World cup fever at its zenith in soccer crazy Kerala

Kozhikode: With just a day left for the kick-off for FIFA`s biggest event, the World Cup in Brazil, soccer fever has reached its zenith in Kerala with flags and flexboards raised in many places in the state, especially in Malabar region.

The next one month is soccer fiesta in Northern Kerala, especially in Malappuram district, where roadshows and motorcycle rallies in support of their favourite teams and players in action was taken out by the soccer fans recently.

In Kozhikode, football team members of Nadakkavu Government Girls HSS staged a colourful roadshow to welcome the FIFA World Cup, much to the delight of the people.

National or International, football is a deep passion of people in Kerala and is often expressed openly.

Like in every other previous World Cup, it is Argentina and Brazil that fans tip to win the
prestigious cup in the the title clash, which is scheduled on July 14.

Cut-outs of their favourite stars including Lionel Messi of Argentina, Neymar of Brazil and Cristiano Ronaldo of Portugal have been erected in many places, including in Kannur and Kasargod districts.

Former India captain and striker I M Vijayan, whose favourite is Argentina, told PTI it is difficult to predict the winner. "One might be able to do so only after the first round matches," he said.

Vijayan said that he would be leaving for Brazil to watch the World Cup from semi finals. "Soccer fans can expect good matches since all the teams are strong," he said.

Prominent sports writer, Ravi Menon, who has covered many national football matches, said the winner cannot be predicted.

Menon, whose favourite team is Germany, feels that since Brazil is playing before their home crowd, it will be under pressure while Argenina is overdependent on its star player Lionel Messi.

"Soccer fans would be delighted to see the power game of Germany, classic football of Brazil and Argentina. Teams like Spain, Italy, Uruguay and Chile are also strong," he said.

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