Places to catch the World Cup final with like-minded fans (and not pay for food)

Those who prefer a spot of the outdoors can head to Hong Lim Park (above).
Those who prefer a spot of the outdoors can head to Hong Lim Park (above).PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE
Hot spots: McDonald's outlets (top) and community centres (above) are some places fans can head to for the last World Cup matches.
Hot spots: McDonald's outlets (top) and community centres (above) are some places fans can head to for the last World Cup matches.PHOTOS: NEO XIAOBIN, PEOPLE'S ASSOCIATION
Those who prefer a spot of the outdoors can head to Hong Lim Park (above).
Those who prefer a spot of the outdoors can head to Hong Lim Park (above).PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

There are options aplenty for those watching the third-place play-off between Brazil and the Netherlands at 4am on Sunday Singapore time, and the final clash between Germany and Argentina at 3am on Monday.

With two matches to go before the final whistle, soccer fans are likely to be busy scouting for venues to send off the quadrennial World Cup in style.

There are options aplenty for those watching the third-place play-off between Brazil and the Netherlands at 4am on Sunday Singapore time, and the final clash between Germany and Argentina at 3am on Monday.

Better yet, you do not have to pay a cent at many of these places.

Besides the usual sports-screening haunts such as bars, supporters can also head to Hong Lim Park, 38 McDonald's outlets, four Safra clubs and 58 community centres and clubs (CCs), where they can enjoy the game without having to buy food or drinks.

Since Brazil played Croatia in the opening match in Sao Paulo on June 12, many fans have ventured out to catch the Fifa World Cup instead of staying at home.

According to People's Association, more than 510,000 people have flocked to its community centres and clubs for a piece of football action. This is a jump from the more than 180,000 people who caught the 2010 World Cup screenings at 16 CCs.

To watch all the matches at home, viewers had to pay $112.35 for a subscription package from SingTel, although MediaCorp aired the opening and semi- final matches for free on okto channel and will show the final match as well.

Still, some viewers prefer to watch the games outside.

Mr Jasveer Singh, 51, who is self- employed, has been at every match screening in Hong Lim Park with his homemaker wife Ozzie Singh, 48. "Nothing beats the big screen," he explains. The couple also went to Hong Lim Park to watch the World Cup in 2010.

Besides the free screenings, fringe activities also add to the fun. For example, viewers can play table soccer or take part in half-time quizzes at some of the CCs, or join lucky draws and contests at Hong Lim Park to win World Cup souvenirs such as an official match ball.

Interest group leader Samuel Lim, 31, who is volunteering in the People's Association team that organises the Telok Ayer Hong Lim Green CC's screenings at Hong Lim Park, says: "We went the extra mile with the prizes so people can take home an authentic piece of this once-in- four-years event."

When it comes to catching the beautiful game, it is the more the merrier.

Mr Fadhil Alsagoff, 22, an undergraduate at the National University of Singapore, watched the match between France and Germany last Saturday with his younger brother and cousin at Pasir Ris Elias Community Club, which is a five-minute walk from his home.

"It's a lot more fun to shout and laugh when you're doing it with other people," says Mr Fadhil, who will head out again to watch the final on Monday.

"I'm excited to watch the amazing display of football between two of the world's best teams and to catch history in the making."

cherylm@sph.com.sg

Where will you be watching the World Cup final? E-mail stlife@sph.com.sg


Where to go

Community clubs and centres

Fifty-eight community clubs and centres have turned their premises into festive hangouts.

Besides watching the matches, soccer fans can take part in fringe activities. For example, there is an instant photo booth at Jurong Green Community Club where they can take a snapshot as a keepsake. There is also a flea market selling a variety of World Cup-related items.

At Tampines West Community Club, fans can show off their skills at a free kick-around.

To find out which community centres and clubs are screening the World Cup, go to the People's Association's website. Doors generally open half an hour before the match begins.

Where: 58 community clubs and centres

Info: www.pa.gov.sg

McDonald's

The fast-food chain has been screening World Cup matches at 38 of its outlets here. Fans are not required to make a purchase to watch the games, but McDonald's is offering a Fifa World Cup special menu that pays tribute to host nation Brazil.

It includes the Beef Picante burger and Chicken Caramba burger ($7.60 for an Extra Value Meal, while stocks last), Copa-Banana Pie (from $1) and Brasilia green cone (from 80 cents).

To find out which outlets are screening the World Cup, go to the McDonald's website.

Where: 38 McDonald's outlets around Singapore

Info: fifaworldcup.mcdonalds.com.sg/

Telok Ayer Hong Lim Green Community Centre

Hong Lim Park's open space is an ideal venue for a boisterous affair, with a mega screen that allows large crowds to view the screenings. The venue first screened World Cup matches in 2010.

Organised by the Telok Ayer Hong Lim Green Community Centre Management Committee, the screening of the final match is expected to draw up to 1,000 people.

The outdoor stage has been decorated with flags of all 32 participating nations. Activities will be held an hour before kick-off, including a grand draw where the top prize is a replica of the World Cup trophy.

Where: Telok Ayer Hong Lim Green Community Centre, 20 Upper Pickering Street, Hong Lim Park

Info: www.pa.gov.sg

Safra

The screenings of the third-place play-off and final match will be held at the Mount Faber, Tampines and Yishun clubs. The Toa Payoh club will screen only the final match.

Other than the Tampines club, all the matches at the other clubs are open to the public.

Among the benefits for Safra members are free refreshments. Members watching the game at Toa Payoh can get free McDonald's breakfast at the club, while stocks last.

Where: Safra Mount Faber, 2 Telok Blangah Way; Safra Toa Payoh, 293 Toa Payoh Lorong 6; Safra Tampines, 1/A Tampines Street 92; Safra Yishun, 60 Yishun Avenue 4

Info: www.safra.sg