SAO PAULO — A stray bullet grazed the neck of a 7-year-old boy near a site where thousands had gathered to watch a large-screen broadcast of Brazil playing Mexico in the World Cup host city of Fortaleza, police said Wednesday.
Police said they are investigating the cause of Tuesday’s shooting. No one else was hurt and the hospital where the boy was being treated says his wound was not life-threatening.
Meanwhile fist fights broke out between Australian, Dutch and Brazilian fans that had gathered near bars and restaurants of Porto Alegre, a day before The Netherlands and Australia were to meet in the Estadio Beira-Rio there.
The G1 Internet news portal posted a video showing one man with a gun in a holster, though he did not draw the weapon. Police quickly dispersed the crowd and no one was arrested or hurt.
In downtown Sao Paulo, police used pepper spray on fans trying to force their way into a fan fest locale to watch the Brazil-Mexico game. Police said the area had been sealed off because it had already reached its capacity of 25,000 spectators.
Some fans hurled bottles and metal crowd-control barriers at police, injuring 15 people, none seriously.
Protest in Brazil
A Brazilian homeless workers group that said it would not stage protests during the World Cup has nevertheless held a demonstration in Sao Paulo a day before the city hosts its second match there.
Several thousand members of the Homeless Workers Movement protested on Wednesday to demand more low-cost housing in the city of 11 million.
The group said right before the monthlong World Cup began that it had reached an agreement with the government and wouldn’t protest during the soccer tournament. But group members said they are now protesting against city councilmen they say are trying to block rules that would help them get more affordable housing.
Key player out for England
England coach Roy Hodgson says Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is not fit enough to face Uruguay at the World Cup on Thursday.
The 20-year-old Arsenal midfielder injured knee ligaments two weeks ago in a warm-up match against Ecuador.
England plays Uruguay in Sao Paulo after losing 2-1 to Italy in its opening match in Group D.
Dancing in the streets
BELO HORIZONTE, Brazil — Dozens of Chileans paraded through a posh shopping and restaurant district in Belo Horizonte, beating drums, waving flags and dancing in the streets after their team knocked Spain out of the World Cup in Rio De Janeiro.
The Chileans had watched the match in the open-air terraces outside cafes and restaurants in the Savassi district, some of whose streets are more reminiscent of Barcelona than Brazil.
The hated man
MANGARATIBA, Brazil — Thiago Motta got a taste of what he was in for when he was jeered every time he touched the ball during a World Cup warmup match with Brazilian club Fluminense.
Then there were more whistles when the midfielder came on in the second half of Italy’s win over England on Saturday.
Born in Brazil, Motta gained Italian citizenship through his grandfather, who was Italian, and was on the Azzurri squad that reached the final of the European Championship.
The local fans here consider him a traitor.
“I’m not thinking about (the whistles) that much,” Motta said Wednesday. “I feel like an Italian born in Brazil.”
SAO PAULO — Don’t text and drive. But how about don’t watch the match and drive?
Many Brazilian cab drivers are watching the World Cup games on the screens on top of their dashboards normally used to display GPS maps. With the heavy traffic of Sao Paulo, South America’s largest city, and limited parking options in the tourist and business districts, it’s the only way they get to watch the tournament.
PORTO ALEGRE, Brazil — The Netherlands team got a royal seal of approval after its hard-fought 3-2 win over Australia.
Sports-loving King Willem-Alexander, a former International Olympic Committee member, is a regular cheerleader of Dutch sportsmen and women ranging from field hockey players to footballers and speedskaters, and he wasn’t about to miss the chance of another celebration after flying to Porto Alegre for the Group B World Cup match.
“The king and queen were in the changing room and congratulated us,” coach Louis van Gaal told reporters. “That was fantastic, beautiful.”
SALVADOR, Brazil — He bounces down the palm tree-lined avenue running along a beach in this northeastern Brazilian city, excitedly waving to cars zooming by on their morning commute.
Arioste Farias, a 66-year-old retiree, has become something of a local celebrity in this World Cup city — for spreading his intense cheer and often receiving big smiles, waves and high-fives in return.
So what drives Farias to spread the love?
“I often see that people’s minds are full of regret, as if they have done something wrong,” he said recently, taking a brief break from his duties to delight. “But you don’t need to be so hard on yourself. You don’t need to be so stoical.”
Even in a nation known for its convivial people — Brazilians routinely rank among the “happiest” populations in international polls — Farias’ exuberance stands out.