World Cup 2014: 5 ways to get football fever in Brussels
The World Cup kick-off on June 12 in Brazil is just days away, but how can you get caught up in the Fifa madness so far from Rio?
The Bulletin has put together five ways you can get in touch with your inner football fanatic over the next month, for those adorning the black, yellow and red or sporting their own national colours.
1. Watch the Belgian Red Devils from a giant screen (and have a street party while you’re at it)
From June 12 till July 13, various communes around Brussels have organised watching parties in their main squares on giant screens. Most of these watching parties are surrounded by other football-related activities like human Kickers (foosball) matches, concerts and mojito happy hours.
If you’re supporting the Red Devils, consider the Forest-National big screen, running events just for Red Devil matches. AperoFoot in Uccle meanwhile will be screening all matches for those looking to see their national team play on the big screen. Check out this map by VisitBrussels.be for some suggestions on where to find a big screen near you (along with some useful match information).
2. Watch the World Cup from a pub (…and have a party while you’re at it!)
There's nowhere better to watch your favourite team play in the World Cup than in a pub with a pint of beer. But where can you go and be sure to have Rio live on screen? Red Devil Vincent Kompany’s new sports bar in Grand Place - Good Kompany – will be a World Cup hot spot for many in the capital. Another great venue will be the European Football House. Organised by BrusselsLife.be and Aloft, the EFH will be broadcasting World Cup games, have food trucks on site and be organising a grand foosball tournament.
Check out this map for the many other bars streaming the matches live throughout the World Cup (like Le Café Mondial near Sainte-Catherine, O’Reilly’s at Bourse and the Maison du Peuple in Parvis de Saint Gilles).
3. Attend a football-themed exhibition
Mix football and fine art by attending a football-themed exposition. For fans who want to get up close and extremely personal, check out Flemish photographer Stephan Vanfleteren’s photo exhibition at Botanique which focuses exclusively on the national sports heroes – and their naked torsos. Called MMXIV Les Diables/De Duivels, this black-and-white series features half-clad, athletic bodies arranged in heroic poses. The photographer intends to “celebrate the new gods of the stadium, but also, through the many skin tones of the team, the complex mixture that is modern Belgium.”
For more hard-core football fans, Tour & Taxis has a less sexy but informative exhibition called Foot Expo, which relives more than 40 years of Belgian football. It includes information on every player from the 1st Division since 1971, key championship moments, the top players, the national team and the major tournaments in which it has participated since 1970, shirts and memorabilia and interactive quizzes.
4. Attend the European Street Cup
When you get tired of watching and supporting your team on a television screen, get into some fantastic live football action with the European Street Cup Championship that will take place in Brussels from June 19 to 22 near Sainte-Catherine (Place du Nouveau Marché aux Grains). The event takes football back to the streets where players from across Europe go head-to-head in Panna (arena) and four-a-side matches as well as a freestyle juggling competition.
The event is completely free to attend, so head on down and catch some live football action! You may not be watching Lukaku or Ronaldo, but take a look at this video trailer and you’ll see that these European freestyle footballers have got some serious skills.
5. Get decked out with World Cup memorabilia
One of the great aspects of the World Cup is how it brings out our true-blue national colours. During this month of (mostly) friendly sports competition, Brussels will be a mosaic of national flags and colours of all the different nationalities supporting their home team. So why not get caught up in the fun by buying some creative memorabilia of your own? For those with a car, these fun rear-window flag covers are a must-have. Those at the office meanwhile can show their colours with this Red Devils watch, headphones or smartphone cover. For women, consider this fabulous Belgian Red Devils make-up kit to paint your face in the Belgian colours. Finally, for newborn supporters, there are football-themed pacifiers. Last but not least, the perhaps most intriguing and slightly frightening memorabilia: contact lenses in your team's colours!
Photo courtesy VisitBrussels.be