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Cup spirit alive in city with an Expo makeover

THE French and Italians have returned home from the World Cup empty-handed but they still have a chance to win on the football pitch in the "Expo Cup" held by a group of football fans working at Expo Shanghai.

With soccer spirit running high around the world, staff at the Expo site who don't have much time to watch the nightly matches on TV are having their own football fun.

Workers from the pavilions of Italy, Spain, France, Germany, Argentina, Saudi Arabia, Shanghai Customs and the Shanghai Expo Logistics Center kicked off a mini football competition yesterday at a pitch for amateurs at Shanghai Stadium.

"It's just for fun and all the participants are crazy about football," said Huang Jingyi, liaison officer for the event. "We have made good friends with each other during the Expo and one day when we were chatting about the World Cup, someone just stood up and said why not hold a football match by ourselves?"

The proposal received thumb-ups among pavilion staff workers. They formed into eight teams according to the six national pavilions and two departments of the Bureau of Shanghai World Expo Coordination.

Each team has seven players and no gender limits. "We want to make it a grass-roots festival for our staff workers who have contributed a lot to the Expo and everybody is welcome to join. Well, it seems boys are more into it," Huang said with a smile.

The Expo Cup is set to finish within two weeks and the final will be on next Friday. "Though we're amateurs, we take it seriously," Huang said.


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