Europe is home to some spectacular football stadiums, from the largest of their kind to those with incredible facilities and a great atmosphere from the working class stands in German stadiums, to having a classic pie at a British game while having someone shout out betting tips at halftime. But with so many to choose from, which one takes the crown for the best stadium in Europe for fans?
The 2018 World Cup finished a little over a week ago now. Big storylines around this year’s World Cup include the introduction of Video Assistant Referee (VAR), the lack of scoreless draws, and Croatia’s unprecedented run to the finals. (Read previous blog article about Croatia’s 2018 World Cup run here) However, one key storyline was missing from the 2018 FIFA World Cup, the one involving the US Men’s National Team (USMNT). The US failed to finish in the top four spots of the hexagonal round in the CONCACAF World Cup Qualifiers last fall. Only needing to earn a draw against Trinidad & Tobago, the US failed, and summer plans to compete in Russia were put to bed.
The 2018 FIFA World Cup came to a close Sunday when France secured a 4-2 victory at Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium with a strike from outside the penalty box by the Golden Boy Award winner Kylian Mbappé. Les Bleus had impressed en route to the final, with two-thirds of their matches finishing as shutouts. But perhaps more impressive is who made it to that final match as their opponent, a country which only recently gained their independence in 1991 and whose population is only 4.29 million.
Croatia, that young country, needed to overcome soccer powerhouses such as Argentina and England to secure their place in the final. They beat Russia—a nation of over 142 million—in penalties in the quarterfinals, and persevered over England, who boasts a population of around 53 million, in extra time in the semifinals. And although they ultimately came up short against France, Croatia had played a full 90 minutes more than their opponent coming into the final due to three extra time games, and their entire country’s population was merely one-fifteenth of France’s.
With the US failing to qualify, many were worried that this year’s edition of the FIFA World Cup would lack as much excitement as usual. So far, it has been one of the most exciting cups in recent memory. The two factors that have revved up the excitement: close games with late goals and the small number of scoreless matches.
Public viewing parties have become increasingly prevalent in professional sports in recent years. Specifically, for the 2018 World Cup in Russia, television broadcasts often cut to public viewing parties when teams score goals. These large public viewing parties are usually for big soccer events. However, very seldom do we see public viewing parties for popular American sports like basketball, football, baseball or hockey. Instead in the US, we have watch parties at bars or restaurants. FanWide can help you find local watch parties for your favorite teams. Check out this previous post for A Definitive History of World Cup Game Watch Parties.
Although it seems like soccer is at an all-time high in terms of popularity in the United States, the fandom couldn’t help the US Men’s National Team in the World Cup Qualifiers this year. The USMNT finished 5th out of 6 teams in the Hexagonal round of the CONCACAF 2018 World Cup Qualifiers, a finish that failed to qualify them for the 2018 World Cup. However difficult it may be to stomach, 32 other national teams will travel to Russia. But, who’s jersey should you wear as you watch for hours on end? What colors should you paint your face? Which team do you think will hoist the 2018 FIFA World Cup Trophy in Moscow?
Guest author post from SportsbyJB
Other than the Olympics, there is nothing quite like the World Cup, where the beautiful game of soccer is played at the highest level. It is the fans, though, that elevate the entire experience to a whole, different level, with their unmatched passion for the sport and of their respective national teams.
These same fans also partake in one of the best traditions of World Cup lore: parties. These parties are held in every sort of venue imaginable and are often over the top, with lots of shouting, and singing; endless eating and drinking; plenty of high-fiving, chest-bumping, and hugging; and even some crying.
That being said, here is a look back at the rich history of World Cup partying, starting in 1994.