World Cup 2022 diary: Germany hide in their castle while Cameroon dance to defeat

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World Cups can prompt a range of emotions and we saw both extremes on Thursday.

Cameroon were all smiles as they turned up for their opening game against Switzerland - although that joy turned to disappointment as they fell to a 1-0 defeat.

Germany, however, were not in playful mood - hiding away in their castle-style training ground - after the stunning loss to Japan.

Elsewhere, Louis van Gaal continues to provide happiness to others with his new-found playful side!

Here's the latest from Stats Perform's team on the ground...

Send them to the castle!

Germany's players were subjected to plenty of unfriendly headlines on Thursday.

Beaten 2-1 by Japan in their World Cup opener, Hansi Flick's men are now facing an uphill battle to qualify from Group E with Spain next up on Sunday.

What Joshua Kimmich, Thomas Muller and Co need right now is a little peace and quiet in which to reflect, and where better to get that than at the team's training base north of Doha.

It cuts an imposing structure when it appears out of the desert with red stone, four jagged towers and walls impossible to mount. Perfect for keeping positive vibes inside and unhappy journalists out!

 

Nightmare fuel for Captain America

When Tyler Adams, the United States captain, dismissed the idea of being "intimidated" by England by suggesting his only real worry was about spiders, he perhaps did not appreciate how close he was to a giant arachnid that might visit his nightmares for the foreseeable future.

Adams had appeared for his pre-match media briefing through a side door in the press conference room – as is the norm – so he had no reason to visit the main lobby of the tournament's media centre.

But a short walk outside and up the escalators would have seen the Leeds United midfielder met with a terrifying sight, as a huge spider towers over media members.

Glastonbury's fire-breathing Arcadia spider is also in Doha for the tournament... maybe just to keep Adams on his toes!

 

Dancing into the World Cup

Most modern-day footballers get off the team coach with headphones on and barely able to raise a smile.

Step forward Cameroon! The Indomitable Lions made quite the entrance ahead of their World Cup opener against Switzerland.

Singing, dancing and bringing a little bit of west Africa to the Middle East.

And it was a Cameroon-born star that scored the only goal. Unfortunately for Rigobert Song and his men, it was Breel Embolo who plays for Switzerland after moving to Europe as a child.


Hugs all around

Louis van Gaal is always good value in press conferences, and Thursday's preview of the Netherlands' clash with Ecuador was no different.

Plenty of journalists have been getting selfies with managers and players after those press conferences at the Main Media Centre, yet matters went a step further this time, when a Senegalese journalist took the mic.

"I do not have a question," the reporter said, which drew despair from FIFA's media officer and laughs from the rest of the room. "I wanted to take the opportunity to say how much I like you, you are my idol and a great coach.”

With a wide smile, Van Gaal replied: "I can hug you, I'll give you a big fat hug later on. And really, honestly, people don't often say these things to me. So I'm going to give you a big fat hug."

As promised, the reporter got his hug – and a selfie to boot!

You had one job…

With crowds generally nowhere near capacity so far at the World Cup, organisers are working extra hard to create something of a pre-match buzz.

For the most part, it comes across as artificial and often annoying as loud music is unnecessarily blared out and the match "hosts" shout too loudly into their microphones, seemingly convinced noise equals atmosphere.

What makes it all look even dafter is when they play the wrong pre-match montage on the big screen!

We aren't convinced playing a video will alter the supporters' excitement or nerves anyway, but let's say Roger Milla, Samuel Eto'o or FIFA president Gianni Infantino – all of whom were in attendance – needed an extra shot of anticipation, they'll have been looking on bemused on Thursday.

The screen instead showed a montage that was supposed to be played before France v Australia. Someone forgot to change the video tape!