The Norman Transcript

National Sports

June 20, 2014

Balotelli wants royal kiss for a win over Costa Rica

RECIFE, Brazil — England now needs Italy’s help to keep alive its slim chances of advancing at the World Cup.

Presumably Queen Elizabeth II would be pleased if England moves on, so Italy star Mario Balotelli is already contemplating what would happen should his team provide an assist. He tweeted Thursday after England lost to Uruguay: “If we beat Costa Rica i want a kiss, obviously on the cheek, from the UK Queen.” That was followed by three emoticons of a smiley face laughing so hard tears spurt from its eyes.

Even though the English lost their first two matches, they could still potentially advance on goal difference if Italy defeats Costa Rica and Uruguay and England beats Costa Rica. The Italians face Costa Rica on today.

Offensive tweet: RIO DE JANEIRO — A Dutch television host and actress has quit as an ambassador for her country’s national committee of the United Nations children’s fund, UNICEF, after tweeting a photo that had been manipulated to appear to show two Colombian footballers snorting white lines off the pitch.

Nicolette van Dam had earlier apologized and removed the offending tweet after media in Colombia reacted angrily to the fake photo, which was clearly intended to link Colombia with cocaine use.

“Queridos Colombianos, there was no offense intended from my side,” she tweeted. “Please accept my honest and sincere apologies. (hash)RespectColombia.”

UNICEF condemned the post Thursday in a statement out of New York, calling it “inappropriate and highly offensive.”

The Dutch national committee of UNICEF said on its website that Van Dam had quit “out of respect for our work,” adding that the reactions to her insensitive tweet Wednesday had made her position as ambassador “untenable.”

Van Dam “had not realized that there was so much sensitivity in South America about this issue,” the statement said.

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