Hampton Roads, Virginia have caught World Cup fever

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America's sporting obsessions are reserved for prime time and/or weekends. Pro football, college football, NASCAR, the World Series of Poker.

Oh, there are exceptions. Early-round NCAA basketball tournament games on Thursday and Friday afternoons. Olympic events from afar that, while taped for prime-time airing, are available live on cable or online.

Which brings us to noon Thursday, when, from many accounts, the American workforce shut down as the United States clashed with Germany at soccer's World Cup in Brazil.

Few regions have fallen for the sport's quadrennial party like ours. For the U.S.-Portugal, which ESPN says was the most-watched soccer match ever in the States, Norfolk was the No. 9 market, behind Washington, D.C., Columbus, Ohio, New York, Boston, Hartford/New Haven, Conn., Providence, R.I., Atlanta and Baltimore. For the first 32 matches overall, Richmond was No. 11.

Such ratings do not surprise in a state with quality club, high school and college programs. 

Not to suggest that this World Cup, or any in our lifetime, will convert Americans into year-'round soccer mavens. We've been down that path before.

David Teel can be reached at 757-247-4636 or by email at dteel@dailypress.com. For more from Teel, read his blog at dailypress.com/teeltime and follow him at twitter.com/DavidTeelatDP.

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