(Reuters) – Brazilian and Ivorian players will have to keep their eyes on the ball not the 31 beauty queens who will be at the Soccer City stadium later on Sunday to avoid a repeat of a controversy surrounding Spain’s defeat last week.
British media had suggested the presence of Spanish goalkeeper Iker Casillas’ glamorous reporter girlfriend near the touchline had distracted him allowing Switzerland to score the winning goal in the first major upset of the World Cup.
But beauty queens representing all of the teams at the tournament — except for secretive North Korea — on the way to Sunday’s match said wives and girlfriends should be at matches to offer support to players, adding they would offer motivation rather than distraction.
“Don’t blame us — I don’t think that she was the main cause of the loss,” said Miss Honduras Blaise Massey in reference to Spanish journalist Sara Carbonero.
Miss Switzerland Bianca Sissing said: “Having a girlfriend (there) might even be motivating.”
North Korea had not held a beauty pageant to be able to compete in Miss World in 2010, said Miss South Korea Yun Seo-choi, but she said she was behind their soccer team.
“They were really fighting hard, I support them as well,” she said. “At some point it’s kind of sad that we can’t play together in one team — one day I hope that we can play altogether but now I am proud of them.”
(Reporting by Bate Felix and Opheera McDoom)