ROME, JUNE 2 -- Americans were among the thousands of soccer fans who waited in line all night hoping to buy a ticket to the World Cup championship game.

A total of 10,000 tickets went on sale to the public this morning at eight branches of a Rome bank. Fans waited in line for up to 24 hours for the right to tickets ranging in price from $25 to $192.

"It's harder than you'd believe {sleeping} on the sidewalk, but it is worth it," said Gilbert Eshom, 29, a tour coordinator from Alhambra, Calif. "I don't care who is in the final, I just want to be there. It's like the Super Bowl or the Olympics.

"I don't mind sleeping in the streets. It's fun and something different."

Eshom, a veteran World Cup watcher who attended the championships in Mexico four years ago, said he didn't expect the U.S. team to reach the championship game July 8 in Olympic Stadium.

"The United States has no chance," he said. "I'd be surprised if they even score a goal."

Nelson Mignona, a Los Angeles model working in Rome, said he had stood in line for almost 24 hours.

"I don't care who wins, but in 1994 I'd like to see the U.S. win," he said.

Mignona, who attended the 1982 World Cup in Spain, said many Americans did not realize the importance of the tournament.

"With the American team here this time, I hope the people in the U.S. will begin to understand more about it," he said. "It's time we caught up with the the rest of the world."

Not everyone was interested in the the game itself.

Two Californians, who identified themselves as Doug, from Los Angeles, and Mike, from San Diego, said they planned to buy as many tickets as possible and resell them throughout the tournament at inflated prices. Ticket scalping is illegal in Italy.

"We made good money in Mexico four years ago, but the people were poor and willing to sell their tickets relatively cheaply," said Doug. "It might be tougher here."