United Nations (CNN) -- The world stops for the World Cup, and the United Nations is no exception.
Diplomats and staffers gathered Wednesday in a small viewing area at U.N. headquarters in New York City to watch Spain beat Germany in a World Cup semifinal match, earning the right to face The Netherlands in Sunday's championship.
For almost a month, World Cup viewing has become a staple of U.N. life.
Unlike bars and restaurants that likely have specific country affiliations, the U.N. audience encompasses a broad base of nationalities and allegiances.
To Holmen Bengt, who works for the Norwegian Mission to the United Nations, it is the ideal place to experience what many consider to be the premier global sports event.
"It adds a very nice flavor to it because you have the world here, and it's the World Cup," Bengt said.
South Africa is hosting the World Cup, the first time the tournament has been held in Africa, and the South African government paid for the U.N. viewing area. It might have underestimated the popularity.
About 60 people crammed into the viewing area Wednesday, most of them standing to watch a large flat-screen television. Another dozen or so tried to catch a glimpse over the area's temporary walls by standing on chairs. An equally-packed overflow room down the hall held another 70 people.
Watching the game at the United Nations required multitasking ability. During breaks in play, men and women in suits checked their BlackBerrys, but when a goal was scored, the audience was on its feet, yelling and slapping hands as if they were at the stadium.
Wednesday's match took place during a Security Council debate on the protection of civilians in armed conflict. The day before, several soccer fans skipped attending the Queen of England's first address to the General Assembly in more than 50 years. It was unclear how many would have attended if England, eliminated in the round of 16, had still been playing.
Mococha Tembele, from the Tanzanian U.N. Mission, said the viewing area provided an opportunity to both work and watch, due to its proximity.
"I'm watching games here because I'm attending meetings," Tembele said. "This is the only convenient place for me to come."
Throughout the game, everyone from custodians to security guards to dapper diplomats bounded up the stairs to check the score, while a contingent of die-hards stuck it out for the whole match.
Teresa Lopez, a beaming Spanish national and one of the few wearing her country's jersey, said she was on her day off, but she defended some of the other viewers.
"As long as they fulfill their responsibilities and go back to work after the match is over, and they finish their job, I think they're fine," Lopez said. "I think if it's their national team, there may be a little understanding."