Interactive map: Euro 2012 kicks off in Calgary
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Pubs, cultural clubs and fans in Calgary are readying themselves for more than three weeks of soccer as Euro 2012 kicks off Friday.
While the best in European soccer, or football as most around the world calls it, will be running from June 8 until the final on July 1 in Ukraine and Poland, many places in Calgary are expecting to be overwhelmed by fans.
“We’re expecting about 100 for (the first game) but if we get to the finals, we’re expecting 600 or 700,” said executive director of the Calgary Italian Club Rafela Grossi. “When it comes to Euro Cup or World Cup, it’s a pretty busy time”
Pubs like the Ship and Anchor on 17th Avenue are also bracing themselves for lineups down the block for certain games.
“This is a footballing pub,” said the Ship’s Joe Taylor.
Taylor said over the past 20 years since the Ship began showing games, the popularity of the sport in Calgary has increased noticeably.
“We’ve always had a hardcore following of English fans but now…over the last 10 years or so we’ve had a good following from the Dutch, we’ve got a good following from the Croatians and mixed into that we get sporadic Spanish and the odd Italian,” he said. “There are soccer fans from all walks of life.”
Three years ago Larry Leach joined the Calgary Liverpool FC Supporters after searching for a decent place to watch a match against Chelsea.
“When I was a kid, you couldn’t get the games here so it was hard to follow,” said Leach, whose mother hails from Liverpool. “Now that you can get the games over here in real-time, live it’s easy to pick it up again.”
Poland and Greece kick off the tournament at 10 a.m. Calgary time Friday. Doors opens at 9:30 at the Ship and Anchor.
Check out the below map of some of the most popular watering holes in Calgary to watch soccer: