Thousands of soccer fans may get the chance to watch next year's World Cup soccer final in France on one of Hong Kong's giant outdoor screens. French Consul-General Thierry Dana is considering the possibility of staging the televised event at either the Hong Kong Stadium or Happy Valley racecourse. 'We are investigating who holds the television rights and hope to be able to present at the least the final on an outdoor screen,' he said. 'It also depends on what time the match is played. If it is on in the afternoon in Paris, the timing is perfect for Hong Kong to watch it in the evening. It is a preliminary idea but if we can make it I am sure the event would be successful.' The 1998 finals promise to be the biggest ever at the birthplace of FIFA (Federation Internationale de Football Association), an organisation founded in 1904 at the initiative of French journalist Robert Guerin. For the first time, 32 countries rather than 24 will contest the finals from a total of 172 countries now competing to qualify. More than 2.5 million spectators are expected at the grounds alone. Over 33 days from June 10 to July 12 no fewer than 64 matches will be played at 10 venues - Saint- Denis, Marseille, Bordeaux, Lens, Lyon, Montpellier, Nantes, Paris, Saint-Etienne and Toulouse. Also for the first time in the history of the World Cup, each team will play their first three qualifying matches in different stadiums. Mr Dana said the tournament was well on course to be a major success, he said, having already achieved 93 per cent of its marketing target and 100 per cent ticket sales. Both the final and the opening match will be held in the spectacular new Stade de France stadium in St Denis, near Paris. Currently under construction, it will be capable of seating 80,000 fans in four tiers of stands.