Vancouver mornings are about to get a lot louder.
The world’s second most popular soccer tournament, Euro Cup 2012, kicks off Friday and fans of the 16 participating nations are ready to make some noise in Vancouver.
Like many international sporting events, immigrants, ex-pats, descendants and casual fans will be putting on their favourite nation’s shirt and flock to pubs, restaurants and community centres to revel in the cultural and sporting festivities that run until July 1.
Greeks will be gathering in Kitsilano, Italians will intersect on Commercial, the English will embark on Main Street and Germans will gravitate to Victoria Drive.
Whether you’re a citizen of any of the countries or just a fan, Vancouver Alpen Club director Erich Sedlacek said it’s an atmosphere not to be missed.
“It’s almost like being at the stadium itself,” said Sedlacek. “We had people for the World Cup in 2010 and packed the hall. The atmosphere is absolutely great, people are cheering and we sell beer and German fast food. Rather than watching by yourself at home, you can get the live experience.”
The Alpen Club, on Victoria Drive near 33rd Avenue, is the heart of a German community that is 150,000 people strong in the region and promises to be one of the cultural hotspots during the tournament.
But unlike the 2010 World Cup, where games were broadcast to thousands of people on Granville Street, a city spokesperson said Thursday that there are no plans to install screens for Euro 2012. No one had asked the city to host an event, nor to put up screens.
The tournament itself, hosted by Poland and Ukraine this year, is too difficult for Sedlacek to predict.
“There are many strong teams, we will have to see how it will play out,” he said.
Also not to be forgotten in the soccer mix, the Canadian men’s national team resume Olympic qualifying Friday against Cuba at 11 a.m.
Doolin’s Irish Pub – the home pub of Vancouver Whitecaps supporters club the Southsiders – on Granville Street will be broadcasting the Canada games, along with all Euro Cup matches.
Where to watch Euro 2012:
England – The London Pub on Main Street has rebranded itself “England House” for the tournament.
Germany – The Alpen Club on Victoria Drive will be packed with fans thirsty for German beer and goals.
Greece – The Hellenic Community Centre will serve as home base for the Greek supporters.
Italy – There will be no shortage of pubs, restaurants and cafes packed with Italy fans on Commercial Drive.
Netherlands – The Manchester Public House in Kits will be painted Orange with Dutch supporters.
Poland – The Polish Community Centre, 4015 Fraser St., is inviting people down to watch Poland open the tournament Friday.
Portugal – The Portuguese Club of Vancouver on Commercial is the place to be for Portugal fans.
Republic of Ireland – Forum Sports Bar is catering to the Irish faithful.
Spain – The owner of The Mexican restaurant on Granville is a Barcelona native, we’re told, and has a projector to show Spain’s games on a big wall. If you support Spain or FC Barcelona, that is the place to be.
Have a suggestion on where to catch more Euro 2012 action? Send us an email at Vancouver@metronews.ca and we’ll add it to the list.