Keen fans up early for World Cup opener
Diehard football fans took an early trip to a Christchurch pub for the opening match of the 2014 Fifa World Cup this morning.
The Pegasus Arms in central Christchurch has been granted a special licence to stay open and serve alcohol during several big early morning matches.
"The people who are down here really love football, not because they want to drink at 4am," owner-operator Alex Brackstone said.
About 40 fans gathered at the pub this morning to watch the 8am opening match between Croatia and host Brazil, which Brazil won 3-1.
"We've made lots of coffees and breakfasts. There's a few enjoying a light beer, but really it's about getting together," Brackstone said.
"There's a lot of Brazilian supporters down here. There's New Zealand supporters here as well. It's a real mix."
The atmosphere was "intense" during the first match, especially when Brazil hit the ball into their own net.
"It's really exciting to hear a whole pub go from silent to just yelling," Brackstone said.
"Everyone's in such a brilliant mood; everyone's really excited that it's finally started."
Brackstone expected the crowds would grow as the competition progressed over the next month.
"We're expecting a huge crowd on Sunday for England's [first] match," she said.
Under the pub's special licence, fans needed to get a ticket from the venue to be able to attend the 4am and 6am games involving England, Australia, Italy, Spain, France, the Netherlands and Germany.
"It's pretty cool being in a different part of the world and still getting the atmosphere. It's early in the morning, but it's still probably exactly the same as it would be in a pub in England," Brackstone said.
Fans could get tickets for this weekend's early games by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, and would be able to download tickets directly from the Pegasus Arms' website from next week.