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Get a kick out of live matchesFootball fever is upon us - so where do you catch the Fifa World Cup if you baulk at shelling out more than $100 to subscribe to cable broadcast?
Football fever is upon us - so where do you catch the Fifa World Cup if you baulk at shelling out more than $100 to subscribe to cable broadcast?
More than 10 bars, 40 community centres and 39 McDonald's outlets will screen World Cup matches this year. The international tournament kicked off at 4am this morning with a match between hosts Brazil and Croatia. Sixty-three more games will be played, culminating in the final on Sunday, July 13.
About 250,000 people are expected to attend World Cup screenings at community centres alone, which experienced packed halls during their screenings of the last World Cup in 2010.
Grassroots organisations have also arranged raffles, half-time quizzes, flea markets and photo booths to further entertain dedicated fans during the games.
One football fan who is eschewing watching matches from home for a communal screening is Mr Nicholas Tan.
The advertising account manager and England supporter says the timing of the games does not justify the cost he would have to pay to watch the games at home.
There is an 11-hour time difference between Singapore and Brazil in South America, and the majority of World Cup games will air at midnight, 3, 4 and 6am Singapore time.
Pay-TV operator SingTel announced in March that fans will have to pay $112 including GST to watch all 64 matches - more than double what Malaysians will pay (RM100 or S$38.60) and about five times more than Hong Kong residents (HK$128 or S$21).
Some countries in the region, such as Indonesia and Thailand, are broadcasting the games on TV for free.
"I still have to work and because of the hours the games are being played, I will probably watch 50 per cent at best," says Mr Tan, 34.
Instead, he plans to watch selected games, such as Spain vs Netherlands (tomorrow at 3am) or England vs Italy (Sunday at 6am), with his wife at a community centre near his home in Bukit Panjang, or with friends at a bar in St James Power Station.
The festive and communal atmosphere at these large screenings is a priority for football fans such as Germany supporter Justin Khiang, 21.
He will head to one of the Harry's Bar outlets or to Wala Wala cafe bar in Holland Village to watch Germany's games, as well as the finals.
"I want to cheer loudly when they score," says Mr Khiang, a national serviceman. "If you watch the game at home, when your favourite team scores, you can celebrate only a little and quietly so you don't wake everyone up.
"But when you're with a crowd and you're cheering for the same team, it's much more exciting."
Heading to a bar and raising your glass to cheer on your favourite teams may sound like a tempting prospect. However, only a few bars will stay open for games that take place from 2am, as the establishments will have to apply to extend their liquor licences - a costly and difficult process.
Harry's Bar has extended its Claymore Drive, Esplanade and The Sail outlets' opening hours until 6am on selected match nights and will screen most group matches and all quarter-final, semi-final and final World Cup games. Boulevard's Craftbeer outlet in Millenia Walk will also stay open to screen all the World Cup games - including 6 and 9am games - live.
But favourite sports bars such as The Penny Black in Boat Quay and Muddy Murphy's in Somerset Road are still waiting for the confirmation of the temporary extension of their liquor licence, which would allow them to show the games until about 5am.
Mr Bjorn Seegers, chief executive officer of Muddy Murphy Holdings which runs The Penny Black, says: "The World Cup season has always been a highlight for the company, and we hope to hear back about our status soon so that we can bring certain matches to the fans. We have received extensions for most. However, there are a few we are waiting to hear the outcome of."
Mr David Hu, 28, who works in finance, hopes to head to The Penny Black for Switzerland's matches.
"Working for a Swiss bank, I have Swiss friends and I'm looking forward to joining them to support their country's team," he says.
If staying up to watch a nail-biting match has made you hungry, you will have a number of breakfast options.
Both Boulevard Craftbeer bar and the Hollandse Club in Camden Park will serve breakfast, such as a buffet ($12) of items such as bacon, eggs, sausages, coffee and tea with some of its 6am and 9am screenings at Hollandse Club.
Some football fanatics such as Mr Laurence Ting, 39, are heading to McDonald's 24-hour outlets.
Mr Ting, who lives in Serangoon, plans to go to McDonald's in Hougang or Queenstown, near his office in Tiong Bahru, to catch the morning matches. "I will take the opportunity to have a McDonald's breakfast of hotcakes, sit and watch the match then go straight to work," says the bachelor who works in finance.
With venue and sustenance sorted, often, the only problem soccer supporters are faced with is how to cope with very little sleep.
IT manager Mr Jordan Eng, 31, has a few strategies for how he will get to and through the World Cup games this year.
"I'm going to go to bed early, by about 10pm, then wake up for the matches at 3 or 4 or 6am, drink lots of coffee and then go to work," he says.
He lives with his family in Kovan and plans to head to the Paya Lebar community centre with his father and cousins to watch the games.
"It's more fun to watch football as a group. I like going to the community centres because you see all sorts of people there, from the old uncles in singlets to the young die-hard fans and families watching together. The World Cup is a great time for the community to get together," says the Belgium team fan.
Besides, he reasons, the World Cup happens only once every four years: "Most football fans here follow the English or Spanish league games which are also in the wee hours of the morning, so we're used to the timing. Even if I am a bit tired, it will be worth it."
WHERE TO WATCH LIVE MATCHES
A members-only club for most of the year, the Hollandse Club, also known as the Dutch club, is open to the public during its World Cup game screenings. In 2010, about 1,600 people showed up for its screening of the World Cup final between Spain and the Netherlands.
This year, the club will host almost daily screenings of group round matches on three screens in its main viewing hall, which holds about 500 people. It will also screen quarter-final, semi-final and final matches.
Orange is their team's colour, and anywhere from 300 to 400 orange-clad fans are expected to head to the club during the Netherlands' games. Expect a party atmosphere.
A selection of nachos, chicken wings, french fries and Dutch meatballs called bitterballen will be on sale for $6 to $10, buckets of beer for $40 and draft beer for $8.
The club is also organising a $12 breakfast buffet during some 6 and 9am games; as well as drinks promotions, such as Heineken beer during Holland games, skol beer and caiparinha cocktails during Brazil's games, to get football fans in a festive mood.
Where: 22 Camden Park (off Adam Road)
Info: Go to www.hollandseclub.org.sg
The 24-hour futsal centre under the Thomson Flyover will screen all World Cup matches live from a big screen beside its four futsal pitches. Fans can gather there to watch the matches free of charge while playing their own games of futsal at reduced rates ($88 for two hours of playtime between midnight and 9am, which usually costs $60 to $90 an hour). Bottled beer will also be available at six beers for $25.
Where: 2 Whitley Road, under the Thomson Flyover
Info: Go to www.offside.com.sg
HARD ROCK CAFE
In addition to showing all of the World Cup's midnight group matches on its TVs, the cafe will show all the second round, semi-final and final matches on a big screen.
In honour of the tournament's host this year, the cafe will host a Brazilian night on July 5, 9.30pm to 3am. Co-organised by the Brazilian Embassy and local capoeira and samba groups, the event will include performances by Brazilian singer and musician Tonho Materia, samba and frevo performances, and a capoeira demonstration.
Tickets cost $21 (advance) or $28 (at the door). Book online at tickets.eventclique.com.
Where: Hard Rock Cafe Singapore, 50 Cuscaden Road, 04-01, HPL House
Info: Call 6235-5232
THE PENNY BLACK
The British pub in Boat Quay is a favourite viewing spot for English Premier League fans and is also where many England fans plan on catching their World Cup team try to nab the trophy this year.
Screenings of all midnight games are confirmed, but the pub has yet to confirm the extension of its liquor licence, which would allow for the screening of games till 6am.
Still, The Penny Black is gearing up to show the games on multiple screens with full surround sound, include a World Cup raffle in which customers stand a chance to win a number of prizes, including Sennheiser Momentum On-Ear Samba headphones which are not available in Singapore and trophy- shaped bottles of Paco Rabanne Invictus cologne. Limited-edition World Cup T-shirts will also be on sale for $20.
Food specials include a World Cup Hoagie Hot Dog as well as a variety of national beers, such as Oakham Ales Green Devil IPA from England, Schneider Weisse from Germany and Moritz from Spain, which are not on the pub's usual menu but will be on sale during the games.
Prices range from $60 for five 330ml bottles to $35 for two 500ml beers.
Where: 26, 27 Boat Quay
Info: Go to pennyblack.com.sg
COMMUNITY CENTRES AND CLUBS
In response to popular demand, 40 community centres around Singapore (such as Chong Pang Community Club) will be screening as many of the 64 World Cup matches as possible over the next month.
Organised by grassroots organisations, the screenings will be accompanied by fun fringe events such as lucky draws, football quizzes and flea markets selling football gear and paraphernalia to rally local fans.
For example, the Jurong Green Community Club will include a foosball table, flea market, photo booth, movie screenings before some matches, and a Play Station 3 challenge where residents stand a chance to walk away with a Play Station console and game during the World Cup finals.
At Tampines West Community Club, there will be footballs for residents to kick around and show off their football skills, and football quizzes at half time.
For details on events and which community centres and clubs will show which games, go to the People's Association website. Admission is free.
Where: 40 community clubs and centres around Singapore
Info: Go to www.pa.gov.sg
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