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From slums to space, world tunes in to World Cup

Friday - 6/13/2014, 4:39pm  ET

soccer sofa (AP)
The German second division soccer team Union Berlin turned its stadium into a giant living room for the World Cup. The club invited fans to bring their sofas to the stadium field. The team even put up 3,500 square meters of living room wallpaper around the giant screen inside the stadium in order to create a cozy atmosphere. Twelve thousand fans turned out including more than 3,000 on sofas. (AP)
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The Associated Press

From the stadium in Sao Paulo to sofas in Germany, from a pub in Nairobi to a cafe in Miami, from a Rio slum to outer space, nearly half the world's population was expected to tune in to the World Cup, soccer's premier event which kicked off Thursday in Brazil.

Even football-loving Pope Francis got a touch of World Cup fever. He sent a video message on Brazilian television before the match, saying the world's most popular sport can promote peace and solidarity.

The inaugural game had everything aficionados love -- passion, drama, spectacle, goals and a refereeing controversy. Here are just a few of the billions of spectators who got caught up in it all.

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