Participants of the 68th FIFA Congress observe a minute of silence in memory of delegates, who recently passed away, in Moscow, Russia June 13, 2018.

Football Fever Sweeps Across India Ahead of FIFA World Cup

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85% of Indians surveyed by the Paris-based research firm Ipsos on June 11 claimed they would be watching the FIFA World Cup. Of these, 31% considered themselves to be passionate football followers, 28% said they follow football only for their favorite teams and league and some 26% said they are occasional watchers.

New Delhi (Sputnik): The FIFA World Cup fever seems to be all pervasive, even in a cricket-crazy country like India. A survey claims that most Indians are planning to be hooked to their television screens to watch football this summer when their favorite teams play in the FIFA World Cup in Russia. The 27-country survey involved 500 Indians aged 16 to 64 years.

The frenzy is most visible in the football hubs of West Bengal and Kerala, which are taking the madness to a new level, with villages divided into fan clubs and each one cheering for their favorites with life-size graffitis, hoardings and decorated village squares.

Football fans in the state of Kerala organized a street parade with youths and enthusiasts barring age groups participating in large numbers to welcome the beginning of the FIFA World Cup 2018 hosted by Russia. Fans painted their cars and scooters in the colors of their favorite teams and marched in the streets of Kollam on the eve of the inaugural day of the World Cup extravaganza. 

The Ipsos survey, however, proves that football is now popular nationwide, with a dedicated audience from all across the country.

"In fact, Indians were more enthusiastic than most others. Five in ten (51%) Indians said they will miss work and school to watch this World Cup-the highest percentage globally. Over 6o% said they'll splurge on FIFA World Cup-themed products; only the Chinese and the Malaysians were ahead on this.

Not surprisingly, Indians are also the most superstitious: six in ten surveyed said they will keep a good-luck charm when the matches are on. In the US, the figure was 54%," the Quartz report adds.

India is not among the 32 teams selected for the FIFA Football World Cup, but India seems confident that they will reserve a berth in FIFA soon. The nation's football craving is led by its young Olympian Sports Minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore who, in a friendly football match recently organized at the Russian embassy in Delhi, claimed that "India will soon play the FIFA World Cup."

READ MORE: FIFA 2018 World Cup in Russia Draws More Indian Fans Than Ever

According to the Ipsos survey, Brazil has the biggest chunk of Indians (22%) rooting for it, followed by Argentina (14%) and Germany (13%), to win the World Cup this year. Globally, Germany is the top pick, according to the same survey.

At 60%, television remains the favorite platform to watch matches among Indians, though some 40% will watch them online on mobile phones and other gadgets, as predicted by the survey.

Let the 2018 FIFA World Cup fever begin!#Holidayinnresort #Goa #Fifa2018 #sundowner #Lounge #Beachlife #IHG #Worldcup #Enjoy

From Kasaragod in North Kerala to Trivandrum in the south, the streets ofthe state have been festooned with posters and flexes of various teams and players


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