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Monday, June 27, 2011
World Cup fever is catching

By Lizzie Haldane and Patricia Lee

Don't we all wish we were in Germany, among the face-painted fanatics, waving, cheering and experiencing the 2011 Women's World Cup fanfare firsthand? For those not in Deutschland, espnW will provide the full fan experience. Every Monday and Friday throughout the three-week tournament, The Kick will give you a multimedia overview of the tournament so you can feel like you're a part of history in the making.

It's kind of a big deal

nadderley tweeted: My German paper has seven pages on the Women's World Cup and half a page on Wimbledon. It's a big deal here... #bbcfootball.

To get into the spirit of things, here's a little taste of Germany catching the Women's World Cup bug. No matter age, gender or race, soccer can unite a whole nation:

Because of its established fan base and infrastructure, it's no surprise that the 2011 Women's World Cup in Germany is off to a great start.

Ingridium tweeted: Attendance 73,680 #CANwnt Fabulous turnout for women's soccer! Well done Germany.

Sunday's Germany-Canada match pulled in the third-largest crowd in women's soccer history after the 1999 final and 1999 opener.

With ticket sales soaring above the 700,000 mark, it's been speculated that this event might surpass the iconic 1999 Women's World Cup in record attendance and viewership.

Everywhere you turn, there's football

To piggyback off the amazing in-house vibe, Germany created the Frankfurt Football Gardens to emphasize the festival experience for those not attending a game. It's the official fan mile for this year's Frauen-WM, where all games will be broadcast live with soccer-related activities, international cuisine, stage shows and live music.

Wendie Renard
Now and then: Hairstyles of Wendie Renard.

Avant-gard Renard

SheKicksdotnet tweeted: Btw, very sorry to see that France defender Wendie Renard tied her massive, frizzy, 'fro back for the Nigeria game. #sadtimes.

Pictured right are now and then snapshots of Renard's changing 'do.

Sinclair shoots and scores

AusWomensGame tweeted: "Attention male footballers, Sinclair gets an elbow to the face and gets a broken nose. Did she roll around 4 times and stop the game ... no!"

Trailing two-time defending champion Germany 2-0, Canada looked to its captain and leading goal scorer to save the day. Even with a broken nose, Christine Sinclair nailed a fantastic free kick through an astonished wall to break Germany's 679-minute shutout streak.

ColinUdoh tweeted: Germany haven't conceded a WWC goal since 2003. But today, Sinclair breaks that record with a beauty of a FK.

The goal didn't give her country a W, but it improved her team's goal differential to 2-1, which will prove vital for survival in the Group of Death. Go Canada!

Germany knows how to party

Frankfurt hosted an opening party the evening prior to Sunday's Women's World Cup opening matches. In front of more than 100,000 spectators, the River Main became the stage for a multimedia show displaying fireworks, live performances, light shows and video projections. Watch: Part 1 | Part 2

Paul(a) The Octopus ... in training

Aside from the Nigeria-France and Germany-Canada matchups, the biggest competition in Germany was among octopi. Yes, you read that right -- which cephalopod will replace Paul The Oracle from the 2010 Men's World Cup? A prestigious competition held at various German aquariums tests eight octopi's fortune-telling abilities. Paula has some more practicing since she incorrectly chose Canada to defeat Germany.

Whichever octopus tallies the most correct predictions over the course of the three-week tourney will become the official World Cup soothsayer.

Official unofficial songs

• FIFA selected Alexis Jordan's "Happiness" to be the official 2011 Women's World Cup anthem, but German fans have their own ideas for Frauen-WM's 2011 "Waka Waka":

• Women's World Cup 2011: Soccersong
• Schwestern: Family version
• Reggae: Official song
• Judy Bailey: We're Doing It
• Stadion Song