The most-watched sporting tournament on the planet kicked off today with Russia soundly defeating Saudi Arabia. But there are plenty of soccer (aka football) games to come in the FIFA World Cup, which runs through July 15. And while the United States did not qualify for the Russia-hosted competition — a huge embarrassment, even for a country which doesn't care
about soccer like the rest
of the world — that doesn't mean there aren't opportunities to get into the event in Cleveland. And you should.
Obviously, as a Clevelander, you like winners. So you're going to want to get behind teams like the highly-ranked Germany (who won the 2014 World Cup), Brazil (who've won the most Cups in history), Uruguay, France or Belgium. Top players Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal) and Lionel Messi (Argentina) could also very well lead their teams to victory.
Now, the U.S. has played in all World Cups since 1990, but we were not the only country to shockingly not qualify for the event this time around. Good squads like Italy, Ghana, Chile, and the Netherlands also fell flat. Thankfully, there are plenty of amazing teams left to root for.
The only way to truly get into the World Cup spirit is to watch the games with a group, usually while drinking beer. Here are five soccer-friendly bars in Cleveland to watch the World Cup over the next month:
This Ohio City bar is pro-England, but note they will be opening early for all games (many of which start at 6 a.m. this year). This place is one of the most soccer-crazed taverns in town.
This Cleveland State University-adjacent bar is getting into the World Cup action this year, showing games and offering drink specials like $6 for a "Deer and a Beer" (which is a shot of Jager and a pint of IPA).
: As this downtown spot's name implies, this is the place to go to cheer on Germany. Hofbrauhaus is hosting Deutschland viewing parties for as many games as they play (which will most likely be many). Check out that schedule here.
Merry Arts Pub & Grill
: The gatherings spot for Cleveland's own American Outlaws, a proud soccer fan group, this Lakewood taco joint is known for bringing all the World Cup energy.
i: Brazilian fans can find refuge together at Batuqui, a Brazilian restaurant on Larchmere Blvd. which plans to show all of the country's games live.
Check out the full World Cup TV schedule on FOX/FS1 right here
For a complete guide to most of your burning questions about the FIFA World Cup check out this informative Vox article right here.