PETALING JAYA - Malaysia may not be in the Fifa World Cup, but the country has been in the grip of football fever that will peak with Argentina facing Germany in the final tomorrow.
Since the tournament began on June 14, fans have had their routines disrupted and struggled to stay alert at work during the day after viewing live broadcasts of the matches played between midnight to early morning.
Many eateries and 24-hour mamak food outlets have been packed with people gathering to watch the matches.
The passionate following of teams are testament to the game's popularity in the country.
The final, to be played at the Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, will be eagerly awaited by the fans of both Argentina and Germany in Malaysia.
While most plan to watch the match at home, many are expected to turn out in force at several open-air gatherings, including Dataran Merdeka in Kuala Lumpur.
The event, organised by the Youth and Sports Ministry, will start at 7.30pm with the breaking of fast and prayers for Muslims and football related contests and activities before the start of the match at 4am.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak is also expected to turn up at Dataran Merdeka, prompting Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin - an ardent Argentina fan - to jokingly make a request on his Facebook page.
He wrote: "Boss, please don't support Argentina because all the teams that you have supported (Spain and Brazil) have lost badly." Before the start of the World Cup, Najib had admitted to being a fan of the England team but predicted that Spain be champions. He also expressed his admiration for Brazil. All three teams were knocked out.
Most politicians and celebrities are also looking forward to watching the finale.
MCA deputy president Datuk Dr Wee Ka Siong expectes Germany to win 2-0. MCA Youth will also show the final on a giant screen at Wisma MCA and a live band performance before the match.
PAS' Pasir Mas MP Nik Abduh Nik Aziz is an Argentina supporter but expects Germany to lift the World Cup.
"They are better tactically and they have a strong teamwork," he said.
Actress Lisa Surihani is hoping for Germany to win 2-1 while Red FM's Mynn Lee, 30, an Argentina fan thinks it will be a 1-0 victory.
JJ, her colleague in The Red Breakfast is rooting for Germany. So is comedian and Red FM deejay Kavin Jay.
"But the problem is, the World Cup has been unpredictable. Lionel Messi could suddenly decide to be the best player," he said.