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Summer is finally here, and that means sports season is in full bloom. Whether you've caught World Cup fever this year or are just supporting your local baseball team, there's a lot to get excited about. However, if you've got one or more of those little pennants or flags attached to your car fluttering in the wind, your fan enthusiasm might be costing the world more than you might think.

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Americans, it has been said time and time again, will never embrace soccer. Not when we have so many other sports (like baseball, basketball, hockey and American football) to watch, cheer on and follow. But if anyone can change minds, surely it's Adriana Lima. The Latin American supermodel – best known for being a Victoria's Secret Angel – is the lust-worthy centerpiece of Kia's campaign for the FIFA World Cup, taking place this year in her native Brazil.

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Adidas was an official sponsor of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, but the German sportswear company got drowned out of early advertising buzz by Nike, which wasn't a World Cup sponsor. The American company's Write the Future ad put it at the top of Nielsen's study of online buzz, ahead of Adidas. The same thing happened to official World Cup sponsor Budweiser when it got drummed out of the top ten in Nielsen's buzz ratings, while Danish brewer Carlsberg - not a Cup sponsor - ranked sixth.

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Brazil gets to showcase two of its passions next year: biofuels and soccer. The world's largest biofuel producer is hosting the World Cup next year, and visitors will be traveling around in biodiesel buses. It should be cleaner – and safer – than hanging out of car windows.

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Until its demise, A1GP had an intriguing, original formula. (At least once it took its place as a feeder series and not a competitor to Formula One). The idea, for those unfamiliar, was to pit teams representing their home countries against each other in identical F1-style single-seaters on famous race tracks around the world. Unfortunately, like so many things, the execution failed to live up to the idea.

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Three horsemen of the Revolutionary War – Click above for high-res image gallery

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World Cup crash test – Click above to watch video after the jump

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The 19th World Cup is set to kick off later this week, and Mercedes-Benz is throwing its weight behind the company's home team in the global competition. Silver Arrow head honcho Dieter Zetsche has just rolled out a wave of incentives in Germany to promote both the brand's association with the World Cup and the company's sponsorship of the German team. In the run up to the competition, German buyers can snag their own Mercedes-Benz with up to $2,493 in cash at current conversion rates, and shoul

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Goooooooaaaaallll! – Click above to watch the video after the break

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As two of the world's most popular and action-packed sports, F1 racing and soccer ("football" to just about everyone outside North America) share more in common than you'd think. This past season, the F1 race calendar was adjusted to avoid conflicting with the World Cup. No wonder, as grands prix are consistently second only to the World Cup (and the Olympics) for global television ratings.

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You can almost see it from Germany! Workers in Toyota's Burnaston plant in Derbyshire, England, put together this little flag to wish the English team luck in the World Cup. It evidently took 12 hours and 40 hardworking soccer fans to get 400 Yarises into position. The 130' x 260'  flag can reportedly be seen from 1,000 feet up and for miles around, wishing the boys over on the pitch in Germany best of luck.

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In the midst of the fervor over the World Cup, Toyota has high hopes for soccer in Chicagoland, where it has bought the naming rights for the Chicago Fire's home stadium for the next 10 years. Toyota Park, as the $95 million stadium is to be called, will help Toyota and its dealers in Chicago gain visibility. Toyota is currently the number two brand in the area (behind Chevrolet).

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