How the world watched the World Cup: From rebels in bombed-out Syria to astronauts in space – proof we are all the same when football’s on the telly

By Paul Donnelley


It kicked off last night with a match between the hosts Brazil and plucky little Croatia. The world was shocked when Marcelo’s own goal gave the Europeans an early lead but a dodgy penalty and poor refereeing led to Brazil running out 3-1 winners.

From outer space to Syrian rebels and brave Kenyans, it seems the world (and those outside of it) cannot get enough of the World Cup.

Astronauts on the international space station stopped their experiments to watch the game, Syrian militants in Aleppo put down their guns and the more stable inmates of the Asuncion Psychiatric Hospital in Asuncion, Paraguay, were allowed to watch the World Cup opener on an old television set although they had to stay behind bars and were not allowed too near the set.

The homeless in suburbs of Rio de Janeiro gathered outside shops to view the game on the owner's telly while in Nairobi, Kenya fans gathered to watch despite a threat from despite the fears and warnings of possible attacks on the World Cup public screenings by Somalia's al-Shabab Islamist terrorists.

The Germans watched the match in some style while sitting on settees in the 1.FC Union stadium in Berlin. 

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Out of this world: The sport may not be that popular in America but it seems Americans in outer space cannot get enough of football. United States astronauts Steve Swanson (left), Reid Wiseman (right), and German astronaut Alexander Gerst (centre), kick around a ball some 230 miles above Earth aboard the International Space Station

Out of this world: The sport may not be that popular in America but it seems Americans in outer space cannot get enough of football. United States astronauts Steve Swanson (left), Reid Wiseman (right), and German astronaut Alexander Gerst (centre), kick around a ball some 230 miles above Earth aboard the International Space Station

The more stable patients of the Asuncion Psychiatric Hospital  in Asuncion Paraguay are allowed to watch the World Cup opener on an old television set

The more stable patients of the Asuncion Psychiatric Hospital in Asuncion Paraguay are allowed to watch the World Cup opener on an old television set

Assad and his cohorts are forgotten as these rebel fighters in the northern Syrian city of Aleppo put down their guns to watch Brazil triumph over Croatia

Assad and his cohorts are forgotten as these rebel fighters in the northern Syrian city of Aleppo put down their guns to watch Brazil triumph over Croatia  

They may be homeless but they still love their football in Mangaratiba, a suburb of Rio de Janeiro as they watch their country beat Croatia

They may be homeless but they still love their football in Mangaratiba, a suburb of Rio de Janeiro as they watch their country beat Croatia

Fans  in the Somalian capital of Mogadishu watch the players as they ready themselves before the match

Fans in the Somalian capital of Mogadishu watch the players as they ready themselves before the match

Fans in the Somalian capital Mogadishu watch David Luiz of Paris Saint-Germain and Brazil in the opening match

Fans in the Somalian capital Mogadishu watch David Luiz of Paris Saint-Germain and Brazil in the opening match

Brazilian goalkeeper Julio Cesar makes a save as rapt fans watch in the Somalian capital of Mogadishu

Brazilian goalkeeper Julio Cesar makes a save as rapt fans watch in the Somalian capital of Mogadishu

Fireworks are let off over Lebanese fans who gathered to watch the first match at a fan park in downtown Beirut, Lebanon

Fireworks are let off over Lebanese fans who gathered to watch the first match at a fan park in downtown Beirut, Lebanon

Palestinians watch the opening match of the World Cup 2014 on a huge screen in Gaza sports club in Gaza City

Palestinians watch the opening match of the World Cup 2014 on a huge screen in Gaza sports club in Gaza City

The ever efficient Germans watch the match while sitting on settees in the 1.FC Union stadium in Berlin

The ever efficient Germans watch the match while sitting on settees in the 1.FC Union stadium in Berlin

Kenyan waitress and a barman watch the match between Brazil and Croatia on television at a night club in Nairobi, Kenya. Kenyan football fans flocked to the bars and restaurants in Nairobi to enjoy the live coverage of the opening match despite the fears and warnings of possible attacks on the World Cup public screenings by Somalia's al-Shabab Islamist terrorists

Kenyan waitress and a barman watch the match between Brazil and Croatia on television at a night club in Nairobi, Kenya. Kenyan football fans flocked to the bars and restaurants in Nairobi to enjoy the live coverage of the opening match despite the fears and warnings of possible attacks on the World Cup public screenings by Somalia's al-Shabab Islamist terrorists

Brave: These Kenyan waitresses watch the match at a night club in Nairobi. Kenyans have been warned about possible attacks on the World Cup public screenings by al-Shabab Islamist militants.

Brave: These Kenyan waitresses watch the match at a night club in Nairobi. Kenyans have been warned about possible attacks on the World Cup public screenings by al-Shabab Islamist militants.

Kenyan football fans flocked to the bars and restaurants in Nairobi to enjoy the live coverage of the opening match despite the fears and warnings of possible attacks on the World Cup public screenings by Somalia's al-Shabab Islamist militants

Kenyan football fans flocked to the bars and restaurants in Nairobi to enjoy the live coverage of the opening match despite the fears and warnings of possible attacks on the World Cup public screenings by Somalia's al-Shabab Islamist militants

Far East: Brazilian forward Neymar appears on a big screen in Independence Square in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Far East: Brazilian forward Neymar appears on a big screen in Independence Square in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Fans celebrate Brazil scoring their third goal in front of a big screen in Independence Square in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Brazil won 3-1.

Fans celebrate Brazil scoring their third goal in front of a big screen in Independence Square in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Brazil won 3-1.

Middle East: Football fans in Dubai, United Arab Emirates settle down to watch the match

Middle East: Football fans in Dubai, United Arab Emirates settle down to watch the match

Children watch the World Cup opening match between Brazil and Croatia in an alley at the Mangueira slum, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Children watch the World Cup opening match between Brazil and Croatia in an alley at the Mangueira slum, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

You've either got or haven't got style: These German fans certainly do as they watch the opening game while sitting on sofas in the 1.FC Union stadium in Berlin

You've either got or haven't got style: These German fans certainly do as they watch the opening game while sitting on sofas in the 1.FC Union stadium in Berlin

The comments below have not been moderated.

NO NO NO What an unsurprisingly sexist headline !!!! ***How the world watched the World Cup:*** THE WORLD OF MEN IS NOT THE WORLD !!! ***proof we are all the same when football¿s on the telly *** NO WE ARE NOT !!!! This comment does not apply to all the women!!! No wonder women are still treated like second class citizens the world over - when media write headlines like this that clearly expose their appalling attitude that the WORLD is only made up of men !!! SHAME.

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I think your reading more in to it. You are the one who thinks its about men, it doesnt say that. I know lots of women that like football. I think its a good article and shows maby we are not all so different after all.

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You sound very strange.

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We should be proud of giving the worl the number 1 entertainment product, its bigger than Hollywood or Bollywood combined.

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And we the first protagonist.

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I'll watch a bowling match or a pool game on TV before I'll watch soccer. Hell, I'll even watch lawn mower racing before I'd watch it. It and tennis are the most mind-numbingly boring games ever devised.

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I have found something much more interesting to do than watching football,i am going to watch the paint dry on a window frame and light my barbie.

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No it is not proof that we are all the same when it comes to football. Some of us, and I suspect it is quite a large proportion especially if you count the 'football' wifes', are absolutely not interested in the slightest. I do wish these global statements are not made.

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I would like to ask our friend everageone in colombia is there any sports players in the world of sport that need less skill at playing there game than NFL players? I ask this because 90% or more are just WALLS OR BATTERING RAMS just huge men that can take pain and never touch the ball in game time! lets face it its Its a game for people that just like all things American and do not understand what a skillful game real football is!

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Their game not there.

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Football,BORING. World cup, MIND-NUMBINGLY BORING. Come lads, fess up, you only feign interest because you're scared of your mates.

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I hate it when people assume I watch football or a football fan. I play football but I don't follow this drama.

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I bet you are very bad.

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Except its soccer, not football. Need to stop disrespecting the most popular sport on the planet, the NFL

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It's football in the country that invented the game

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He might not be an American, he might be a Colombian.

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How on earth did those Germans get their settees to the stadium? Love the idea though!

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