The World Cup draw, televised last Sunday from Las Vegas, Nev., might have been watched around the world by more than half a billion people, but only 313,000 households in the United States tuned in, according to ratings released Tuesday by ESPN, the cable network that televised the event.

The draw received an 0.5 cable rating on ESPN, which is available in 62.7 million of the 94.2 million homes with televisions in the United States."It's hard to get good ratings opposite the NFL," said Mike Soltys, a spokesman for ESPN, which showed the draw at 3 p.m. Eastern time, opposite six National Football League games.

This poor rating on U.S. television underlines a recent survey by FIFA, the sport's world governing body, that only 35 percent of Americans are aware the World Cup will be played in the United States next summer.

LUCK OF THE GREEKS: The Greeks got what the Irish wanted and vice versa. The Irish will play two games in the New York-New Jersey area, heavily populated with Greeks, and the Greeks will play two games in the Boston area, where the Irish represent the largest ethnic group.

"We wanted to play in New York," said Coach Alkis Panagoulias of Greece, a naturalized American citizen and the former coach of the United States national team.

Panagoulias lived in Long Island City for about 10 years and played and later coached the Greek Americans in the old German-American League to three National Challenge Cup titles.

IT'S ONLY A GAME: Those who bought tickets for first-round games at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., without knowing what teams they would be watching had to be somewhat shocked that one of the games will be between Morocco and Saudi Arabia instead of Italy and somebody.

"The metropolitan area is the one part of the country that can support such a game," said Charlie Stillitano, the executive director for the games at Giants Stadium. "Soccer fans in the area see European and South American teams all the time. It will be nice to see teams from other continents and I think these two teams can offer a good spectacle."

The game, scheduled for June 25 at 7:30 p.m., will be a tough sell, no matter how important it will be in Group F, which also includes Belgium and the Netherlands.

Ahmet Ertegun, the former president of the Cosmos and a member of the board of directors of the organizing committee, was right when he urged the committee to put tickets on sale without knowing which teams would be playing where.

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BILGE FROM THE BILDS? A number of U.S. publications considered last week's 3-0 loss to Germany a success for the Americans. The news media in Germany looked at it as an embarrassment for the country and blasted the team for such a narrow victory, which followed a 2-1 loss to Argentina in Miami.

The German news media were extremely critical of the team's inability to break down a rather vulnerable U.S. defense, which allowed two goals on headers off corner kicks.

Some German reporters have made particularly harsh attacks against some individuals on the team. That has apparently annoyed the players and Coach Berti Vogts.

After the reports on the Argentina and U.S. games, the coach and his players boycotted the German news media.

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