TGIF World Cup in the City

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 A couple hundred soccer fans gathered in San Francisco's Civic  Center Plaza Friday to watch one of the first games of the World Cup on a  large screen.
     The game between France and Uruguay today was one of more than a  dozen that will be shown in the plaza outside City Hall during the next month  as part of a partnership between the city's Recreation and Park Department  and several businesses and local nonprofits.
     The World Cup, an international soccer tournament held every four  years, is being hosted by South Africa this year. The host team kicked off  the tournament with a match against Mexico this morning, followed by the  France-Uruguay game a few hours later.
     Fans of both teams gathered in front of the 13-by-18-foot screen  to watch the game. Many had flags from one of the two countries draped around  them or painted on their face.
     Dante Arias said he came from Vallejo to join the crowd watching  the game in support of Uruguay. His father is a native of Uruguay, so he has  dual citizenship in the U.S. and Uruguay.
     "I hope they go all the way, unless they face the U.S., then I'll  have to root for them," he said.
     Frank Tanne came to watch the game at Civic Center Plaza after  hearing about it from a friend and checking out the information on, the website set up by organizers.
     Tanne is from France but is studying in San Francisco for a year.  During halftime, he said he was pleased with the French defense but was  disappointed with the team's offense.
     "I think the French defense is great, but in attack they don't do  so well," he said.
     Arias had a similar opinion of the Uruguayan side during the  halftime break.
     "They've had a few chances, but I think they're playing too  defensive so far," he said.
     Both fans were right about their teams' offenses - the game ended  in a scoreless tie.
     Manny Anaya, a youth soccer coach in San Francisco, is one of the  organizers who is helping to bring 14 games to the screen at Civic Center  Plaza between today and July 11.
     Anaya said the biggest draw among the first round games is  expected to be Saturday's match between the U.S. and England, which he said  could draw a couple thousand people to the plaza.
     Small soccer fields have also been set up for youth to play during  the tournament, and food and drink booths will also be set up during the  games.
     For a full schedule of the games that will be broadcast in the  plaza, visit

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