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Brazilians hit by sticker fever as World Cup nears

Published on NewsOK Modified: May 11, 2014 at 3:18 pm •  Published: May 11, 2014

SAO PAULO (AP) — World Cup sticker frenzy has swept Brazil like never before.

Brazilians have long been avid fans of World Cup sticker albums. This year, however, there's added motivation with soccer's showcase event starting at home on June 12.

Everybody is talking stickers, from kids to adults, students to doctors. Even Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff.

Fans have set up trading places in front of stadiums, plazas and bookstores to swap their stickers in hopes of completing their sets. Some are hardcore collectors. Others are helping their kids or just there for the thrill of it.

Brazil led all countries in sales during the 2010 World Cup and this time numbers are already better than they were four years ago, according to the FIFA-picked company in charge of the album, Italy-based Panini. The stickers are sold in more than 100 nations, with South America being the top market. Germany and Switzerland were the top countries in sales after Brazil in 2010, Panini said.

"The last time I did this was when I was just a little kid, but with the World Cup coming to Brazil there was no way I was going to pass up on this one," said 32-year-old Fernando da Silva, who was trying to complete his second album at a trading point in front of the Pacaembu Stadium in Sao Paulo. "The World Cup is here and this album will be historic. This brings back all memories from when I used to swap stickers with my friends at school."

Hundreds of people have been going to the Pacaembu every weekend, as well as to other trading places across Brazil's largest city, including supermarkets, cafes and malls. The city's main art museum, MASP, is one of the most popular places for enthusiasts, attracting groups of teenagers, couples and entire families looking to swap their stickers.

There are many Internet groups devoted to people wanting to swap their stickers, and countless apps are at the disposal of fans looking for those hard-to-come-by stickers. There's even a virtual album created by Panini.

"This time it has been really easy to find the stickers because everybody has an album," said Inez Carvalho Oliveira, a 28-year-old pediatrician who was at the Pacaembu to try to find the 13 stickers still needed for her album.

Right next to her, 60-year-old Jucileia Lobato hastily gazed through a pack of duplicates, checking the missing numbers from her list.

"I started helping my grandkids when they bought the album because of the World Cup, and I liked it so much that I decided to buy one for myself," she said, still looking at the stickers. "But I have to hurry because my husband is waiting in the car. ... I just want to find a few more stickers."

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