A Beginner’s Guide to a Grown Man’s Fantasy: “The Vancouver Viewing Guide to the 2014 FIFA World Cup – Part 1”

by Justin Nearon

 

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Can you believe the 2014 FIFA World Cup is just around the corner?  Wasn’t it just yesterday that the constant drone of vuvuzelas was buzzing in our ears.  The 2010 event in South Africa was good, but I can’t imagine it will be anything like what we’re about to witness in Brazil, where football is king.  Being amongst the kaleidoscope of nationalities that will flock there would be nice, but there is a way to get a taste of it here in Vancouver.  Most of the 32 countries that make up the World Cup have little pockets of support in and around the Lower Mainland.  Just so you don’t find yourself draped in the “I Galanolefki” at Tonpopo Sushi during Japan vs Greece (June 19th at 3pm PST), let me be your tour guide of the places you should and shouldn’t be when rooting on your favourite Cup team.

Japanese World Cup Supporters – Galleryhip.com

June 12th – World Cup Kickoff – Brazil vs Croatia (1pm PST):  For games involving the Cup’s host nation you can’t beat Commercial Drive.  Any one of the Drive’s various bars or cafes will do, but Joe’s Cafe might be your best bet.

If you’re rooting for the opposition, head south along the same street until you come by the Croatian Cultural Centre, where the red white and blue flag with the checkered shield is sure to be flying high.

June 13th – Spain vs Netherlands (12pm PST):   People love winners, and since Spain is on an unbelievable run winning the last two European champions and the 2010 World Cup, a Spanish jersey will garner support just about anywhere.  The Elephant & Castle on Burrard and Hastings, which is where i watched them win the last Euro Cup, is as good a place as any to go.

The Netherlands don’t have a start time later than 12pm in any of their trio of games, so why not cheer them on with breakfast at one of the many De Dutch Pannekook Houses around the lower mainland (Yes, they will have a television).

June 13th – Australia vs Chile (3pm PST):  There are Aussies scattered throughout the province, but the largest concentration of them might be up in Whistler.  Any bar in the Village is where I’d go to support the Socceroos.  Unless you live nearby, this is the only game you would want to make the two hour drive from Vancouver for, as their other kickoff times are at 9am on the 18th and 23rd.

The best I could do for Chile is a little bakery called Panaderia in East Van.  If for some reason they don’t have a TV broadcasting “La Roja’s” games, I’ll bet they can tell you who does.

Italian team supporters at Caffe Roma on The Drive – Geoff Lister, 24 Hours

June 14th – Italy vs England (3pm PST):   To watch Italy play, let’s head  right back to Commercial Drive.  As much support as there is for Brazil on this culturally diverse street, Italy gets even more.  Show up early or you’ll be watching from the sidewalk outside of Caffé Roma, Caffé Napoli or Falconettie’s East Side Grill.

If England is more your flavour, I’d head over to The Dover Arms on Denman.  This British style pub has been a staple for soccer fans in the West End of Vancouver for decades.

June 16th – Iran vs Nigeria (12pm PST):  Even though it’s by no means a classic World Cup Match it will still garner a lot of interest, especially in North Vancouver where a large number of our Iranian community resides.  The best place to watch them might be Persepolis Restaurant & Lounge in Central Lonsdale.

If you’re rooting for Nigeria, head down to the Stadium Club at The Edgewater Casino.  This is one of two Iranian games this venue will be broadcasting, so while I’d expect more Persian fans in attendance, the 18 foot HD screens should attract more than a few fellow supporters of the “Super Eagles”.

June 17th – Mexico vs Brazil (12pm PST):  If you’re rooting for “El Tri” I’d go to Malone’s Pub and Grill in downtown Vancouver.  It’s not a Mexican restaurant, but this sports bar is surrounded by many of the schools our large population of travelling Mexican students attend.

With a fair number of Brazilians studying at those same ESL institutions, I’d expect their colours to be on heavy display here as well.

 

Brazilian Fans on Commercial Drive – Susan Gittins-flickr

June 19th – Colombia vs Cote D’ivoire (9am PST):  Any Colombian fans are welcome to stop by my crib for this match up.  With the Canadian team bowing out in qualifiers yet again , I’ve decide to place my support behind the country I can trace my mom’s side of the family to.

The fact that they can also claim Shakira as one of their own doesn’t hurt either.

Bring over a six pack of Águila’s and ignore the crazy woman draped in the Brazilian flag. Thats just my girlfriend.

June 20th – France vs Switzerland (12pm PST):  The Tableau Bar Bistro is not a place I’d normally go to watch a sporting event, but sitting up at the bar of this downtown restaurant might be a perfect place to watch the French team play.

Contrary to popular opinion, The Swiss Chalet in Kitts is NOT an appropriate place to watch team Switzerland compete. I would instead contact The Swiss Society of Vancouver, who should have a couple of better ideas.

June 21st – Argentina vs Iran (9pm PST):   Head back to the The Stadium Club at the Edgewater Casino to support the Argentinians.  Captained by superstar Lionel Messi, Argentina has one of the most popular teams in the world, so I don’t expect Persian fans to dominate the room like they probably will on June 16th vs Nigeria.

I want to give you some time to digest all this new information, so let’s take a halftime break.  If you need me I’ll be watching “We Are One (Ole Ola)”: The Official 2014 FIFA World Cup music video fifty to a hundred times (what?? It’s Jennifer Lopez aaand Claudia Leitte).

Rejoin us for Part 2 of our tour next week at WBD.

Colombian Futebol Fan – AP Photo/Fernando Vergara

@JustinNearon

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