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In 2002, Norwegian footballer Kenneth Kristensen signed for third-division team Floey and was paid his weight in shrimps.

The modern Spanish Navy is still called the Armada.

There are more Catholics in Scotland than in Northern Ireland.

A 2005 United States medical research project showed that 20% of interviewees admitted to taking Derbisol, a drug that does not exist.

The director and producer of the 1971 film Fiddler on the Roof was called Norman Jewison.

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If the empty space in atoms could be removed, the entire human race could fit into an average sugar cube.

The most common surname in China is Wang.

Originally, the traditional Argentine game of pato, which is a combination of rugby, polo and basketball, was played – as the Spanish name suggests – with a live duck in a basket. Nowadays, a leather ball is used.

There are 117 road accidents in Rome every day.

No country in history has imprisoned more citizens than the United States.

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In 40 US States, the highest paid public employee is the States’ leading college football or basketball head coach.

The Archbishop of Manila from 1974-2003 was called Cardinal Sin.

In 2012, the Swedish town Soderhamn paid people to look for work in Norway in an attempt to reduce soaring youth unemployment.

Elephants are the only mammals that can’t jump.

By twelfth grade, 65% of high school students will have engaged in sexual intercourse, and one in five sexually active teens will have had four or more sexual partners. Please note, according research published in 2012 by the non-profit Guttmacher Institute, all sex education delays teen sex.

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Moacir Barbosa Nascimento

In the final game of the 1950 World Cup, an honest mistake by a man called Moacir Barbosa condemned him to spend the rest of his life being vilified by millions.

The tournament’s last game saw Brazil and Uruguay engaged for the right to call themselves World Champions. Before the match began the Brazillian national team – known locally as the Seleção – were given solid gold watches stating: ‘For the World Champions’.

“Football is the ballet of the masses.” – Dmitri Shostakovich

Only one player has achieved the dream of all Brazilians – scoring in a World Cup Final for the Seleção on home soil at the famed Maracana stadium. A minute into the second-half Albino Friaça Cardoso realised that fantasy. It was his only goal for Brazil. It was to be the only goal Brazil scored that fateful day. The Uruguayan jet-heeled right winger, Ghiggia from Montevideo, surged down the line crossing the ball for Schiaffino to equalise past Barbosa. Thirteen minutes later, Ghiggia surged down the line again. This time he was to ruin Moacir Barbosa’s life forever.

Footage exists of 4.33pm, 16th July 1950: the worst moment of all Barbosa’s days on earth. What is a second in a lifetime of existence? For Moacir this instant would shape the rest of his 50 years.

“The first World Cup I remember was in the 1950 when I was 9 or 10 years old. My father was a soccer player, and there was a big party, and when Brazil lost to Uruguay, I saw my father crying.” – Pele

The official attendance was 173,850 – some say 200,000 – making it the largest football crowd ever. Yet they all fell quiet at Barbosa’s error. As Ghiggia said years after his goal that won Uruguay a World Cup: “Only three people have silenced the Maracana: Sinatra, Pope John-Paul II and me”. It was said without any fear of contradiction.

Brazilians – never opting for stoicism when flamboyant exhortations suffice, variously described the defeat as ‘the greatest tragedy in Brazilian history’.

For Moacir Barbosa, 16th July 1950 was not an exercise in extravagant self-flagellation: it started a living nightmare. He was never forgiven. Life treated him harshly. He never played for Brazil again. People spat at him or abused him. He was denied coaching jobs after he retired. Having black skin didn’t help in a racially-divided country.

Once he visited the Seleção to wish them well. He was denied, fearing bad luck. He was even refused a commentator’s job.

After his wife died a friend revealed “he even cried on my shoulder – until the end he used to always say: ‘I’m not guilty. There were 11 of us.’”

An elderly Barbosa lamented, ‘In Brazil, the most you get for any crime is 30 years. For 50 years I’ve been paying for a crime I did not commit. Even a criminal when he has paid his debt is forgiven. But I have never been forgiven.”

In 2000, penniless and close to death, he recalled his memory of 1970 – in the year when the greatest-ever Brazil team won the World Cup, a mother pointed him out to her child in a market saying: ‘Look at him. He was the man who made all of Brazil cry’.

Heart failure caused Moacir Barbosa to die in 2000, aged 79. Some say it was a broken heart that killed him.

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Buenos Aires has more psychiatrists per head than any other city in the world.

In 1813, Camembert cheese was made an honorary citizen of the town of Caen in Normandy.

The first commercially viable lightbulb, patented by Thomas Edison in 1880, used a filament made from bamboo.

The name Imogen is a mistake. Shakespeare wrote ‘Innogen’ in the play Cymbeline and the printer misread it.

Andrés Escobar Saldarriaga, commonly known as Andrés Escobar, was a Colombian footballer who played for the national team as a defender. Escobar scored an own goal in the 1994 FIFA World Cup against the United States. Because of this, he was shot and killed three weeks later in his hometown of Medellín aged 27.

See other: Quite Interesting Facts

The Death Match

The Death Match is a name for a football game on 9 August 1942 in Kiev between FC Start, a local team which consisted of former professional footballers from Dynamo Kyiv and Lokomotyv Kyiv, and Flakelf, a team of German air defence artillery.

The fact that a game of football was played between the occupying Nazi forces and a number of local Ukrainian footballers is in itself not that interesting, nor the fact that the game was won by the natives with a score of 5-3; what is interesting though, is the allegation that all FC Start players were captured and executed after the match by the Gestapo.

We will need to stress the word ‘allegation’ here because the massacre of the Ukrainian players was probably invented by Soviet propaganda. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, historians and Ukrainian eyewitnesses have refuted the fact all the players killed after the match.

Unfortunately, there was no happy ending. Even though there was no immediate post-match mass killing, all but three players of the FC Start team were arrested and killed by the Nazis during the war. And so it turns out, sadly, The Death Match was not a complete hoax.

Interestingly, the Ukrainian team won the match even though the referee was a German SS soldier.

Penalty Kick Psychology

New psychological research suggests that soccer goalkeepers and teams are not only affected by the high-stakes pressure of a penalty shootout. Without their awareness, goalkeepers also appear to be biased to dive to the right in some situations.

Football World Cup held in Chile, 1962

Football World Cup held in Chile, 1962

The consequences of this bias could potentially affect games ranging from casual pickup matches to world championships.

The bias primarily seems to affect goalkeepers when their teams are down, according to psychologists at the University of Amsterdam. A number of psychologists at that particular university believe the bias likely extends to other sports as well that involve rapid decision-making under pressure.

The researchers said their hypothesis arose from a discussion they had with each other at a bar one Friday evening. They were talking about two recent papers. One showed dogs tend to wag their tails to the right when approaching their masters. The other showed that soccer goalies have a tendency to dive one way or another while facing penalty kicks – they seem to dislike staying still.

Combining the ideas in the papers, and referring to soccer goalkeepers, the psychologists asked themselves, “Could it be that they would also, like the dogs, dive more to the right?”

The psychologists in question started examining the evidence. They looked at penalty kicks in the men’s World Cup football championship from 1982 onward and found 204 penalty shootouts. When teams were tied, they found that goalkeepers dived left and right equally. But when their teams were down, the psychologists found goalkeepers were more than twice as likely to dive right as dive left.

Football goalies’ tendencies

Now, there’s a scientific explanation for this – and it doesn’t have anything to do with being left-handed or right-handed.

Among humans, dogs and some other animals, individuals unconsciously move to the right when they approach something they really want. Lovers tend to lean their heads to the right when they kiss; dogs wag their tails to the right when their masters approach.

The predisposition to go one way rather than another does not mean that individuals always have to go that way. But it does mean they have an unconscious tendency to favour one side rather than another in certain situations.

The Amsterdam University psychologists said the tendency likely arose in different species because there was an evolutionary advantage for many members of a given species to favour one direction rather than another – when they were hunting or avoiding predators, for example.

A theory that arose is football goalkeepers tend to dive right when all hopes are pinned on them. That’s why they dive right, “especially when their team is behind and their likelihood to be heroes is the greatest.”

Note also that the research showed that when the goalie’s team is behind, the goalie never remains standing in the middle of the goal, but instead, chooses to dive either left or right.

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