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Soccer alive and well in Southeast Asia

Buriram United's stadium soars above the rural landscape in Buriram Province, Thailand.

BANGKOK -- No Southeast Asian country competed in this year's World Cup, but soccer is just as popular here as anywhere else. With incomes rising and fans starting to embrace local leagues, ticket and merchandise sales are skyrocketing and stadiums are being built around the region to keep up with the soccer boom.

     The town of Buriram is located about 500km northeast of Bangkok in Buriram Province. Take a drive along a quiet country road through sprawling rice paddies and a gigantic soccer stadium suddenly comes into view. It is Thunder Castle Stadium, the home ground of Thailand's premier soccer club, Buriram United.

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