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June 12, 2010

World Cup Sparks Global Football Mania

by Michael Bowman

Football fans around the world are riveted to World Cup action in South Africa, where key opening matches have sparked revelry, mania, and colorful, elaborate expressions of national pride.  

Every four years, football fever infects the world, and 2010 is no exception.  From sports bars to pubs to outdoor venues, fans gather to share the excitement, show their passion, and cheer on their teams.

U.S. fans everywhere were joyous after the underdog American team eked out a 1-1 draw with powerhouse England.  

On the other side of the Atlantic, fans of the English squad had a different reaction. "Very disappointing game.  At the end of the day, they are not the greatest side in the world and we struggled to even beat them," said one fan.

In Buenos Aires, Argentines exulted after a 1-0 win over Nigeria. One reveler said the victory was wonderful and terrific, adding that Argentina has demonstrated what football is.

In Lagos, meanwhile, Nigeria fans tried to stay upbeat.  One man stressed the positive. "I did not believe Nigeria would play the way they played Argentina, if we can continue like this and retain our coach and maintain the boys , I believe we are going places," he said.

With opening matches still being played, no team has been eliminated, and every nation taking part in South Africa still has hope of a championship.  A contingent of Serbia fans traveled to South Africa to cheer their team's first World Cup appearance since Serbia became an independent nation. "It is going to be tough [for Serbia], but hopefully we will come through. The boys will come through," said a Serbian fan.

As host nation, South Africa's efforts to prepare for the World Cup have been widely praised.  This English pub patron's comments are typical. "It is good.  I am enjoying it.  I wish I was out there [in South Africa], but they seem to be doing a good job.  I think South Africans have got to be proud at the moment," he said.

The World Cup - and the mania it inspires - culminates with a final match July 11.