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FIFA World Cup fever grips Mumbai

Special reunions, late night TV and going bleary-eyed to work is all part of the game for Mumbaikars, in the grip of FIFA fever with the World Cup starting from June 12

Like the rest of the world, Mumbai is in the throes of football fever. People across the city have bought new television sets and arranged special screenings as the FIFA World Cup kicks off on Thursday, June 12.

Elephants take part in a friendly match with students in honour of the upcoming 2014 FIFA World Cup at an elephant camp in Ayutthaya province, Thailand. Pic/AFP
Elephants take part in a friendly match with students in honour of the upcoming 2014 FIFA World Cup at an elephant camp in Ayutthaya province, Thailand. Pic/AFP

Brazil all the way
Denver Rodrigues, 17 has just passed his 12th standard exams and is very happy that the World Cup will start before his college does. The Andheri resident says, "I am supporting Brazil even though Jack Wilshere from England is my favourite player.

Also read: Brazil has no obligation to win the World Cup, says Pele

Denver Rodrigues Christopher Khan
Denver Rodrigues and Christopher Khan

I feel Brazil has a good team and the home crowd will spur them to a win. For the past four years, I've been religiously watching the game and this time I have downloaded a special app on my mobile phone called Fotmob to follow live news and updates from the World Cup in Brazil."

Rodrigues will be hooked on to social media and the news. He says, "Twitter, Facebook and Instagram have some handles, pages and communities that I follow to get the latest on the game.

I will watch the matches with my dad and younger brother. I plan on watching those games that are at odd hours in the morning on mute so that I don't disturb my mother and grandmother who will be sleeping."

Football coach and Vile Parle resident, Brendon Santos says, "My surname is Brazilian and so I have been supporting Brazil for more than 20 years. I love the way they play the game and they have home advantage this time."

Joining the 33-year-old will be his father, mother and brother as the family will stay up to watch the games. Santos says, "We will sleep at around 9 pm and then keep an alarm and wake up for the matches.

Also read: Ronaldo's return is the best thing to happen to us: Vieirinha

Our family literally eats, drinks and breathes football. If the game is boring we plan on splashing water on our faces to stay up, interesting games surely make all the sleep go away but there are these boring matches too.

My mother is a teacher so she may not watch certain matches as she has to wake up early in the morning and go to work. But my dad, brother and I will watch all the matches and still make it to work the next day."

Christopher Khan will be cheering for Brazil all the way. The Marol resident says, "Playing at home helped India win the cricket World Cup in 2011 and I expect the same to happen to Brazil in this year's football World Cup. Home advantage is always a plus in any sport. I plan on watching all the matches and going to work. I will try to balance both.

I have watched the La Liga matches and managed to get up and go to work the next day without any issues, so I don't think it will be much of a problem this time. I like Cristiano Ronaldo and his La Liga form will hopefully help Portugal go far, too."

German gang
Christopher's father Cecil Khan, who lives in Mira Road claims to have predicted the World Cup winners correctly for the last 20 years. An avid football fan, the 78-year-old says, "I am supporting Germany as they play clinical football.

Cecil Khan Rhydhima Raj
Cecil Khan and Rhydhima Raj

They have managed to reach the business end of the tournament in the last few editions. This year, I have a hunch that they will go all the way. I am predicting a Brazil-Germany final with Germany winning. Since, I am a senior citizen I don't have work and so will watch all the matches."

Rhydhima Raj, a media student says, "I am a huge fan of Germans Miroslav Klose, Thomas Mueller and Joachim Low. For the past eight to 10 years that I have been watching the game I have always supported Germany as I like the players and their style of play. I find club football very boring and I get really confused with who is in which team. Hence, I faithfully watch only the World Cup every four years."

Raj has made her father buy a special football World Cup limited edition three dimension or 3D television worth R 4 lakhs ahead of the tournament. She says, "I asked my dad to give me the TV as an early birthday present.

Since, he also loves football my father was only too happy to oblige. We will be watching all the matches and drinking lots of coffee to stay awake for the late night clashes."

Portugal party
For 25-year-old Vaishali Bhandari, it is Ronaldo and Portugal all the way. The media professional says, "I have grown up in a house where my brothers have been football fans and so I have been following the game for many years. I love the entertainment and sportsmanship. It is 90 minutes of madness which gives me a kick.

Vaishali Bhandari
Vaishali Bhandari

I am planning to watch all the important matches and staying awake won't be much of a problem as I have done it before. In school and college I have managed to watch the matches and still attend class. This year, I'm hoping to juggle that with work."

Luis Figo has made 90-year-old Cecil Bast cheer for Portugal. The Byculla resident says, "Besides Figo, the Goa link with Portugal and their football form makes me support them. Many people love Ronaldo but I find him selfish though he is a very skilled player.

Time is not an issue for my family, my eldest son and I will stay up and watch the matches. The accurate passing over the years has kept my interest in the game going. Argentina also has a good chance."

Spanish armada
Utsav Rathod, 24, an actor by profession says, "I like the European football teams and their work ethic. Cesc Frabregas is my favourite player and I will be supporting Spain. As someone who loves to play football in the rains, I will definitely stay up and watch all the matches.

Utsav Rathod Kashyap Mehta
Utsav Rathod and Kashyap Mehta

I am having a special screening of all the matches for friends and neigbours on my terrace which is roofed and is ideal for the rains. I have a 3D TV and am expecting more than 20 people to come for the final." Spain has another avid supporter in Kashyap Mehta, 27 who says Red Bull will be his drink for June and July as he watches all the matches.

Ruella Vaz
Ruella Vaz

A winger on his school-college football team, Mehta says, "David Villa is my favourite player and though I watch the club matches, the World Cup that comes every four years has a charm of its own.

I will be going to the sports bar to watch a few matches but mostly I'll be putting my TV at home to some late night use. My grandmother may not like it much as she likes watching serials till midnight."

Ruella Vaz, 25, a Human Resource professional is rooting for Spain. She says, "I liked Ronaldo and supported Portugal earlier, I still like him but now I support Spain. I am a huge fan of Fernando Torres and Villa.

I plan on watching all the Spanish matches with my father. My Whatsapp groups have all changed to football discussion spaces with all my friends excited about the World Cup, the euphoria is electric. I am very excited and just can't wait for the tournament to start."

Underdog's brigade
Thane resident, Sulabha Subramaniam, 55 is a huge fan of the frenzy and speed of football. She says, "My love for football started about eight to nine years ago when I watched a film on the 50 best goals. From that time, I became a fan of the beautiful game.

Derek Fernandes Cecil Bast
Derek Fernandes and Cecil Bast

Though I don't have cable TV at my house, I will make it a point to follow the action in the newspapers and accordingly I will select which team I will support. I will surely watch the knock out stage matches at some friend's house or the other."

Sulabha Subramaniam Brendon Santos
Sulabha Subramaniam and Brendon Santos

While Brazil and Spain have many supporters, Andheri resident Derek Fernandes is rooting for Belgium. The engineering student says, "Eden Hazard is my favourite player and I think his youthfulness, speed and dribbling skills will help Belgium go all the way. We don't have cable TV but we are going to get a new connection to watch the football World Cup. Caffeine will keep me awake if the talent of the footballers fails."

A football player who has been following the game since he was eight, the 18-year-old ends, "My friends and I are planning to have a school friend's reunion at one of our houses where we will watch the final together on July 13. This is the first World Cup since school, so we are hoping to catch up and relive our football crazy days as kids too."

About the World Cup
>> This is the 20th FIFA World Cup and will be hosted by Brazil from June 12 to July 13.
>> A total of 64 matches are to be played in 12 cities across the country.
>> The matches will use goal-line technology for the first time at a World Cup Finals.
>> Spain is the defending champion, having defeated the Netherlands 1-0 in the 2010 World Cup final.
>> The previous four World Cups staged in the continent were all won by South American teams.

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