London is, of course, home to people from every country on earth and even people from nations that are not widely recognised. One moment when this comes into sharper focus than usual is every four years during the world cup when corners of the capital resound to the rejoicing and dismay of those who love London, but still retain deep ties with their homeland that come to the fore when national pride is on the line. Watching the ebb and flow of sporting drama with those who care most about it is as good as it gets if you can't be in the stadium, so Londonist will be featuring some of the bars, restaurants, cafes and other venues where you can experience this for yourself.
At 5pm today the tournament kicks off with hosts Germany facing Costa Rica. The Goethe Institute can seat up to 200 guests for any of the games involving Germany or England, with commentaries available in both languages. Fill in their online enquiry form to check availability. If you want to give the tournament a more raucous send off try recreations of that bierkeller atmosphere at the Bavarian Beerhouse on City Road, EC1, or the Octoberfest pub in Fulham. For the evening match between Poland and Ecuador, follow Londonist's advice from last August and head west:
"The area around Hammersmith up towards Ravenscourt Park is stuffed full of Polish delicatessens, cafes and restaurants, all varying in décor and atmosphere but uniform in the high quality and authenticity of the food."
Our article also contains menu translations and suggestions of what to order. Afterwards you could celebrate or drown your sorrows at Na Zdrowie in Holborn, a veritable palace of vodka run by... an Australian. Take a look at Ania's Poland for more on all things Polish in London.
It's an hour earlier than usual (and this time it's not because of the Derby), but England fans will relish the opportunity to run through their Saturday rituals before the 2pm kick off on Saturday against Paraguay. It would be harder to find a place of public entertainment not showing the game, but on this occasion we feel the place to be is Canada Square, Canary Wharf, home of a BBC big screen. While you're there, refresh yourself with a world cup pie, courtesy of the Square Pie company's branch at 1 Canada Square.
If you'd like to dilute the "Ingerland" experience somewhat, try the Famous 3 Kings sports bar in West Kensington where both Sweden and Trinidad and Tobago fans have flocked for vital internationals in the past. For a decidely Swedish bias, the Harcourt Arms in Marylebone has got together with the nearby Swedish church to sell drink-inclusive tickets for the game in both venues. In the evening join Argentinian fans for a steak and the Ivory Coast fixture at El Gaucho just off the Kings Road in Chelsea.
Start Sunday's games at De Hems Nederlands Café in Macclesfield Street near Leicester Square. Get there early, though, as they'll be very busy and only have 170 spaces. The teatime game promises to see the Edgware Road between Marble Arch and Maida Vale teeming with supporters thronging Iranian cafes and restaurants showing the match against Mexico. The top rated venue looks to be Arabesque at 12 New Quebec Street near Portman Square, but booking would be absolutely essential. Andalos, Al Dar, Shishawy, Abu Ali and Al Medina are other choices, or, for the genuinely faithful, there's the Islamic Centre at, we believe, 140 Maida Vale, where they have in the past shown Iran matches on a projector screen. Round the weekend off at Sport London e Benfica in Kensal Green to join Portuguese fans for excellent food and an all Portuguese language evening tie with former colony Angola.
Whichever you try, drop us a line with your experiences.
Picture via young-einstein's Flickr stream.