World Cup fan Shakira says of final: No penalty kicks

Los Angeles TimesJuly 12, 2014 

— RIO DE JANEIRO - Colombian pop star Shakira will be performing at her third World Cup when she takes part in Sunday's 18-minute closing ceremony at Rio de Janeiro's Maracana Stadium.

Four years ago at the South African tournament, she was introduced to Spanish national team star Gerard Pique. The two struck up a romance and the couple had a son, Milan, 18 months ago.

"Soccer has changed my life in so many ways. And affected my life on so many different levels," she said Saturday. "In 2010 I met the love of my life. And if it wasn't for the World Cup my son Milan wouldn't be here today."

Having a boyfriend who has played in two World Cups_winning the title in 2010 and being eliminated in group play this summer_has also introduced Shakira to the pressures the players feel. So when she was asked for a prediction on Sunday's Germany-Argentina final, she refused to pick a winner, saying only that she was rooting against penalty kicks.

She also invoked the memory of Paul the Octopus, who correctly predicted many games in the 2010 World Cup from his tank in a German aquarium.

"I only pray to God that we don't go to penalty kicks," she said. "They're too cruel. Where's the octopus when we need him? We need an octopus."

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