When people talk about "the most watched sporting event in the world," it's a safe bet the bulk of those viewers aren't residing here in the land of touchdowns and home runs. Or are they? In honor of the 2014 World Cup, RedEye tracked down fans of all 32 nations playing in this year's tournament right here in the Chicago area and asked what their team means to them. So trade your hot dog for some chorizo and your Old Style for a glass of Pisco, and get a glimpse into soccer's local global reach.
Abderahman Khellil, 42, Lincolnwood
Do you have a particular tie to Algeria? I'm from there.
Why are you an Algeria fan? I play soccer and I have for as long as I can remember and I've been a soccer fan all my time. In Algeria, the only sport people follow and care about is soccer.
How big would you say the Algeria fan base is here in Chicago? There's at least 1,000.
Where do you like to watch games? We watch it at my place.
Our team will win the World Cup because … Winning the World Cup is hard, but they can go far.
Our team's most common yell/chant is … The most famous one is very very old, we say "One, Two, Three! Viva Laldjérie."("Long live Algeria")
During games, we have to drink/eat … We drink our green tea with mint.
If you watch only one player on our team, make sure it's … We have a lot of young stars that played in Europe. Europe has the best soccer, most of our players play on professional teams in Europe. They played in the league very well and successfully.
Eddie Paturzo, 25, Hickory Hills
Why are you an Argentina fan? My father was born and raised in Quilmes, Argentina, a suburb of Buenos Aires. We spent almost every weekend watching soccer from Argentina. Argentine fans and players put their entire heart and soul into the game. Paraphrasing a famous soccer quote that says, "... football is a matter of life and death ... except it's more important," is not more apparent anywhere in the world than in Argentina. I have cried and laughed at the result of a match, sometimes simultaneously.
What do you love about your team?
I love style in which they play. It's very exciting to watch. At times it can be described as a beautiful dance. Their form is the perfect balance of grunt and grace.
How big would you say the Argentina team fan base in Chicago?
According to the 2010 census, there are a little over 5,000 Argentine immigrants in Illinois. You can be sure every one of them and their offspring are fans.
Where do you like to watch games?
I prefer to be at the match. My father, sister and I will always make an effort to attend the game when Argentina comes to the U.S. If they are playing abroad, we usually find out through the grapevine where our fellow Argentines are meeting. Anywhere is fine as long as they serve up some Argentine wine and good food.
Our team will win the World Cup because … We have the greatest players in the world. Period.
Our team's most common yell/chant is … "Vamos, vamos Argentina,
Vamos, vamos a ganar,
Que esta barra quilombera,
No te deja, no te deja de alentar."
(Let's go, let's go Argentina,¿We have, we have to win,¿for these raucous supporters,¿won't stop, won't stop cheering you.)
During games, we have to drink/eat … Malbec and asado. Asado is a general term for grilled meats. We love beef.
If you watch only one player on our team, make sure it's … [Lionel] Messi, of course.
Dan Koop, 31, visiting from Melbourne, Australia
Why are you an Australia fan? My mates and I support our hometown team, Melbourne Victory, and naturally follow the Australian team, too. Most fans in Australia would have two teams they follow, Australia and the country of their heritage. For me that second team would be the Netherlands, but for many it's Italy, Greece or England.
What do you love about your team? When we qualified for the 2006, World Cup we hadn't been to the finals since 1974, and I'd seen them fall at the final hurdle a few times. I think that day was a moment when people of all ages, cultures and affinities for other sports just got behind the national team and saw it as a great unifying focal point.
How big would you say the Australia team fan base is in Chicago? As far as I know it's just me and my brother travelling through at the moment, but I bet there are some Aussie fans out there—we seem to be in every other coffee shop!
Where do you like to watch games? Usually at the pub
Our team will win the World Cup because … of a huge Yellow Fever outbreak that decimates each other squad—it's our only hope, we'll be lucky to score given our competition in the group phase!
Our team's most common yell/chant is … "Aussie Aussie Aussie, Oy Oy Oy!"
During games, we have to drink/eat … A cold beer and a barbecue snag [sausage].
If you watch only one player on our team, make sure it's … Tommy Oar, he's our fastest attacking player and best with the ball at his feet—watch for his crosses into the box for Tim Cahil to nod home!
Yannick Dawant, 24, Fulton District
Do you have a particular tie to Belgium?
Both my parents were born and raised in Belgium. This means that my entire extended family is from Belgium and a large majority still live there. I spent many summers there as a kid.
Why are you a Belgium fan?
Soccer hasn't been all that popular in the U.S. until recently, and I have always played and enjoyed soccer. Belgium has always had a passion for it (even though they haven't always been great) and I latched onto that.
What do you love about your team?
The Belgian team this year is incredibly exciting! We have a plethora of developing talent and I can't wait to see if they are able to convert that talent and promise into actual results.
How big would you say the Belgian team fan base in Chicago?
I would say small. Which makes sense as the entire country of Belgium only has a little over 10 million people.
Where do you like to watch games?
It is hard to find games that are aired in the U.S., but the place I have enjoyed watching soccer the most in Chicago is the Globe Pub off the Irving Park Brown Line.
Our team will win the World Cup because …
We are full of young talent that are ready to make a statement. We have a solid defense anchored by Courtois, Kompany, Vertonghen and Vermaelen. In the middle, we have Hazard, Fellaini, Witsel and De Bruyne. On top, we have great strikers in Mirallas and Lukaku.
Our team's most common yell/chant is …
This one I'm not actually positive on, but any variety of "I love you Belgium" or "Come on Belgium."
During games, we have to drink/eat ... Belgium is famous for beer and fries. Therefore, you have to get a beer and a cone of fries.
If you watch only one player on our team, make sure it's … Eden Hazard. He is a dynamic attacking midfielder (one of the best in the world) and recently won the PFA Young Player of the Year award.
Alma Colpa, 23, Ravenswood
Do you have a particular tie to Bosnia?
Yes, I was born and raised in Bosnia. Came here when I was 9 years old, so it's home for me!
Why are you a Bosnia fan?
I grew up in Sarajevo a very proud Bosnian and believe we have a contending team this summer.
What do you love about your team?
The hard work, dedication, pride and how much we have accomplished and overcome.
How big would you say the Bosnia team fan base in Chicago?
Huge! There is a very big Bosnian community in Chicago and we are all very proud of our team.
Where do you like to watch games?
I usually stream games at home but there are a few Bosnian cafes and sports bars around the city that will show games and host parties and events for games. Always a blast to gather with all the fellow fans and cheer our home team on.
Our team will win the World Cup because …
Considering everything that Bosnia has been through, I have no doubt that we have the resilience and resolve and most of all the heart to carry us to a World Cup title. It's our first appearance, but I'm confident in the talent and chemistry of our amazing team.
Our team's most common yell/chant is … "Hajmo Bosno Bosno Bosno Hajmo Hercegovino" ("Let's go Bosnia! Let's go Herzegovina!")
During games, we have to drink/eat … Cevapi [a type of kebab], pita, Sarajevsku beer.
If you watch only one player on our team, make sure it's … Edin Dzeko, of course! Bosanski Dijamant!
Shirley Vieira, 47, Logan Square
Do you have a particular tie to Brazil? I am from Rio de Janeiro.
Why are you a Brazil fan? It's the best team ever!
What do you love about your team? The creativity, the fun while they play, the smiles and the legs—I love those running legs!
How big would you say the Brazil team fan base in Chicago? Hmmm, about 8,000. 5,000 Brazilian and 3,000 American.
Where do you like to watch games in Chicago? Bar Forza or Logan Square Auditorium.
Our team will win the World Cup because … We have been the best.
Our team's most common yell/chant is … "GOOOOOLLLLLLLLLLL."
During games, we have to drink/eat … Caipirinha and nothing! Too busy dancing and laughing.
If you watch only one player on our team, make sure it's … FRED! [Frederico Chaves Guedes].
Jeremy Ngameni, 28, Schaumburg
Do you have a particular tie to Cameroon? I'm from there and I played with the Under 17 national team there in 2006. I have so many friends on the national team now and they're going to play in the World Cup.
What do you love about your team? We call it a fighting spirit. That is something; we know we are not much better than other teams in the World Cup but we know we are there to prove that people can't count us out. We want to show that Cameroon, and not only Cameroon, some African teams, are much better than European or North or South American teams and that's why we call it the fighting spirit. It's not about the money. We are there to show we know how to play, we know soccer.
How big would you say the Cameroon fan base is here in Chicago? I grew up in France but I know some Cameroon guys here. I know a few of them, I know very few but I know there's a great community.
Where do you like to watch games? During the World Cup I will invite Cameroon fans to come watch the games at my house.
Our team will win the World Cup because … I know they won't win the World Cup but they will have a very great place because for about four or five or six years the team was not good, so now we're trying to build it, so most of these players have never been in the World Cup before. This will be their first experience so they are going there just to get their first play.
Our team's most common yell/chant is … We have some songs. Something like: We are coming from nowhere and we are going very, very far and no one can stop us until we reach the place we are going.
During games, we have to drink/eat … We have some Cameroon beer and there are some Cameroon restaurants around. So when we have a game, there are some Cameroonian ladies and when we watch a game we give them some money and they make Cameroon food for us. It's vegetables mostly. We have 33 beer, we also have one called Castel. Also Guinness is very popular in Cameroon.
If you watch only one player on our team, make sure it's … We have now one of the best players in the world, Samuel Eto'o.
Andrew Sund, 48, Edgewater
Do you have a particular tie to Chile? My mother is Chilean, I'm both. I go over there often, my mother still lives there. I'm also American on my dad's side. I speak Spanish just as well as I speak English.
What do you love about your team? There's always the social aspect of having a bar full of Chilean soccer fans. It's also a team that's always played a bit of an underdog role because we're a small country. But one in the past 10 years that's really been growing so expectations are growing. We used to be the fans that would go watch a game and know we were going to lose but that's not the case anymore. We have expectations that the team could go quite a ways and that brings excitement to all of us that have been following the team for many years.
How big would you say the Chilean team fanbase is in Chicago? We're a small community to begin with and then the soccer fans are a subset of that. So we're not very large, particularly when compared to other Latin American communities. We're probably the smallest, but we're loud.
Where do you like to watch games? That varies. We used to have a spot but it closed down unfortunately, a Chilean restaurant called Rapa-Nui. We used to go there and it was always a lot of fun and now we don't really have a spot. We get together at friends' houses, one of them will be mine. Chile plays [June 13. But as far as hangouts we really don't have one anymore. During the qualifying period games were not open, now they're open on ESPN, but we often went to the Globe where they show the whole world's games. We also went to a restaurant called La Pena.
Our team will win the World Cup because … We have the tough games first and we'll get them out of the way and then it's easy.
Our team's most common yell/chant is … A chant that's sung at every sporting event and political rally. It's kind of silly, but it's "Chi! Chi! Chi! Le! Le! Le! Viva Chile!"
During games, we have to drink/eat … Traditional foods for games are empanadas or now that we're getting together more at friends' houses, barbecue. Chileans are mostly wine drinkers and there's always plenty of wine. If we're lucky, we like to have something called Pisco, which is a very strong drink but it's not available here very often and we have that with Coke.
If you watch only one player on our team, make sure it's … Alexis Sanchez, he plays for Barcelona, and the other one is Arturo Vidal. They're very successful on their European teams so they're stars in Europe which puts them in the same category as the Brazilians and Argentineans and English players. So that's exciting to us.
Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, 30, Lombard (Chicago Fire defender)
Do you have any particular tie to the Colombian national team? I played with [Radamel] Falcao on the Colombian U-17 National Team when we were younger. Unfortunately he is injured.
Why are you a fan of this team? They showed in qualifying that they can put together very good performances.
What do you love about this team? It's a group of really good guys, it's a really good team.
How big would you say the Colombian fan base is in Chicago? I'm new to the city so I haven't met many Colombians, but I think there is a large population in Chicago.
Where do you like to watch games? I like to watch games at home.
Our team will win the World Cup because … We have good players and they have confidence in themselves.
Our team's most common yell/chant is … Colombia's most common chant is "Col-om-bia! Col-om-bia!"
During games, we have to drink/eat … I don't know if there's a specific drink or food because it's different in each of the individual cities. But for sure, 90 to 95 percent of people eat rice every single day.
If you watch only one player on our team, make sure it's … Mario Yepes. He plays the same position as me.
Gonzalo Segares, 31, Bucktown (Chicago Fire defender)
Do you have any particular tie to the Costa Rican national team? It's an honor to represent your country and wear the badge of the country where I was born. It makes me very proud that I was able to represent Costa Rica [in 19 games]. I know most of the guys on the team from different call-ups and such, so I'm good friends with them. Celso Borges, whose dad also played on the national team in a World Cup, grew up playing with my brother in the minor leagues of Saprissa, so I've known him since was a kid.
Why are you a fan of this team? It's Costa Rica, it's my country. I would have loved to be there. It's unfortunate I didn't really get my chance but I'll always support them and definitely expect them to do well in the World Cup, even though they have a tough group.
What do you love about this team? They're well-organized and I think they could surprise people.
How big would you say the fan base for your team is in Chicago? Not that big. In all my years in Chicago, I've noticed it's rare for me to meet other Costa Ricans, but there is a great Costa Rican restaurant Irazu that I love to go to.
Where do you like to watch games? Usually at home in the peace and quiet, instead of a bar where sometimes it's too loud and you can't find a seat and have to stand the whole game. I'd rather be at home laying on the couch, where I can hear the commentators, in the peace and quiet.
Our team will win the World Cup because … We have the best coffee in the world so they're going to be energized.
Our team's most common yell/chant is … "Ole, ole-ole-ole, Ticos, Ticos."
During games, we have to drink/eat … A beer, Imperial.
If you watch only one player on our team, make sure it's … Joel Campbell. He plays for Olympiacos in Greece but he's on loan from Arsenal. He's done really well lately in Champions League and the Greek league.
Steve Mihaljevic, 39, Sauganash
What is your tie to Croatia? Both of my parents are Croatian, they came here in the early '70s, they met here, got married here, read it, live it, love it. Croatian fan through and through.
Why are you a Croatia fan? We're a very proud nation, we're recently independent in the last 20 years or so and in particular our soccer team represents a lot of who we are as a country. We're known as the Fiery 11. We've got a lot of heart and skill. The team represents a lot of who we are as a people, as a culture. We like to let the world know we're important too and we're on the world stage.
Where do you like to watch games? We either watch at the Croatian Cultural Center, Pier Bar & Grill or The Globe.
Our team is going to win the World Cup because … We have a lot of really skilled players this year. These guys are all world-class players on their squads they represent their club teams really well and our players are known as the Brazilians of Europe. We have the ability to play quick, counterattack soccer. We're one of those teams that people don't really think about but we compete really well with all the top national teams.
Our team's most common yell/chant is … "Za dom spremni!" For the homeland. It was an old chant that was originally a political chant but now it's become a chant that represents us and our sport. It just basically means we are behind you, we're for the homeland.
During games, we have to drink/eat … We've got our red wine, a big thing for us. Slivovitz peach brandy and then basically Croatian moonshine, rakija. It's basically grappa.
If you watch only one player on our team, make sure it's … Luka Modric from Real Madrid. He's the guy that ties all the strings together for the team or Mario Mandzukic.
Victor Aguilar, 34, Belmont Central
What is your tie to Ecuador? Both my parents are from Ecuador and I travel to visit Ecuador every year. And I am a huge Ecuadorian soccer fan.
Why are you an Ecuador fan?
It's in my blood. My father is a fan, and his father was a fan and before him his father was a fan. I have no interest in being disowned—everyone in my family is a fan of Ecuador soccer.
What do you love about your team?
They are the hardest working team out there. Sure, we may not be the most talented team full of superstars, but these guys work hard and get the job done.
How big would you say the Ecuador team fan base in Chicago?¿
It's huge, you can't be Ecuadorian without being an Ecuadorian soccer fan. Smaller than Mexico's fan base in Chicago, but definitely bigger than the Cameroon fan base in Chicago.
Where do you like to watch games?
Mi Ciudad restaurant or La Pena restaurant.
Our team will win the World Cup because … they want to win for Christian Benitez. Benitez was one of our best players whose life was tragically cut short when he died last year and it hit the team hard.
Our team's most common yell/chant is … "Si se puede!"
During games, we have to drink/eat … Ceviche and hornado with some Pilsener [Ecuadorian PBR].
Neil Morgan, 39, Lakeview
Do you have a particular tie to England?
Born and raised in England, moved to Chicago in 2006
Why are you an England fan?
For better or for worse, I have to be.
What do you love about your team?
There's not a lot to love about English football at the moment, but every four years you always have a little hope, as unrealistic as it may be, that we can make some real progress in the tournament.
How big would you say the England team fan base is in Chicago?
There's a significant British expat community in Chicago, a lot of whom go to the Globe or Fado to watch Premier League games at the weekend.
Where do you like to watch games?
I prefer to watch at home usually, just so no one sees my frustration and disappointment when we lose on penalties, but usually the Globe or AJ Hudson's on Ashland.
Our team will win the World Cup because … All 31 other teams didn't show up to their games.
Our team's most common yell/chant is … "Engerland Engerland Engerland." That's basically the only one that isn't tremendously offensive! We also have a band that incessantly plays the tune to the "Great Escape" over and over and over. It's even more annoying than the vuvuzela was in 2010.
During games, we have to drink/eat … We drink beer and gnaw on our own fists out of pure nerves and frustration.
If you watch only one player on our team, make sure it's … Raheem Sterling , a 19-year-old attacking midfielder who plays for Liverpool. He's tremendously talented if inexperienced at the international level. Hopefully he can have some impact during the tournament and crack the starting XI.
Sam Yigar, 22, Rogers Park
Why are you a France fan? My ties to France include having ancestors on my mother's side from Paris and going to France myself a couple of times, along with speaking the language. I'm a France fan because I've followed them since they won the World Cup back in 1998, their magical run that year when they hosted the games had me hooked. I love the fact that although people don't see France as a soccer-loving country, they always surprise people in how talented and how much support they get whenever the tournament comes around.
How big would you say the French team fan base is in Chicago? The fan base for France in Chicago is not very big at all due to the fact that the French population is not large in the area compared to other countries represented such as Poland and/or Italy.
Where do you like to watch games? I like to watch the games at my place because I haven't yet found a French-friendly bar in the area, so sitting home and cheering on is fine by me.
Our team will win the World Cup because … France will win the World Cup because they have the talent again this year as opposed to four years ago, when they were embarrassed and didn't even make it past the first round. They have something to prove.
Our team's most common yell/chant is … France's most common cheer is "Allez les Bleus" which essentially means "Go Blues," which is the nickname for the national team.
During games, we have to drink/eat … During the game, I personally have to eat a good macaron, chocolate croissant or some good ol' pomme frites [real french fries]. While at the same time never going wrong with your favorite French red or white wine, pick any.
If there's one player to watch in the World Cup, it's … Karim Benzema. He plays for Real Madrid, who just won the UEFA Champions League title during the year, and is their top striker up front. He comes under some scrutiny since he doesn't perform as well at times for France as he does in Madrid, and this can be his tournament to break out and silence the critics.
Tweed Thornton, 31, Lakeview
Do you have a particular tie to Germany? I'm 50 percent German, from my mom's side of the family, and they have been in the United States for a couple of generations.
Why are you a Germany fan? I attended the Germany-Spain World Cup game at Soldier Field in 1994. I sat next to some Germans and had an amazing time. My family also celebrates our Irish background and being Americans by birth, but seeing Germany live as a kid was very special for me.
What do you love about your team? Consistency. The Germans are always a lock to provide a great game.
How big would you say the Germany team fan base is in Chicago? The German fan base is large as any but doesn't have as many dedicated bars and restaurants as some of the other countries. That probably has more to do with the popularity of the cuisine than numbers of people.
Where do you like to watch games?
I don't have a single spot. Prost in Lincoln Park, Mother Hubbard's downtown. If Germany is in the World Cup, I'm heading to Lincoln Square.
Our team will win the World Cup because ... Germany has the best mix of young players and quality veterans.
During games, we have to drink/eat ... Pretzels are stereotypical but a perfect compliment. There's too many great beers to say you have to drink one kind.
If you watch only one player on your team, make sure it's … Miroslav Klose. He's 35 years old but he is a legendary striker. His ability to score is the kind you can't teach. If Chicago soccer fans were lucky, they'd get to see Klose retire in a Fire soccer jersey.
Patrick Nyarko, 28, Lakeview (Chicago Fire midfielder)
Do you have a particular tie Ghanaian national team? It was a great feeling to represent my country [in 2012]. The sound of the national anthem before the start of the game sent shivers down my body.
Why are you a fan of this team? They play entertaining soccer.
What do you love about this team? Just the togetherness of the guys on the team and how close they are definitely gives them an edge.
How big would you say the fan base for your team is in Chicago? The fan base is pretty huge in Chicago. There are a lot of Ghanaians residing all over the area.
Where do you like to watch games? If I go out to watch a game, it will either be at The Globe Pub or Fado.
Our team will win the World Cup because … We came close to being in the semifinal of the last event and it's a far better team this year than in 2010.
Our team's most common yell/chant is … "Oseeye Ghanaolo!" (a song, which essentially means "Let's go!")
During games, we have to drink/eat … Guinness.
If you watch only one player on our team, make sure it's … Kwadwo Asamoah is the player to watch because he's a smart, creative player and will be key to Ghana's success.
John Kosmas, 47, Niles
What is your tie to Greece? I was born in Greece, moved to the U.S. when I was 14.
Why are you a Greece fan? I followed soccer from the time I was a little kid. You have to be proud of your nation.
Where do you go to watch Greece games here in Chicago? There's a bar and cafeteria we go to in Glenview.
What do you love about your team? There are a lot of rivalries between clubs but when the World Cup comes, everyone supports the team.
How big would you say the Greek team fan base in Chicago? There are more than 300,000 Greeks in the area and all of them follow it.
Our team will win the World Cup because … I don't think they'll win but if they do their best, as a fan that's all I can ask for. And if they come out of group, then take it one step at a time? Just seeing them there is good enough for me.
Our team's most common yell/chant is … Greeks call Greece (H)ELLAS and themselves Hellenes. "Shkose to, to timimeno, then mporo, then mporo na perimeno!" ("Raise it up, the honored one, I can't wait, I can't wait" when talking about the Cup.)
During games, we have to drink/eat … Beer, coffee, shish kabobs and gyros—but the authentic ones, not the ones they have here.
If you watch only one player on our team, make sure it's … Konstantinos Mitroglou. He's a very charismatic player. He smells the gold.
Pablo Ordonez, 43, Schiller Park
What is your tie to Honduras? I'm from Honduras and here in Chicago working at the consulate.
Why are you a Honduras fan? In Honduras, soccer is our way of life. Kids start playing with soccer balls before they can walk. Everyone has their favorite local team and when the national team plays, the whole society comes together, no matter where you're from or your social status. Everyone supports the team.
Where do you like to watch games? At a place called Super Pollo on Diversey.
How big would you say the Honduran team fan base is in Chicago? There are not that many Hondurans here but there's a large community in Waukegan. About 35,000—and they're all Honduran fans.
Our team will win the World Cup because … To tell you the truth, I don't think we will. We have a small team but we have heart and courage.
Our team's most common yell/chant is …"Seleccione! Seleccione! Dame goal!" It means "Team! Team! Give us a goal!"
During games, we have to drink/eat … Carne asada and baleadas (flour tortillas with beans and butter) and we drink Bananas Tropicale. On game days, if people come to the consulate in their jersey we will give them a free Bananas Tropicale.
If you watch only one player on our team, make sure it's … Carlo Costly
Kevan Eftekhari, 31, South Loop
Do you have a particular tie to Iran? My father was born and raised there, and I've been there once.
Why are you an Iran fan? Because my father and his side of the family are from there. The same goes for my mother and Spain.
What do you love about your team? I simply love the World Cup in general because my whole extended family gets so excited about it. Whether it be Iran, Spain or USA. England is also important to us because my sister was born there. Also my uncle's side of the family is from Italy, so we root for them too.
How big would you say the Iran team fan base in Chicago? I would imagine everyone in the Persian community of Chicago would be a fan, which I'm not even sure of how big that is.
Where do you like to watch games? The Wabash Tap, Flo & Santos, South Loop spots.
Our team will win the World Cup because … As a fan of my top three teams, Iran, Spain and USA, I'd say my best odds lie with Spain. Iran and USA have frequent attendances in World Cups, but never get too far.
Our team's most common yell/chant is … No clue.
During games, we have to drink/eat … Beer.
If you watch only one player on our team, make sure it's … Not sure. It's more a matter of fun ethnic pride every four years. I will become familiar with the teams once the tournament starts.
Frank DeCicco, 57, Niles
Do you have a particular tie to Italy? I was born in Italy, moved to the U.S. Since the day I moved here I've been playing soccer.
Why are you an Italy fan? Soccer is a part of my life.
Where do you like to watch games? At home with friends and family.
What do you love about your team? Every time we go to the Cup, Italy has the DNA that sometimes takes the better of them, to surprise people. To save the best for last. It's in our blood.
How big would you say the Italy team fan base in Chicago? We are scattered. There are groups on the North and West sides.
Our team will win the World Cup because … We don't look very good, we probably won't make it to the semifinals. Maybe the quarterfinals.
Our team's most common yell/chant is … "Forza Italia!" Which means, Power! Go Italy!
During games, we have to drink/eat … Barbecue and pizza.
If you watch only one player on our team, make sure it's … Mario Balotelli. He can make or break the team.
Asatu Shannon, 30, Streeterville
Do you have a particular tie to Ivory Coast? Grew up there lived there from age 10 to 18.
What do you love about the team? I love them out of solidarity. I like the underdogs, definitely going to cheer for them. I think they're an extremely good team. If you look at the profiles of the starting 11, more than half of them play for the Premier League or La Liga.
Why are you an Ivory Coast fan? What do you love about your team? There's a soccer academy in Ivory Coast and they pump out some of the best talent in Africa. They're individually talented and they get awesome contracts with awesome clubs and they don't work together very well because they're all trying to be the next breakout player. Characteristic of all small country teams. But I'm cheering from them because when they got together they were quite young. This is their third World Cup together as a unit, the main guys have been around for a while. So I'm hoping this will be their year and they will have finally gotten a clue that working together as a team is better than working independently.
Where do you like to watch games here in Chicago? Actually, I haven't watched any of the games because I don't have the Spanish channels and I grew up watching the Spanish channels because we always thought the American commentators were terrible. If I were here for longer I'd be watching on Telemundo.
How big would you say the Ivory Coast fan base is here in Chicago? There's not much of one that I know of, but I haven't really looked. The African population around here is pretty much dominated by Ghanaians and Nigerians.
Our team's most common yell/chant is … No cheers that I know of.
During games, we have to drink/eat … I really like Guinness, which is popular in West Africa in general but I really like it with Sprite, really cuts the bitter taste.
Our team will win the World Cup because … I wouldn't say they will. I went to the World Cup in South Africa and I was actually there the day Brazil was playing the Ivory Coast and everyone knows Brazil's an excellent team and I've seen them play in the Ivory Coast and they make them look like little boys. And now Brazil's playing at home? It's going to be very difficult to take it out of their hands. But that would be a HUGE miracle and you'd hear about it for decades.
If you watch only one player on our team, make sure it's … Didier Drogba. He's played for Chelsea and carried a lot of teams in the past. Also he has an amazing personality, he's got a personality his teammates love, he's not pretentious in any way but more importantly this is probably his last World Cup. He's been in it three times and done nothing.
Wesley Julian, 28, Lakeview
Do you have a particular tie to Japan? I used to teach in Japan from 2008 to 2010 and I've been going back every year since.
Why do you love your team? I enjoy their approach to the game and ball control and movement.
Where do you like to watch games here in Chicago? I don't have a specific spot to watch.
How big would you say the Japan fan base is here in Chicago? Probably not a big fan base here but the J league in Japan is quite large and I used to root for the Sendai. Just outside Sendai City.
Our team will win the World Cup because … I'm hoping they can at least get out of their group stage.
Our team's most common yell/chant is … One of them would be "Nippon, just Ni-ppon chi chi chi." And then another one would be "Ganbare!" which would be kind of like "Fight! Go!"
During games, we have to drink/eat … Draft beer for one, Kirin is one of the major sponsors. No food in particular.
If you watch only one player on our team, make sure it's … Keisuke Honda is really good, in the last World Cup he did really well for them scoring-wise.
Jonathan Campos, 29, former Chicago resident
Do you have a particular tie to Mexico? Both of my parents are from Mexico, and I still have a lot of extended family and friends that live in Mexico. I spent most every summer of my childhood and teenage years back in Mexico, so Mexico has always been a very important part of me.
Why are you a Mexico fan? I remember watching Mexico games on television with my father and mother at a young age. I have been following El Tri ever since. And some of my best futbol memories are watching the 1998 France World Cup in Mexico with my abuelo [grandfather] and cousins, aunts and uncles.
What do you love about your team? The passion and fieriness that the players have. And that they have historically played offensive, attacking soccer.
How big would you say the Mexico team fan base is in Chicago? It is very big as there are many people of Mexican descent in the Chicago area who follow the team. The Mexican national team regularly plays friendlies at Soldier Field and draws big crowds, so Chicago is one of the largest hotbeds of Mexico support in the U.S.
Where do you like to watch games? The Globe Pub or The Piggery when I am in Chicago. Brit's Pub when I am back in Minneapolis where I now live. Atmosphere is very important, and those three places do a great job with that.
Our team will win the World Cup because … Most everyone is discounting Mexico and the team will rally around new manager Miguel Herrera and go far.
Our team's most common yell/chant is … Singing "Cielito Lindo," a popular Mexican song, after big victories.
During games, we have to drink/eat … Drink cerveza and eat some tacos de carne asada and lengua. And if Mexico wins, a bottle or two or three of tequila.
If you watch only one player on our team, make sure it's … Oribe Peralta, one of the starting strikers for the team. He scored a lot of goals in Mexico's qualifying campaign and has a knack for scoring clutch goals, such as scoring two goals against Brazil in the 2012 Olympics gold medal final.
Spencer Steevensz, 25, Ukrainian Village
Do you have a particular tie to the Netherlands? My dad grew up there and I still have a lot of family that lives there.
Why are you a Netherlands fan? Because real men wear Orange.
What do you love about your team? They make the game look good.
How big would you say the Netherlands team fan base in Chicago? Surprisingly decent. I guess that's the benefit of always having pretty cool jerseys.
Where do you like to watch games? Sedgwick's or the Globe.
Our team will win the World Cup because … We're sick of being "the best team to have never won a World Cup."
Our team's most common yell/chant is … "Hup Holland Hup!"
During games, we have to drink/eat … [at] Sedgwick's
If you watch only one player on our team, make sure it's … Arjen Robben.
Philip Imasogie, 43, Rogers Park
What ties do you have to Nigeria? I am Nigerian by birth.
What do you love about your team? Soccer is what binds Nigerians together, no matter the age, religion or sex.
Where do you like to watch games here in Chicago? I watch the games at home with friends.
What do you love about your team? The fact that we have an indigenous coach (Stephen Keshi).
How big would you say the Nigeria team fan base in Chicago? Very big fan base—soccer is the uniting factor for Nigerians. Whenever there is a game, everybody forgets their differences and cheers for the team.
Our team will win the World Cup because … They are very good but underrated.
Our team's most common yell/chant is … "All we are saying, give us one goal," and if they want more goals the chant is "All we are saying, give us more goals."
During games, we have to drink/eat … Guinness stout and Heineken beer.
If you watch only one player on our team, make sure it's … Victor Moses.
Michael Igyarto, 30, Jefferson Park
Do you have a particular tie to Portugal? Not necessarily, I'm just a big fan of their star players, particularly Cristiano Ronaldo. He's the best player in the world hands down.
Why are you a Portugal fan? I'm a huge supporter of Cristiano Ronaldo. He plays for Real Madrid when not on international duty with Portugal teammates Pepe and Fábio Coentrão. So I watch these guys play year-round and just witnessed them win the 2014 Champions League together in Lisbon last month, which was pretty special.
What do you love about your team? The excitement and entertainment this squad brings to the pitch. Most of them play with each other when on club duty. Other squads can't quite say they have this type of team chemistry. Oh, and at the 2006 World Cup, Portugal was awarded "The Most Entertaining Team," despite coming in fourth place. Even when they lose, they always send you home entertained and proud.
How big would you say the Portugal team fan base is in Chicago? Bigger than most think. Ronaldo is an idol to fans all over the world, including many who live here in Chicago.
Where do you like to watch games? It's not easy finding a televised Portugal game here in the city, but the Globe Pub shows international matches. And the World Cup viewing parties at Grant Park are always a good time.
Our team will win the World Cup because … This squad is filled with stars who all are employed by some of the best clubs throughout Europe. Yes, Cristiano Ronaldo is a superstar and the best in the world, but the talented cast around him from top to bottom is remarkable. Teams like this can go far if they can get past the dreaded "group of death." And not to be a historian, but the Portuguese founded Brazil and the language is still spoken there, so this team should feel right at home!
Our team's most common yell/chant is … "Forca Portugal!"
During games, we have to drink/eat … Hey, I'm still a Chicagoan at heart, I'll take a juicy beef with sweet please.
If you watch only one player on our team, make sure it's … The one and only Cristiano Ronaldo! You won't be disappointed.
Misha Jeghjer, 42, North Side
Why are you a Russia fan? I'm from St. Petersburg originally. I was born there, it sticks with me.
Where do you like to watch games? Usually the Globe Pub.
Our team will win the World Cup because … Chances are pretty much zero. I'll be happy if they have a good playoff game.
Our team's most common yell/chant is … It means "Go Russia!"
During games, we have to drink/eat … I just drink beer.
If you watch only one player on our team, make sure it's … Roman Shirokov, but he's injured.
Mike Knueppel, 57, Ukrainian Village
Why are you a South Korea fan? I personally love the idea of technical soccer because when you're a German or any kind of person then you know one of the major pieces, the excitement of soccer is the technicality and the quality of the players and the Korean team, as well as the Japanese, copied the German style very well. The other reason is it's always fun to stand next to Americans who cannot understand why you would root for a team outside your own country. On the back of my Korean shirt, it has Korean for "cowboy."
What do you love about Korea's team? There's at least six players from the current squad that play in Germany in the main league and one of them actually, because I'm a fan of my home team Hamburg, and even though he moved to another team now. Son Heung-min, he was one of my favorites.
Where do you like to watch Korea games here in Chicago? I watch them all at Cleos and I do the soccer website for them too. So I will be there for every single game. Take my laptop and watch them all.
How big would you say the Korea fan base is here in Chicago? I think it's very small because you not only need to find a few Koreans but you also need to find soccer fans and there aren't many out here. I don't think I can ever evaluate that because it's not even that huge of a Korean base to start out with.
Our team will win the World Cup because … Nobody expects them to.
Our team's most common yell/chant is … They have one but I can't even pronounce it.
During games, we have to drink/eat … You might want to try some kimchi.
If you watch only one player on our team, make sure it's … Son Heung-min, definitely one of the major reasons for me to like them because he played in Hamburg. That's my team I support in particular.
John Bosch, 36, Palatine
Do you have a particular tie to Spain? Mother is from Vilassar de Mar, Spain.
Why are you a Spain fan? I am 75 percent Spanish in nationality.
What do you love about your team? They are all very technical and creative players.
How big would you say the Spain team fan base in Chicago? It is not too big since there are probably not too many Spanish immigrants in Chicago, but a lot of Hispanics do root for the Spanish national team.
Where do you like to watch games? Usually at home on my big-screen TV.
Our team will win the World Cup because … They are the most talented.
Our team's most common yell/chant is … "España! España! España!"
During games, we have to drink/eat … Drink Estrella Damm and eat jamon serrano.
If you watch only one player on our team, make sure it's … Andres Iniesta.
Stefan Birrer, 36, Streeterville
What is your tie to Switzerland? I was born in Switzerland and grew up in the Canton of Luzern (which is also a sister city of Chicago).
Why are you a Switzerland fan? Soccer is a popular sport in Switzerland that I played myself for more than 14 years. National team game weekends receive significant attention in the media and local leagues pause for a week. Following and supporting your national team started early on.
Where do you go to watch Swiss games here in Chicago? For the World Cup, I will watch some of the games together with friends at a sports bar. Otherwise, I'll stream it on my TV.
What do you love about your team? This might be the best national team that we had for a long time with many young players. The influx of players with successful careers in the top European leagues made our team better. I hope it will result in success at this World Cup.
How big would you say the Swiss team fan base in Chicago? The fan base is small compared to any other sports team here in Chicago and even for Swiss scale. I'd be surprised if there was more than a handful Swiss fans in a sports bar for any given game. That is a sharp contrast to perhaps how it will be in Switzerland. The streets in Switzerland and the celebration will resemble when theBlackhawks clinch a Stanley Cup.
Our team will win the World Cup because … We have a young and hungry team with lots of talent and one of the best and most experienced coaches.
Our team's most common yell/chant is … "Hopp Schwiiz!" (Roughly "Go Switzerland!")
During games, we have to drink/eat … a Lager beer with a bratwurst and mustard.
If you watch only one player on our team, make sure it's … Xherdan Shaqiri.
Gustavo Dibarboure, 29, Lincoln Park
Why are you a Uruguay fan? Soccer is truly important to us. It's most important sport and part of our culture. Everybody is a fan of the national team. We are also fascinated with our local soccer teams in the Uruguayan league; they have also a long history in soccer.
Where do you like to watch games? Sometimes we get together with other Uruguay fans and we watch it in our own homes.
How big would you say the Uruguay fan base here in Chicago is? We don't have a big community, in the Midwest we're around 4,500 people so for example in the match of Uruguay against Ecuador, we got together and watched it because that opportunity was also the Chicago Marathon. So many Uruguayans come up for that event; they participate.
Our team will win the World Cup because … What we are expecting is that we qualify for the second round, when we are 16 countries or to the quarters with eight countries, but no one's actually expecting Uruguay to win it. There are really tough teams.
Our team's most common yell/chant is … Some of them are quite rude; people are quite passionate about it.
During games, we have to drink/eat … We eat chorizo and drink Coke and beer.
If there is one player to watch, make sure it's … All of Uruguay is waiting for Luis Suarez to get over his injury because he's the best player in Uruguay and one of the best worldwide.
BJ McKinney, 25, Gurnee
Why are you a USA fan? The men's team has a lot of great players, many of which play in the MLS. It's nice to be able to get out and see those guys play on a regular basis, not to mention the incredible fan base the American Outlaws [fan clubs] have created.
What do you love about your team? Every player is hard-working, dedicated, and they all do a great job of representing our country in the sport of soccer.
How big would you say the USA team fan base is in Chicago? I would say the fan base in Chicago is pretty big and always growing.
Where do you like to watch games? I enjoy watching the games wherever, but nothing beats a packed bar with fellow USA fans.
Our team will win the World Cup because … The team and all the fans believe it is something they can accomplish. It would mean so much to all of them and the entire United States for the trophy to be brought back here.
Our team's most common yell/chant is … There are many unique chants you will hear during a USA game, but if I had to pick one it would have to be the "I believe" chant. [The verses build to "I believe that we will win"]
During games, we have to drink/eat … Drink beer and eat burgers or chicken wings.
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