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worldcup300.jpg Submitted by Hailey Winslow on Thu, 06/17/2010 - 12:01pm.

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- Lions and tigers and soccer? A group of Wilmingtonians traveled to South Africa to see all three. The World Cup is the biggest single sporting event in the world, and a group from Wilmington got to sit in the stands. "It was unbelievable," Mark Austin said. "The US was well-represented, but it was pretty impressive, actually pretty amazing to see the passion that the other countries have for their teams." The USA-England game Saturday created some friendly husband-wife rivalry for Pam and Matt Taylor, who are from opposite sides of the pond. "If England wins, fantastic," Matt said. "If America wins, hey, it's just as good." Luckily for the Taylors, the teams tied. "It was probably the best result we could've hoped for," Pam said. Before the big game, the group happened to run into some of the American soccer team working out at a gym. "Kinda wished them luck," Austin said. "They were happy to see some Americans there cheering for them, so it was pretty neat to meet them and know you were in the same vicinity." At the games and all over town sound the South African horns called vuvuzelas. "We went to the top of Table Mountain, and you could hear the vuvuzelas in the background, which was really neat, because you're at the highest point in Cape Town overlooking the clouds, overlooking the whole city, the ocean, the mountains, and you can hear the spirit of the teams down below, so it was a pretty special moment," Pam Taylor said. "They're fun, but I could probably have a day or two without them at this point," Austin said. While in South Africa, the group from the Port City also went on a four-day safari. "It's not every day that you're sitting in a vehicle literally seven to 10 feet away from a lion, and he's just chewing on a gazelle sort of thing," Matt Taylor said. "I mean that was actually pretty incredible. You can smell their breath and smell the food and the carcass and yeah, pretty incredible." But the best part of the trip, the group says, is the people. "The locals here, the South Africans, are probably some of the nicest people you'll ever meet," Austin said. "The hospitality here has been amazing. Just to see their spirit for the World Cup. They're just happy that everyone's here supporting the World Cup here in South Africa." The group is going great white shark diving Friday before coming home Sunday. Don't forget, WWAY is proud to be your home for the FIFA World Cup. You can catch all the action through July 11th on ABC and ESPN, including tomorrow when the USA takes on Slovenia at 10 a.m. On ESPN.

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