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Places where Chicagoans can catch Euro Cup soccer

Updated: July 8, 2012 6:54PM

Forget for a while the economic crisis in Europe. It is soccer time there, and the best place to watch the month-long Euro Cup is right here in Chicago.

Chicago is a city of immigrants who love soccer. Germans, Poles, Irish, Ukrainians, British, Greeks and Spaniards all have that in common. And many are making plans to watch an exhilarating tournament.

After the World Cup, the Euro Cup is the world’s most-watched soccer competition. Poland and Ukraine will host Euro Cup 2012, which will take place from June 8 to July 1, with 16 nations competing.

Spain won the Euro Cup in 2008, and experts predict Spain and Germany will play in the final match of Euro Cup 2012. But don’t tell that to Tom Dowd, general manager of Fadó, an Irish pub and restaurant at 100 W. Grand in Chicago, which will show all the matches.

“Of course Ireland has a chance to win it. We have a young and aggressive team,” Dowd said, though aware that Ireland faces a tough group, including defending champion Spain.

Outside, Fadó has hoisted all the flags of the participating teams in Euro Cup 2012. Dowd expects a huge contingent of fans rooting for Germany, Spain and Ireland. In 2002, for the World Cup in Japan and South Korea, I watched a game at Fadó between Italy and Mexico that was broadcast live at 6 a.m. Chicago time. Even at that unforgiving hour, fans of both teams rocked the place.

Fortunately, the games of Euro Cup 2102 will be shown live in Chicago in the late morning and early afternoon, a more civilized time to sip a Guinness while enjoying the matches.

If you’re in a mood for soccer and sangria, you might want to watch the games at Café Ibérico, a tapas bar at 737 N. La Salle, a favorite spot among fans who rooted for Spain during the 2010 World Cup.

“We were jam-packed,” said Karolina Dymon, marketing director for Café Ibérico. “When Spain won, people were jumping on the tables.”

Then again, if you’re looking for pasta while watching a game, you might head to Lincoln Square, where you will find Trattoria Trullo, 4767 N. Lincoln Ave.  

Matteo Denigris, owner and manager of Trattoria Trullo, told me that he just bought a large TV set for his customers to watch the games.

“Italy is always on the hunt,” said Denigris, who expects 30 to 40 fans for each game.

Another great place to watch Euro Cup 2012 is the Small Bar, 2049 W. Division St., in Ukrainian Village. It has plenty of TVs and a reputation for being one of the best places to watch soccer. Owner Phil McFarland told me he expects between 50 to 100 fans for each game.

Here’s your chance to watch at the highest level while enjoying all the ethnic diversity of the city.

You might find me sipping a cold one, rooting for underdog Portugal.

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