Have a game plan: where to watch the top World Cup matches in Hong Kong
When the action kicks off in Brazil we can look forward to a month of high drama — and sleepless nights — before the final on July 14. Many of the 32 nations competinghave passionate supporters in Hong Kong. Here are our tips on where to watch the pick of the group matches — and where to find the fans who will create the best atmosphere
Text: Charley Lanyon, Cliff Buddle, Bernice Chan and Kobi Chan
Early birds and up-all-nighters have an advantage when England play Italy at 6am on June 15. England fans have many options but why buck tradition? Head to the Old China Hand and enjoy the game over a full English breakfast. Supporters of Italy are struggling to find a venue and will probably throw a party at someone's home. Call your Italian friends. The next game at 9am is an encounter between Japan and the Ivory Coast. Japanese fans will gather at Sowelu in Causeway Bay while Ivory Coast fans can join Hong Kong's African community at members-only Friends Party Club in Tsim Sha Tsui. If you are not a member it is possible to join at the door.
- Old China Hand 104 Lockhart Road, Wan Chai, tel: 2865 4378
- Old China Hand 1C Davis Street, Kennedy Town, tel: 2865 1181
- Friends Party Club A-14, 3/F Mirador Mansion, 54 Nathan Road, TST
- Sowelu Dining Bar 5/F Chung Wai Commercial Building, 447-449 Lockhart Road, Causeway Bay, tel: 2766 1171
LATE, LATE SHOWS
If you're in the mood for an all nighter, the matches on June 18 are sure to keep you gripped. The action kicks off at midnight at De België in SoHo where you can see Belgium take on Algeria on the big screen. Next up it's Brazil vs Mexico (3am); you can either head to Macau to join the Brazilian fans (see right), or make for Coyote in Wan Chai with the Mexicans. The last match, South Korea vs Russia, kicks off at 6am. Russians will likely gather at The Keg in LKF, while the Korean Residents Association has organised a screen in Victoria Park. France supporters will need to be night owls as their group games are at 3am (June 16 vs Honduras), 3am (June 21 vs Switzerland) and 4am (June 26 vs Ecuador). La Perouse has a terrace and they will project the match on the wall.
- De België 21 Elgin Street, Central, tel: 2869 8388
- Coyote Bar & Grill Gaylord Commercial Building, 114-120 Lockhart Road, Wan Chai, tel: 2861 2221
- The Keg 52 D'Aguilar Street, Lan Kwai Fong, tel: 2810 0369
- La Perouse 5/F Carfield Commercial Building, 77 Wyndham Street, Central, tel: 2826 9269
If you are a Brazil or Portugal supporter, the best bet is to head to Macau. Action begins on June 13 at 4am when host country Brazil play the opening match of the tournament against Croatia. Then Germany take on Portugal on June 17 at midnight. Brazil vs Mexico is on June 18 at 3am, and US vs Portugal on June 23 at 6am.
Grand Hyatt Macau (City of Dreams) has a great package if you can get 20 friends to chip in. It's a bit of a splurge (hey, the tournament comes around only once every four years) but a "private salon" — with built-in LCD projector screen and surround sound — is yours, for three hours, for 20,000 patacas. This includes unlimited drinks (juices, beers and house wine). The package, for groups of 20 or more, is available from June 29 to July 14.
- Grand Hyatt Macau City of Dreams, Cotai Strip, Macau, tel: +853 8868 1234
GIANTS AND UNDERDOGS
Group B kicks off with an epic battle of the giants between the Netherlands and Spain at 3am on June 14. Australia's first game — against Chile on June 14 — starts at 6am and most Aussie diehards will head to the pubs along Lockhart Road in Wan Chai. Later they will gather at Bulldog's Bar and Grill or McSorley's in SoHo for the games against the Netherlands on June 19 and Spain on June 24. Many Dutch fans will make for the Hong Kong Football Club where soccer personality Ari Haan will give a pre-match analysis hosted by the Dutch chamber of commerce. Spanish fans are likely to be at Delaney's in Wan Chai.
American fans are in a tough spot this year with their first two games kicking off at 6am. Head to Wan Chai where Delaney's will be showing both US vs Ghana on June 17 and US vs Portugal on June 23. For the final match: US vs Germany on June 27 at midnight, head to McSorley's in SoHo. If you're betting against America, stop by Typhoon in Wan Chai, which will again be taken over by German fans. The group begins with the Germany vs Portugal match at midnight on June 17.
- Bulldog's Grill G/F, 7-8 New Praya, Kennedy Town, tel: 2872 5768
- Bulldog's Bar and Grill G5 & UG15 Tsim Sha Tsui Centre, 66 Mody Road, TST East, tel: 2311 6993
- McSorley's Ale House 55 Elgin Street, SoHo, Central, tel: 2522 2646
- Hong Kong Football Club 3 Sports Road, Happy Valley, tel: 2830 9500
- Delaney's G/F-1/F One Capital Place, 18 Luard Road, Wan Chai, tel: 2804 2880
- TyphoonG/F, 37-39 Lockhart Road, Wan Chai, tel: 2527 2077
CENTRES OF EXCITEMENT
Both Olympian City in West Kowloon and tmtplaza in Tuen Mun will stream all 64 matches live on indoor projection screens. The large plasma screen at Olympian City will also show real-time sign language interpretation of the commentary. Discovery Park Shopping Centre in Tsuen Wan will show all matches live on two big screens. For the late-night games, the mall will offer free herbal tea and light snacks. There will also be massage chairs to keep your body — and mind — refreshed.