I can’t believe this is going to be my third World Cup in Washington, D.C.! Well, technically, I was honeymooning in Peru during the 2006 tournament and I’ll be in Brazil for most of this one. Nonetheless. I’ve definitely noticed a rise in soccer fandom in the District since I’ve moved here. There are SO many options now when it comes to watching the games and you can read all about them in lots and lots of articles and blog post (like this one, and this one and this one.) Overall, the best places to watch soccer in the area will always be Lucky Bar, Fado and Summers. But the World Cup is about SO much more than soccer. It’s about countries. It’s about being together as you watch the match (or at least not surrounded by people who are cheering for the other team. Been there, done that for the finals in 2006. It’s not fun. And it can be hard to get together with like-minded fans when you’re let’s say from Australia, Belgium or France as opposed to American, Mexican, British or Italian. If I weren’t going to Brazil, here is where I’d be watching some of the games.
A CINDERELLA STORY ~ Brazil’s fairy tale princess could be Belgium. The Red Devils boast some of the best young players in Europe, most of them World Cup rookies. Nonetheless, several of them are rising stars of the English league and their goalie, Thibaut Courtois, helped lead Atlético Madrid to a shock Spanish title this year and a runner-up finish in the Champions League. They’re also in a pretty easy group and are definitely a team to watch! Their biggest fan in the city happens to be a knight who owns 2 restaurants… so take a long “lunch break” on the 17th and the 20th head to B Too to cheer them on!
Games to watch: Belgium-Algeria (June 17 at noon), Belgium-Russia (June 22 at noon), Belgium-South Korea (June 26 at 4PM.)
ALLEZ LES BLEUS ~ Let’s start with the most important team, at least for me! Yes, there are plenty of French restaurants in the city, but supporters of Les Bleus will be getting together at Redline for every France game. Initially, it was the Swiss Embassy and the Swiss Club of DC who decided Redline would be their World Cup HQ (chef Fabrice Reymond is from Lausanne.) But since the French Embassy doesn’t get involved in these kind of things and we’re playing La Nati anyways, I thought it would be fun to go to Redline too. So now Redline is the World Cup HQ for all supporters of LES BLEUS and supporters of Switzerland are headed to City Tap House instead on the 15th and darlington House on the 25th (sorry). On the 20th, when France and Switzerland face off, we’ll all be at Redline though.
Games to watch: France-Honduras (Sunday June 15 at 3PM), France-Switzerland (Friday June 20 at 3PM), France-Ecuador (June 25 at 4PM.)
CAMPEONES! ~ There’s not shortage of great Spanish restaurants to cheer on the reigning World Cup and Euro Cup champions: Bodega, Jaleo, La Tasca, etc. THE game to watch is obviously Spain-Netherlands, a rematch of the 2010 World Cup finals. That’s June 13th at 3PM. I hear both the Dutch and the Spaniards are planning on taking over Elephant & the Castle on Pennsylvania Avenue, which should be really fun. Otherwise, if you’re into the Socceroos, you probably want to avoid anywhere remotely Spanish on June 23rd and head to Fado’s instead. It’s an awesome soccer bar and the Australians in Washington Association will be there, so there will be at least a few other people not cheering for Spain around you.
Games to watch: Spain-Netherlands (Friday, June 13 at 3PM), Spain-Chile (Wednesday June 18 at 3PM) and Spain-Australia (Monday June 23 at noon.)
NATIONALMANNSCHAFT ~ Now I’m no fans of the Germans, but they put on a good show (both on the field and off.) I do feel bad for them this year because they’re a) in a really hard group b) playing the US and it’s never fun to cheer against the US in the US. Four years ago, BiergartenHaus opened its door on the first day of the World Cup and the H street bar is still an awesome spot to watch the games, especially if you want to be outside in the sun instead of inside a dark bar all day. and it’s especially fun to watch Germany play there since, you know, it’s a German beer garden and all. Also outdoors will be a return of Soccer in Circle Festival with a live screening of the USA-Germany game on big screen in Dupont Circle June 26th.
Games to watch: Portugal-Germany (Monday June 16 at noon), Germany-Ghana (Saturday June 21 at 3PM) and of course Germany-USA (Thursday June 26 at noon.)
U-S-A! U-S-A! ~ There’s obviously tons of options to cheer for the USMNT. Dupont Circle for the US-Germany game on the 26 should be really fun and D.C. United is sponsoring another outdoor screening, for the Portugal-USA game, in Reston Town Center (June 22 at 6PM.)
Games to watch: Ghana-USA (Monday June 16 at 6PM), Portugal-USA (Sunday June 22 at 6PM) and USA-Germany (Thursday June 26 at noon.)