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Footy fans invade Winnipeg for FIFA Women’s World Cup

WINNIPEG – They’ve come from all over.

Some from far, others a bit closer. But every single one pysched for soccer.

“It’s on my bucket list and I’m checking it off so I’m pretty excited,” said Rachel Lueken who drove up from Indiana for the FIFA Women’s World Cup.

Tens of thousands of footy fans have flooded Winnipeg for the tournament. The majority of them are American since the USA plays two games in the city this week alone. Several soccer supporters gathered outside Investors Group Field hours before the first match.

“We’re just tailgating before the game,” said Krisy Schaffer who came from Louisana. “Hanging, playing soccer with a few others from the U.S.A.”

READ MORE: Winnipeg hosts its first 2 FIFA Women’s World Cup matches Monday

Sweden and Nigeria opened Group D action at 3 p.m. followed by the U.S.A. versus Australia at 6:30 p.m.

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“We flew 12 hours to get here,” said one family from Sweden. “We’re excited to be here.”

And with the big crowds come big bucks.

“Their biggest activities are shopping and eating,” said Tourism Winnipeg’s Cody Chomiak. “They are coming here and supporting local businesses and leaving their dollars here.”

But it’s not just Winnipeg’s economy that will be kicked up a notch. With games spread apart by a few days, many fans plan to explore the province.

READ MORE: Canada edges China on late Sinclair penalty in Women’s World Cup opener

“We’re going to check out some of the provincial parks,” said Dave Smith from Michigan. “A little down time.”

Winnipeg is one of six host cities during this edition of the Women’s World Cup.

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Swedish fans prepare for the first Winnipeg game of the FIFA Women's World Cup. No. 5 ranked Sweden will play No. 33 ranked Nigeria at 3 p.m. CT. Mitch Rosset / Global News
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U.S. fans "tailgate" outside the indoor soccer complex at the University of Manitoba Monday ahead of their team's first match at the FIFA Women's World Cup. No. 2 ranked U.S.A. plays No. 10 Australia at 6:30 p.m. CT. Mitch Rosset / Global News
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U.S. World Cup fans "tailgate" outside the indoor soccer complex at the University of Manitoba Monday. Mitch Rosset / Global News

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