Soccer fans get as excited watching a big game as they do during a night of passionate love-making, European researchers claimed.

Scientists from the Netherlands and Spain studied the hormone levels of Spanish fans during a match and found that levels of the sex hormone testosterone soared in male and female soccer fans regardless of their team's success.

Lead researcher Leander van der Meij, from Amsterdam's Vu University, said fans also experienced a greater secretion of the "stress" hormone cortisol, an effect that is "consistent with the social self-preservation theory."

The spike in cortisol secretion suggests that the fans -- younger, more devoted fans in particular -- experienced a threat to their social esteem if their team did not win.

The study was published in the journal PLoS One.

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