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Former Miss Universe takes eyes off the ball

Written by: Staff
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WALLDORF, Germany, June 7 (Reuters) Former Miss Universe Alicia Machado caused a stir at Costa Rica's training session today when she turned up to run the rule over the Central American side's preparations for their tournament opener.

The Ticos, who leave for Munich later in the day and play hosts Germany in Group A on Friday, were put through their paces in the sunshine in Walldorf.

The squad may as well have been anonymous as the attention of the 40-strong media was firmly fixed on the 28-year-old Venezuelan, who is working in Germany for Mexican Television.

Machado, crowned Miss Universe in 1996, is famous throughout Latin America for work as a model, actress and singer.

''This is my first World Cup, I'm so excited because I have a very nice job,'' she told Reuters.

''I love soccer, of course, and like Germany, I'm enjoying my stay here.'' Machado, who appeared on the cover of the Mexican edition of Playboy magazine for the February issue of 2006 is used to the attention.

''That is so fun, that is my job,'' she said when told her presence might be distracting the Costa Rican players.

Machado would not say who she thought would win the World Cup and said her favourite player was ''someone in my mind and in my heart''.

The Venezuelan was formerly engaged to Major League baseball player Bobby Abreu.

REUTERS DH KN1535

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