PETALING JAYA: It is going to be a Super Sunday as fans gear up for the World Cup 2018 final and a boxing extravaganza.
Football fans from all over the world will tune in to the titanic conclusion to the month-long fabulous football frenzy, when France faces off Croatia in Moscow at 11pm (Malaysian time).
Malaysia is also set to claim some fame earlier in the day, when it hosts the much-awaited battle between Filipino Manny Pacquiao and Argentinian Lucas Matthysse at Axiata Arena in Bukit Jalil, Kuala Lumpur, at 3pm.
It has been hyped as the biggest boxing match in Malaysia since the Muhammad Ali-Joe Bugner 1975 clash.
Even Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has joined in the boxing mania by posting a photo of himself with Pacquiao on Instagram.
As for the World Cup, French Embassy Co-operation and Cultural Affair counsellor Roland Husson will join Malaysians and other French expats in Kuala Lumpur to watch the final game at Alliance Francaise de Kuala Lumpur in Jalan Semarak.
“This will be an immensely difficult game for France but we have a good team. With our Euro 2016 final loss driving us, what matters is that we rise above the pressure from the media and fans.
“If you want to watch the match with French supporters and families, this is the place to be!” said Husson.
Over at the Esplanade in Penang on Sunday, a big football fiesta awaits with an outdoor HD LED screen to cater to thousands of football fans, said Penang Youth and Sports Committee chairman Soon Lip Chee.
Administration clerk Zoey Oon, 24, said she plans to watch the final at the Esplanade with her friends.
“I am rooting for France to win! They have a lot of good players and their defenders have been scoring goals as well,” said Oon, who will be joined by three friends – Eve Loh, 24, Juliana Lee, 22, Juliet Tang, 23.
Tourism, Arts and Culture Deputy Minister Muhammad Bakhtiar Wan Chik said the ministry expects tourism spending to spike this weekend.
“Sports tourists on average spend as much as three times more than normal tourists,” said Muhammad Bakhtiar, who will be heading to Dataran Merdeka to watch the football final.
Fans can also head over to Pavilion Kuala Lumpur for the Final Match Party from 8pm onwards with performances and fun games to keep everyone occupied until the 11pm kick-off.
The game will be screened live in mega-sized proportions on Pavilion Kuala Lumpur’s Elite Outdoor LED Screen spanning roughly 60mx22m, located by the main entrance along Jalan Bukit Bintang. Part of Jalan Bukit Bintang will be closed from 8pm to 2am for safety reasons.
To make things even more interesting, Star Media Group will also crown its Rumble in Russia “Catch the Ball” contest winner at Pavilion when one lucky winner will walk away with a Kia Picanto “World Cup Edition”, a Sharp Aquos 60-inch UHD Android TV, a Sharp 700 i-Kagami refrigerator and a Sharp ultrasonic washer.
Fans can also be part of the Genting Football Fever 2018 at Resorts World Genting in Pahang on Sunday; Roar with Tiger Beer viewing party at The Square, Publika, from 7pm onwards; or Souled Out’s “So Soccerfest 2018” at its restaurants in Kuala Lumpur (Sri Hartamas, Ampang, Bangsar South and Taman Tun Dr Ismail) and Kota Kinabalu, Sabah.