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Football frenzy: World Cup'06 to kick off

The 18th edition of the FIFA World Cup kicks off in Germany in less than 12 hours.

Thirty-two of the best teams in the world will be competing over 31 days, and 30 billion people will be watching the extra ordinary sporting extravaganza.

But some of them are wondering what the fuss is all about. Brazil are such overwhelming favourites that it might be worth it to hand over the trophy to them right now.

But of course that's not how it works.

According to the New York Times, calling Brazil the World Cup favourites is as simplistic as saying that Gisele Bundchen is nice looking. The word that comes to mind, for both are super favourites and of course super model.

Lionel Messi is no Ronaldinho just yet, but he does have to live up to a rather impressive tag.

Maradona has billed him as his heir apparent.

Argentina though are only considered third pick in the bookmakers pick for who will win the World Cup.
Germans not hopeful

Germany won the last time they hosted the World Cup, and they will also draw comfort from that fact that no South American country has won a World Cup in Europe since Brazil in 1958.

But only seven per cent of Germans think that their team can win the title. Of course it doesn't help that Michael Ballack - their captain is injured and will miss the opener against Costa Rica.

Another football wizard looking to get back into the action is England's Wayne Rooney.

After breaking his foot during a Premiership game and then after a lot of 'will-he-won't-he', Rooney was finally cleared to play in the finals.

England's odds are currently at seven to one, but look for those odds to shorten if this first time world cupper hits top gear.

First timers

The 2006 edition will feature six teams who are the first timers in the finals. Four of those are from Africa.

Trinidad and Tobago might be the land of cricketer Brian Lara, but for the moment, it's all about football. The tiny Caribbean island has a population of one million but still qualified for the World Cup.

Prize money

The winner of the tournament will take home a cool Rs 91 crore, about ten per cent of the total pool of more than Rs 1000 crore.

Almost 30 billion people are expected to tune in through the month and FIFA's projected profits are expected to about Rs 6,380 crore. The best seat in the house for the finals will cost Rs 35,000.

For the rest there's always television. So lets get ready to have the time of our lives, quite appropriately that is what the official World Cup song is called.


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