While the NFL season of American football does not start until autumn, the rest of the world is gearing up for World Cup football, known in the U.S. as soccer. Sacramento has a growing community of passionate soccer fans, and the 2014 matches promise to be both exciting and highly contentious. Only held once every four years, soccer teams from 32 nations participate in the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) competition.

The first of the 2014 matches begin on June 12 at 1 p.m. Sacramento time, with Brazil and Croatia facing off at the Estadio Nacional in Brazil. Then the excitement builds up quickly, with three to four matches held daily through June 28. That date marks the start of the second stage, a two-week period of quarterfinals, semifinals and the playoff for third place. At 12 p.m. on July 13, Sacramento soccer fans can join the whole world in seeing the explosive final match at Maracanã, officially called the Estádio Jornalista Mário Filho, in Rio de Janeiro. Whether your goal is to watch just the final or if you will be glued to the screen for every single match, these fun Sacramento-area businesses are ready to serve you.

Bonn Lair
3651 J St.
Sacramento, CA 95816
(916) 455-7155
www.bonnlair.comBonn Lair owner Dave Boyet says that the pub has been open for business during every single World Cup match since he opened 20 years ago. There will be special deals going on throughout the series, featuring beers from the two countries that are competing at that time. This should not be a problem, given the extensive selection of draft and bottle beers at Bonn Lair, but Boyet jokes that it will be more challenging if Ghana makes the semifinals. When asked about his predictions for the Cup, rabid fan Boyet projects that the final will be between Germany and Brazil. If so, Sacramento soccer aficionados can enjoy brews such as German brew Weihenstephan and dark Brazilian lager Xingu. Folsom residents can enjoy similar specials with each game at Boyet’s other venture, The Fat Rabbit.

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De Vere’s Irish Pub
1521 L St.
Sacramento, CA 95814
(916) 231-9947
www.deverespub.comDe Vere’s is no fair-weather soccer venue; the pub features matches all year long, including those of USL pro team Sacramento Republic FC. Co-owner Henry De Vere-White, who happily tags the pub “Sacramento’s home for soccer,” says it will be open for every Cup match, no matter the hour. To offer an even better experience, De Vere’has purchased more big screen and HD televisions so that customers will not have to jostle for position. There will be country-specific specials of beer and food. Soccer lovers can check the pub’s Facebook or Twitter feeds for the latest specials as each match’s competitors are announced. De Vere-White encourages fans to “wear your jerseys” so their true colors will be proudly on display.

Streets of London Pub
1804 J St.
Sacramento, CA 95811
(916) 498-13882200 Lake Washington Blvd.
West Sacramento, CA 95691
(916) 376-9066

A boisterous and enthusiastic crowd is sure to show up of Streets of London for the World Cup matches. Even guests who are not generally into soccer will end up choosing and cheering on a team after a bit of time in this environment. Enjoy the games at the Sacramento and West Sac locations with a good selection of foods, beers and other beverages, and return for the final match to see which team will have custody of the solid gold trophy for the next four years. Fans will not have to squint over revelers’ heads at a small screen, as the games will all be projected on the big screen.

Firestone Public House
1132 16th St.
Sacramento, CA 95814
(916) 446-0888
www.firestonepublichouse.comSoccer lovers should kick around the idea of watching the Cup at Firestone Public House. With more than 20 flat-screen, high-def televisions, this eatery at 16th and L is a hot spot for sporting events. As any respectable pub would, Firestone will be catering to fans throughout the month of matches leading up to the July 13 final. Come prepared to eat and drink; the menu of munchies and meals is sizable, and the number of bottled beers tops out at around 60.

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Valerie Heimerich is a freelance writer out of Sacramento. She typically covers animals and community issues. She has volunteered and worked for many organizations helping animals and people. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.