César Stops Two Penalty Shootout Kicks to Help Brazil Defeat Chile

World Cup 2014

Júlio César is being heralded as Brazil’s saving grace…

The 34-year-old Brazilian footballer, the national team’s goalkeeper, emerged as Brazil’s hero on Saturday after Brazil squeaked past Chile 3-2 in a penalty shootout to advance to the FIFA World Cup quarterfinals.

Julio Cesarorld

After the teams played to a 1-1 draw over 90 minutes of regulation and 30 minutes of extra time at Mineirao Stadium in Belo Horizonte, César – a goalkeeper for Major League Soccer (MLS) club Toronto FC – stopped penalty kicks by Mauricio Pinilla and Alexis Sanchez. The match then ended when Gonzalo Jara’s blast clanked off the post.

Brazil’s shootout goals came from David Luiz, Marcelo and finally Neymar, who calmly fired a strike into the left part of the goal after first trying to gauge where Chilean goalkeeper Claudio Bravo would be moving.

The match was played on even terms until the 18th minute, when David Luiz scored from just a few feet away from the goal line after Thiago Silva headed the ball his way following a corner kick.

It initially appeared that the ball had gone in the net off Jara’s foot.

Chile got the equalizer in the 32nd minute when Eduardo Vargas took advantage of a Brazilian defensive blunder and centered the ball to Alexis Sanchez, who fired a perfectly placed strike past a diving César.

Brazil then had a couple of chances before halftime, but a header by Neymar was deflected away by Jara and then a blast off the foot of Fred sailed over the crossbar.

In the 54th minute, Hulk appeared to score the go-ahead goal when he received a cross and fired a shot past Bravo. But English referee Howard Webb waived it off and gave the forward a yellow card, ruling that he had lowered the ball with his arm.

Brazilian coach Luiz Felipe Scolari then sent on Jo and Ramires to replace Fred and Fernandinho, respectively, but they were unable to provide the creative spark needed to break down Chile’s resistance.

Bravo’s heroics also were key to keeping the match tied, as he stopped a header from Neymar and a powerful strike from Hulk before the end of the second half.

In extra time, Brazil dominated ball possession but had no answer for Chile’s all-out defensive tactics.

La Roja also proved dangerous with the few chances it had, with Pinilla blasting a shot off the crossbar shortly before the end of extra time.

With the win, the Brazilians, who are seeking their sixth World Cup title, advance to a quarterfinal match on July 4 against Colombia, which defeated Uruguay 2-0.

Lopez’s “A.K.A.” Lands Atop Billboard’s Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums Chart

And then there were three for Jennifer Lopez

The 44-year-old Puerto Rican singer/actress and returning American Idol judge’s eighth studio album A.K.A. has landed atop Billboard’s Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart with 33,000 copies sold in the week ending June 22, according to Nielsen SoundScan.

Jennifer Lopez

A.K.A.’s debut at the summit marks her third No. 1 on the chart (and eighth top 10).

Lopez previously ruled with J.Lo in 2001, her best-selling album to date (3.8 million), and J to the L-O! The Remixes in 2002.

Simultaneously, Lopez boasts two titles on the Billboard Hot 100: Pitbull‘s official FIFA World Cup song “We Are One (Ole Ola),” on which she and Brazilian pop star Claudia Leitte are featured (No. 85), and her new set’s second single “First Love,” which debuts at No. 87.

Messi Scores Two Goals Against Nigeria to Tie Neymar at the World Cup

World Cup 2014

Lionel Messi is proving his critics wrong at this year’s FIFA World Cup

The 37-year-old Argentine soccer star – his country’s team captain – has lit up the World Cup stage with four goals in his first three games, matching Brazil’s Neymar, his fellow teammate at FC Barcelona, for the most goals so far.

Lionel Messi vs. Nigeria

Messi, who has had to contend with critics who say he never delivers when playing in an Argentina jersey, has now scored more times in this tournament than his previous two World Cups combined.

Messi’s wwo goals against Nigeria in Wednesday’s 3-2 victory helped Argentina secure the top spot in Group F and move the team into the Round of 16.

“Messi is one heck of a player,” Nigeria coach Stephen Keshi told reporters. “You can’t take that away from him. He’s blessed. I think there are other players in the Argentina squad who are very strong, but Messi is from Jupiter.”

Messi left Argentina for Spain at the age of 13 — a move which led many in his homeland to question whether he had taken on a Catalan identity by the time he grew into one of the world’s greats.

That myth will surely be extinguished should Messi lead his country to its first World Cup triumph since 1986 — and the signs are increasingly encouraging.

He has now scored 42 goals in 88 international appearances while playing with an energy which suggests he may have been saving his best for last following a relatively poor season at Barcelona, which was interrupted by injury.

His last-gasp goal which secured a 1-0 win over a valiant Iran was a moment of magic which will long be remembered.

That goal, which came just moments after Diego Maradona — arguably Argentina’s greatest ever player — had left the stadium, appeared to signal his arrival as the nation’s new hero.

Messi, who turned 27 on Tuesday, said the perfect birthday gift would be the World Cup title — and given his recent performances, it looks like that’s quite possible.

Messi’s Late Goal Kicks Argentina Into the World Cup Round of 16

World Cup 2014

It came late in the game, but Lionel Messi still performed a stunning magic trick to prove why he’s commonly ranked as the world’s best soccer player.

The 26-year-old Argentinean footballer, a four-time Ballon d’Orwinner, finally found a way through Iran’s defensive wall with an awe-inspiring goal in stoppage time on Saturday to lead Argentina toa tense 1-0 victory, earning his team a place in the FIFA World Cup round of 16.

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Iran had defended solidly throughout the game and took the match to Argentina in the second half, creating several chances to win the Group F game and cause a tournament sensation.

But Iran was punished for those missed chances when Messi picked up the ball about 20 meters out and smacked a shot into the left-hand side.

“In the first half, we had four or five clear chances to score a goal, and in the second half they complicated things for us with counterattacks,” Argentina coach Alejandro Sabella said, “but having Messi resolved everything.”

It was another instance of Messi’s brilliance, and showed why he’s been voted world player of the year four times. Messi, getting a rare touch, quickly moved the ball toward his dangerous left foot and fired a curling shot just beyond the reach of the diving goalkeeper and into the left corner of the net.

“When I saw that I had scored I was very happy, because we were in added time already and wanted to qualify for the next phase,” Messi said.

Up until that point, he had been kept quiet by Iran’s stoic defending, while Argentina had at times been exposed to counterattacks.

“It was a difficult game to be honest,” Messi said. “They were able to close up at the back, so it was difficult for us to break down the defence. It was very hot for us.”

Iran had several chances to win it, especially in the second half. The best came in the 67th minute, when midfielder Ashkan Dejagah’s powerful header from close range was tipped just over the bar by Argentina goalkeeper Sergio Romero.

“We know that it would be a difficult, tense match,” Romero said. “Thank God I could get my hand on the ball and it didn’t go in. Messi then rubbed his magic lamp and we won.”

Ruiz Leads Costa Rica Past Italy and Into the World Cup Round of 16

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Bryan Ruiz has scored one of the most important goals of his career to help Costa Rica pull off one of the biggest upsets of the 2014 World Cup.

The 28-year-old Costa Rican footballer and national team captain’s header, the first goal World Cup of his career, in the 44th-minute cemented the team’s victory over Italy 1-0 in the Recife, Brazil.

Bryan Ruiz

Costa Rica showed their 3-1 win over Uruguay was no fluke as they took the game to Italy in impressive style. Los Ticos now lead Group C on six points

Ruiz’s header, the biggest goal for his team in the last 24 years, has resulted in Costa Rica’s return to the Round of 16 for the second time in its history — the first was in 1990.

“Maybe there are a lot of people who didn’t have faith in us because we were in the ‘Group of Death’,” said Ruiz in a post-game interview. “But the dead are the other ones and we’re going to the next round.”

The result also guarantees England‘s first-round exit from the tournament. It’s the first time since 1958 that England has been eliminated in the group stage of the FIFA World Cup.

Italy and Uruguay, who meet on Tuesday, each have three points but Italy’s superior goal difference means they need only a draw to go through.

Netflix to Premiere Muniz’s Soccer-Themed Documentary “This is Not a Ball”

It looks like Vik Muniz will be kickin’ up some futbol fun in the United States, just in time for this year’s FIFA World Cup.

Netflix has slated a June 13 premiere in the U.S. and Latin America for the documentary This is Not a Ball, directed by the 52-year-old Brazilian artist, as soccer fans gear up for the upcoming World Cup.

Vik Muniz

Produced by Televisa’s film division Videocine, This is Not a Ball follows Muniz as he explores the world’s passion for soccer while creating an art piece consisting of 20,000 soccer balls.

The film visits nine cities and includes an interview with famed astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson.

This Is Not a Ball

“This is Not a Ball is a groundbreaking story about the universal value of soccer and the true meaning of ‘the ball’ through the lens of a very talented production team and amazing partners such as Televisa,” said Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos.

The World Cup kicks off June 12 in Sao Paulo with an inaugural match between host country Brazil and Croatia

Rousseff: The World’s Most Powerful Latina

For the forth straight year, Dilma Rousseff has managed to retain her title as the most powerful Latina in the world.

Dilma Rousseff

The 66-year-old Brazilian president—the first woman ever to hold that office—ranks No. 4 on Forbes’ recently released The World’s Most Powerful Women 2014 list.

It’s the magazine’s definitive annual guide to the extraordinary female icons and leaders, groundbreakers and ceiling crashers who command the world stage.

Dilma-Rousseff

Rousseff, who dropped two spots from her No. 2 rank in 2013, is heralded as “one of the world’s most powerful heads of state.” She’s more than halfway through her term as president of Brazil, the world’s seventh-largest national economy with a GDP of nearly $2.4 trillion. The country is hosting the FIFA World Cup in 2014 and the Olympic Games in 2016.

Rousseff criticized the U.S. for spying during her opening speech at the UN General Assembly this fall and cancelled a state visit over reports that the National Security Agency was intercepting her emails.

Mary Barra

Mary Barra, the first woman to head General Motors, moves up 28 spots from last year’s list to come in No. 7 in 2014.

As the highest-ranking woman at GM, the 52-year-old Latina executive has played a vital role in the company’s restoration, successfully overseeing an array of recent vehicle introductions. She has received high-level recognitions for her contributions to her field, including being named the No. 1 most powerful woman in the automotive industry by Fortune and among the “50 Latinas Who Rock Fortune 500 Companies” by Latina magazine.

Barra took the reins of GM in January and in April was summoned to appear in front of the U.S. Congress to answer for faulty ignition switches linked to 13 deaths, saying “I am deeply sorry.” But the 33-year veteran, who began at the company at 18 while working toward an electrical engineering degree, remained poised and confident under fire. Her leadership, she said, will bring about a “new GM” able to regain customer trust.

Maria das Graças Silva Foster

Maria das Graças Silva Foster, the CEO of Brazil’s state-controlled oil company Petrobras-Petróleo Brasil, moves up two spots to come in at No. 16 this year.

The 60-year-old Brazilianbusiness executive escaped a childhood in a favela on the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro to become a chemical engineer and later the first female CEO of Petrobras. After 30 years with the company, she has the experience and connections (including Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff) to make running a company with assets exceeding $100 billion work. The company posted $141 billion in sales and it continues to anchor Brazil’s economy as it invests in vast underwater oil field exploration off the nation’s coast.

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The next Latina on the list: Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, who rises from No. 26 in 2013 to No. 19 this year.

The 61-year-old Argentinean president, who reigns over a country with the world’s highest inflation rates, is still trying to make amends with global creditors after the $95 billion default on its foreign debt in 2002. And it’s working: this year marks the first time Argentina has received loans from international creditors since then. The offers, including talk of $1 billion from Goldman Sachs, follows a $500 million settlement with five foreign companies. Kirchner legalized same-sex marriage in 2010, and in April announced she’ll be godmother to a lesbian couple’s child; they made the ask on Facebook.

Here’s a look at the other Latinas on the list…

No. 25 Michelle Bachelet, President, Chile
No. 32 Sofia Vergara, Actress
No. 58 Shakira Mebarak, Singer
No. 89 Gisele Bundchen, Supermodel

Click here to see the complete list of honorees.

Rimando Named to the United States’ Final Squad for the 2014 FIFA World Cup

It appears Nick Rimando will be a gol man in Rio de Janeiro next month…

The 34-year-old half-Mexican American soccer player has been named to the United States’ final 23-man squad for the 2014 FIFA World Cup.

Nick Rimando

Rimando, currently a goalkeeper for Real Salt Lake in Major League Soccer, was the first-choice keeper at the 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup.

He’s known for his sometimes unusual technique and for his remarkable reflex saves from short distances.

But Rimando isn’t the only Latino player named to the U.S. squad…

Omar Gonzalez has been named to the roster in the Defenders category.

Last March, the 25-year-oldMexican American soccer star, currently playing for the LA Galaxy in the MLS, was given the start at central defense in the United States’ 0-0 draw in a World Cup qualifier against Mexico at Mexico City’s Estadio Azteca. He was called “the man of the match by a clear margin” by ESPN’s Jeff Carlisle.

Also making the list: Alejandro Bedoya.

The 27-Colombian American, who plays professionally for French club Nantes as an attacking midfielder or winger, made the list in the Midfielders category.

Bedoya was named to the preliminary 30-man roster for the 2010 World Cup, and played against the Czech Republic in a tune-up friendly, but was cut from the final 23 roster.

Before traveling to Brazil, the Americans will play Azerbaijan on May 27 in San Francisco, Turkey on June 1, in Harrison, New Jersey, and Nigeria on June 7 in Jacksonville, Florida.

Here’s a look at the United States’ final 23-man squad for the World Cup.

Goalkeepers: Brad Guzan (Aston Villa), Tim Howard (Everton), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake)

Defenders: DaMarcus Beasley (Puebla), Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City), John Brooks (Hertha Berlin), Geoff Cameron (Stoke City), Timmy Chandler (Nurnberg), Omar Gonzalez (LA Galaxy), Fabian Johnson (Borussia Mönchengladbach), DeAndre Yedlin (Seattle Sounders FC)

Midfielders: Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake), Alejandro Bedoya (Nantes), Michael Bradley (Toronto FC), Brad Davis (Houston Dynamo), Mix Diskerud (Rosenborg), Julian Green (Bayern Munich), Jermaine Jones (Besiktas), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City)

Forwards: Jozy Altidore (Sunderland), Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders FC), Aron Johannsson (AZ Alkmaar), Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes)

Shakira Releases Official Video for the World Cup Anthem “La La La (Brazil 2014)”

Shakira is having a World (Cup) of fun in her latest music video…

The 37-year-old Colombian superstar has released the official music video for “La La La (Brazil 2014)“, her new 2014 FIFA World Cup anthem.

Shakira

In the video, Shakira shows off her energetic dance moves in a black floor-length dress while a bunch of people play soccer.

To help her get the world moving, Shakira recruited some big names in soccer, including her boyfriend Gerard Pique, to make cameo appearances.

The “Hips Don’t Lie” singer’s beau flashes a big grin in the clip, happily singing a little part of the song alongside his Futbol Club Barcelona teammates including Cesc Fabregas, Lionel Messi and Neymar.

But Shakira’s son with Pique, Milan, steals the show with his apperance.

“La La La (Brazil 2014)”, featuring Brazilian musician Carlinhos Brown, is a World Cup-themed rework of her track called “Dare (La La La)” which appears in her recently released self-titled album Shakira.

Shakira partnered with Activia for the new version, saying, “With ‘La La La (Brazil 2014)’ we want to make a small contribution so that everybody knows about the outstanding work the World Food Programme is doing to fight hunger.”

Shakira previously recorded “Waka Waka (This Time for Africa),” the official song of the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

Pitbull Kicks Off a Night of Latin Performances at the Billboard Music Awards

This year’s Billboard Music Awards had a decidedly Latino feel… Not only did Jennifer Lopez become the first Hispanic artist (and woman) to win the coveted Icon Award, but the show featured several high-octane performances from Latino musicians, including Pitbull.

Pitbull, Jennifer Lopez & Claudia Leitte

The 33-year-old Cuban-American rap superstar, joined by la Lopez and Brazilian singer Claudia Leitte, kicked off the night with an energetic performance of their new single ‘We Are One (Ole Ola),” the official 2014 FIFA World Cup anthem.

Pitbull kicked off the perforamnce with several scantily clad dancers backing him up, then kicked it over to Lopez, whose gold-fringed outfit sparkled in the lights. Leitte finished out the song.

No surprise, the performance featured strong soccer imagery as this year’s World Cup is right around the corner.

Pitbull, Lopez and Leitte will perform the song at the World Cup opening ceremony in Sao Paulo.

But Pitbull wasn’t the only one to perform a soccer-themed song…

Ricky Martin brought a little life to the BBMAs by performing “Vida,” one of the 2014 FIFA World Cup theme songs.

The upbeat track was written by fellow Puerto Rican singer Elijah King, as part of Sony’s “Supersong” 2014 World Cup song contest.

Looking stylish in all black amongst his team of white-clad dancers, Martin tore through the soccer-themed banger, shouting out its stadium-worthy cries of ole! In between, he showed off some dance moves of his own, leaving little doubt that he’s still livin’ la vida loca.

This isn’t the first time Martin has performed a track for the World Cup. His song for the 1998 competition, “La Copa de La Vida” (The Cup of Life),” propelled him into the global spotlight, taking off after he performed it on the Grammys. It charted at No. 2 on Billboard’s Hot Latin Songs chart, and reached No. 45 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Jennifer Lopez, meantime, proved why she’s a living icon…

The “I Luh Ya Papi” singer returned to the BBMA stage once again, this time to debut her new single “First Love,” the latest track from her upcoming album A.K.A.

JLo not only looked haute in a one-shoulder, sparkly black jumpsuit, but she belted out the tune with gusto and showed the world just how well she can dance.

Last but certainly not least, Shakira performed her latest single “Empire.”

The Colombian singer and The Voice coach lit up the Billboard Music Awards stage with a sizzling rendition of the latest single from her recently released self-titled album.

Dressed in a sheer, sparkling dress and thigh high black boots, Shakira stalked the stage complete with a cathedral-like stage set and flames blasting on stage behind her.

By song’s end she had walked into the audience chanting the song’s luminescent refrain “and the stars made love to the universe,” pausing before a blast of steam with the mic stand held high above her head.