Red or orange -- World Cup final fever mounts

Last Updated 10 July 2010, 07:12 IST
Red or orange -- World Cup final fever mounts

Spain's blood-red and gold colours are flying from balconies, bars and cars throughout most of the country.Even in Catalonia, a region with its own distinct culture and language and which has traditionally been disdainful of the Spanish national team, there was growing enthusiasm.

Authorities in the Catalan capital of Barcelona agreed for the first time during the tournament to set up a giant outdoor screen for the match tomorrow.

In the northeastern town of Pamplona, the fervour over this week's annual San Fermin festival, which includes "running of the bulls", was mixed with excitement at tomorrow's World Cup final.

On Madrid's main Paseo de Castellana avenue, municipal workers have draped flags over the Cibeles and Neptune fountains, where fans of Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid respectively celebrate their victories.

At least 150,000 fans of La Roja (The Reds), as the Spanish team is known, are expected on the avenue Sunday night to watch Spain's first ever appearance in a World Cup final on giant screens in a "fan park," which has been moved for the occasion.

The screens were previously installed outside Real Madrid's Santiago Bernabeu stadium, where some 50,000 watched the semi-final against Germany.Even if Spain loses, the players will be feted in a parade in an open-top bus that will pass through the city centre on Monday.

And many companies, as usual, have spotted marketing opportunities.As temperatures soar throughout the Spanish capital, Coca-Cola representatives are handing out red and gold fans.

Spain's Mahou beer company has launched an Internet campaign for July 11 to be named a national holiday if Spain lifts the World Cup, and the supermarket chain Carrefour is offering 25 percent reductions on television sets.

Spanish television for the first time Friday broadcast live the prediction of Paul the "pyschic" and now famous German octopus, who has tipped Spain to win. 

The Dutch were not too dismayed though, as Pauline, a female octopus in the Netherlands, has forecast a win for Holland, albeit in her first attempt at clairvoyancy.
Throughout the Netherlands, what is colloquially known as Orange Fever has grown in line with the team's progress through the tournament. Entire streets are lined with small orange flags and some people have covered their homes with plastic sheets in the national colour.

Others adorn themselves, their children, pets, cars and bicycles with orange paraphernalia. Wigs, shirts, boas and hats and some more unusual items like orange toilet paper, pastries, contact lenses and underwear, even condoms, are flying off the shelves.

In Amsterdam, the canals are being prepared for a boat parade of the Oranje Elftal (Orange Eleven as the team is nicknamed) on Tuesday, if they win. Barges that could block the procession are being removed by authorities.

The city expects a million people to come out in support of their team, if victorious, on Tuesday.

Giant television screens are being installed in several cities. The biggest gatherings of supporters on Sunday are expected in Amsterdam, where up to 50,000 watched the semi-final against Uruguay on the Museumplein (Museum Square) on Tuesday, and in Rotterdam where two screens are being erected.

In the central city of Utrecht, as in many others, fans will watch the match on a big screen on the outskirts to prevent too many people crowding into city centre bars.
Flags prematurely declaring Holland the 2010 football World Cup champions are selling like hotcakes. Sales of televisions, barbeque sets and orange accessories are expected to reach a peak on Saturday, according to a spokeswoman for the Dutch retailers federation, Yvonne Fernhout.

In The Hague, animal protection services have urged people not to blow too hard on their vuvuzelas during Sunday's match so as not to terrorise their pets. "Animals panic, run away and an be injured," it warned in a statement.

(Published 10 July 2010, 07:09 IST)

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