World Cup soccer goal

Liam Burns (left), 14, Phil Burns, Scarlett Burns, 9, Carolyn Lehmann, and India Burns, 12, have watched the World Cup live. Picture: AARON SAWALL

Liam Burns (left), 14, Phil Burns, Scarlett Burns, 9, Carolyn Lehmann, and India Burns, 12, have watched the World Cup live. Picture: AARON SAWALL

IT'S been tough but it's been a bonding experience.

Since the World Cup began nearly four weeks ago, the Burns family have been rising in the early hours to watch about 90 per cent of the televised games live.

Phil Burns said the alarms at his Warrnambool family home went off about 1.45am for he and his three children to watch the first game of the night, which finished about 4am.

They then go back to bed to get some more sleep before rising again at 5.30am to catch a second game before sunrise. "We have lost a lot of sleep," Mr Burns said.

He admits to drinking a lot of coffee to remain alert at work and catching up on sleep as a passenger on car trips.

His children were fortunate to have the school holidays to recover from their early morning viewing, he said.

Mr Burns's wife works night shift as a nurse but occasionally catches a glimpse of the games on television at work. With such a passion for the game, it's not surprising that Mr Burns and his children all play soccer.

Mr Burns plays reserves in the seniors for the Warrnambool Rangers and coaches the club's under 17s.

His son Liam, 15, plays for the club's under 17s, 13-year-old daughter India plays in the senior women and under 15 teams and nine-year-old Scarlett plays sub-juniors in the club's in-house competition.

Mr Burns said the family's enthusiasm for the cup was such that it got up before 2am for last weekend's games even though it went away for the weekend to the children's grandparents.

"Gran got up as well," Mr Burns said.

He said the family had done the hard viewing and had the cup final in its sights.

After this morning's semi between Germany and Brazil and tomorrow morning's semi between Argentina and the Netherlands, the final awaits early on Monday morning.

Mr Burns is going for Germany to win while his children are going for Brazil.

He said the family had sacrificed even more sleep to watch much of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa that had a more gruelling broadcast schedule.

While demanding, the ritual did provide good family time, he said.

ehimmelreich@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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