Footie fever spreads as World Cup kickoff approaches

IPSWICH: The countdown is now on ... and World Cup fever is gripping the country.

Tension is mounting as fans ponder over whether England can step up to the plate and win the biggest prize in sport.

England’s dedicated army of fans are preparing for the big event and football fever is taking over Ipswich.

Staff at Turners Hyundai, based in Ransome’s Way, Ipswich, have joined forces with the Evening Star, to host a World Cup extravaganza ahead of the contest in South Africa.

And Saturday will see a selection of fun-filled events take place as part of the company’s football frenzy.

Customers are being invited to the town dealership for a trade-in day, allowing visitors to swap their old footballs for a brand new one with 300 up for grabs.

The old footballs, which are part-exchanged, will be sent to 50 schools across South Africa through charity SOS Africa. Hyundai is also preparing to send a minimum of 5,000 new footballs to the host country.

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Other football festivities at the site will include the chance to win a trip to South Africa and match tickets, a party kit and a free wall chart giveaway. The Star will also be giving away stickers and goodie bags.

Evening Star editor Nigel Pickover said: “This is going to be a fabulous day for everyone and a great chance to pick up one of these special balls and at the same time give some joy to schools in the 2010 World Cup country.”

Matt Scannell, sales executive at Turners Hyundai, said: “We believe that it is going to be England’s year.”

Meanwhile, thousands of enthusiastic England supporters are also expected to descend on one of the town’s biggest parks.

Gigantic screens will be set up at Chantry Park, allowing football lovers to enjoy the action live at the biggest World Cup fan festival.

More than 20,000 supporters are expected to attend the Ipswich World Cup Fan Festival, which will kick off at 2pm on June 12 as the national team take on the USA.

The two other England first-round matches will also be screened in the park, with the games against Algeria on June 18 and Slovenia on June 23 sure to draw big crowds.

Should Capello’s men make it through the next stage, the two possible dates for the second-round match have also been pencilled-in.

Meanwhile, Mr Pickover is preparing to jet out to South Africa to follow the progress of the Three Lions.

Log on to to follow his online World Cup blog to get an insight into all of the action.

n FREE England car stickers will be given out at Turners on Saturday. Other locations will be announced in the coming weeks.

n How will you celebrate the World Cup? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail

n See Opinion – page 6

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