It took cinemas almost a week of finetuning but soccer fans were still delighted with the results as Hong Kong on Thursday night welcomed its first 3D broadcast from the World Cup in South Africa.

A number of cinemas in the city had signed up for the 3D broadcasts but difficulties with the picture quality and with successfully matching the images to a Cantonese commentary had initially led to announcements that fans could look forward to the World Cup final only - if indeed anything at all.

But news spread quickly around town that Panorama Entertainment - the company which had picked up the rights to the broadcasts - had weeded out the problems and so the Grand Ocean Cinema on the Tsim Sha Tsui waterfront was selected for the first game, between Argentina and South Korea.

Around 500 soccer-hungry fans packed the cinema and sent up a cheer when a Panorama representative said there would now be 18 games broadcast in 3D in total and that they would be spread around town.

Hong Kong has become the latest country to host 3D screenings from South Africa following success with the innovation in France, Italy, Spain, Poland, Britain, South Africa, Portugal, New Zealand and Australia.

Tickets for the first broadcast game were set at a steep HK$300 (31 euros) - or around five times the price of a normal cinema ticket - but Panorama's chief executive said that with an outlay of close to HK$10 million (one million euros) for the 3D rights already paid, even that price would not be enough to see the company turn a profit on the venture.

"I would still lose money if I charge HK$3,000 (312 euros) per ticket,'' Allan Fung told the local press here. "But making it happen in Hong Kong is already a success.''

South Korean fan Holly Lim agreed. She and a group of friends saw their home nation lose to the Argentines 4-1 on Thursday but said the experience was worth it.

"The 3D was awesome,'' she said. "If only our team could have done better than losing 4-1. Actually we were told that the first cinema in the world to screen a game in 3D was in Australia and it was the night Germany scored four goals against them - so we are blaming it on some kind of curse.''