt after playing against the great Dutchman in a friendly match.

Fly me to the moon

It is highly unlikely that the four semi-finalists will be found wanting for motivation with the World Cup within their grasp, but Holland may find a little extra having been offered a truly out-of-this-world bonus should they go all the way. Dutch firm XCOR Space Expeditions has offered a free flight to every member of the squad in their single passenger rocket-powered Lynx that orbits at over 100km. If you fancy a spin yourself it will set you back a mere US$95,000.

 

 

No love lost there then

If you didn't know already, Brazil and Argentina don't get on. Watch how these Argentina fans delighted at the news their World Cup rivals had lost the services of Neymar to a back injury - with a plastic model of a spine.


Argentinos debocham da coluna de Neymar by Genizah

Everyone is laughing at FIFA - again

The sport's governing body opened themselves up to yet more ridicule this week with the latest edition of their 'Castrol Index'. According to the much-heralded and data-based scoring system the best player in the World Cup has been France's Karim Benzema who somehow heads Colombia's James Rodriguez - the tournament's outstanding talent - in the ranking. Brazil's Neymar must settle for 8th spot while Argentina's Lionel Messi languishes in 13th place. Go figure? Or if you have the time watch FIFA's explanation of their workings...

Is Louis just lucky?

Holland boss Louis van Gaal may have been lauded for his tactical decisions, the most recent of which was the introduction of replacement keeper Tim Krul just for their penalty shoot-out against Costa Rica, but BT Sport columnist Mike Calvin is not convinced by his supposed 'genius'.

"Louis van Gaal is a maverick, who possesses the potential to be the managerial equivalent of Eric Cantona at Manchester United, but let’s not assume too much, too soon." Click here to read his column in full

Smile returns to Rodriguez' face

Colombia appear to have shrugged off the disappointment that greeted their agonising quarter-final exit at the hands of Brazil going by this latest dance lesson that delighted the thousands that welcomed the team home.

Brazil are pumped for Germany showdown

We may have stumbled across the reason for Brazil's rather physical approach of late - a diet of brutal UFC action. Check out some members of the squad getting fired up watching their compatriot Lyoto Machida take on Chris Weidman in the main event at UFC 175. He lost. Watch out Germany.

The road to the semi-finals

With two days without football on our hands and the prospect of just four more games in the tournament, we have been forced to to seek solace in the cracking images captured in the tournament to this point.

Check out our gallery tracing how the semi-finalists made it to the final four

David Luiz celebrates after putting Brazil 2-0 in front