The 2018 World Cup kicked off this week in Russia, and the month-long tournament promises to be a thriller.
In a blow to American soccer, however, the U.S. national team failed to qualify for this year’s tournament, so Vermont fans will have to find another team to support (assuming they planned to root for the U.S. to begin with).
Fortunately, there are plenty of teams from which to choose, and the website FiveThirtyEight has created this guide to help you determine which squad is right for you.
Sports bars around the state will be showing the matches, most of which will air in the morning and early afternoon. Britney Maddox, acting general manager of Ri Ra Irish Pub in Burlington, said they will be showing every single game, including Saturday’s 6 a.m. showdown between France and Australia.
In Montpelier, fans can catch most of the games at the Three Penny Taproom. The Lookout Tavern in Killington will also have their TVs tuned to the matches, and Kipling's Restaurant & Pub in Brattleboro usually draws a crowd for World Cup games.
The 2018 Cup features a familiar lineup of heavy hitters: Germany looking to defend its world championship title, Brazil seeking redemption after a catastrophic loss in 2014 and Spain hoping to keep its footing after its head coach was fired just days before the tournament began.
Those in search of an underdog might try rooting for Iceland, which has made headlines for its improbable qualifying run and first-ever World Cup appearance. Whether or not the team’s unique Viking chant can lift it to victory over powerhouse Argentina remains to be seen.
So with dozens of high-stakes games and plenty of compelling storylines playing out on a global stage, it’s time to grab a seat at the bar of your choice and watch the drama unfold.