Soccer's World Cup is finally underway in Brazil

Brazilian Montrealers gather at Old Port restaurant for the World Cup's opener.
Natalie Nanowski/CJAD

After months of hype, soccer's quadrennial World Cup kicked off in Brazil Thursday, with a lavish opening ceremony followed by the opening game at Sao Paulo's Itaquerao Stadium between Brazil and Croatia.

The opening goal of the game was, of all things, an own-goal — Brazilian defender Marcelo was the goat in the 11th minute.

Brazil's Neymar, however, equalized in the 29th minute to tie the game at the half.

The World Cup is, by most measures, the world's biggest sporting event, and many bars in Montreal have been gearing up for this summer's World Cup crowds for months.

Many Brazilian Montrealers gathered at the Rodizio Brasil restaurant on Notre-Dame St. in Old Montreal to watch the game.

Among those in attendance, the Impact's Brazilian midfielder Felipe Martins, who says soccer — or futbol — is a religion in his country.

"In Brazil, everything is about soccer," he says. "The education, the schools, everything."

He says that while he wishes he was in Brazil for the event, he says he's glad to be around expat Brazilians and eating traditional Brazilian barbecued food.

The tournament runs until July 8. Brazil is one of the favourites, looking for a record sixth World Cup title.

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