The first games of the 2018 FIFA World Cup began Thursday when host nation Russia played Saudi Arabia. Although the U.S. soccer team did not qualify, there are plenty of teams to cheer on.
The Group Phase of the tournament will run through June 28, and the Knockout Phase starts June 30 and ends with the Final on July 15 in Moscow.
On television, Fox and its affiliate sports channels will air all of the games in English (Telemundo will air the games in Spanish). You also can catch the games on FoxSports.com and the Fox Sports GO app, or if you're into virtual reality, check out the Fox Sports VR app that will put you in a virtual in-stadium suite.
TelemundoDeportes.com will have an interactive bracket, allowing users to participate in multiple game modes, special customized real-time musical GIFs and a custom soccer emoji keyboard.
In the Columbia area, here are a few places to hunker down and catch a game (or two) with your friends and other fans:
Bakers Sports Pub & Grill, 7167 Two Notch Road, bakerssportspubsc.com: French dip, Italian sub .... or fried bologna sandwich.
British Bulldog Pub, 1220 Bower Parkway, thebritishbulldogpub.com: Order the Bulldog English Breakfast (English bacon, banger sausage, baked beans, grilled tomato, mushrooms, two eggs and fried toast) with a brown ale.
Calloway's Bar & Grill, 2410 Augusta Road, West Columbia, callowaysbarandgrill.com: Wings and burgers.
Carolina Ale House, 708 Lady St. in the Vista or 277 Columbiana Drive in Harbison, carolinaalehouse.com: Go a little spicy with the Zinger Mac & Cheese (pasta topped with creamy smoked cheddar and Parmesan cheeses, bacon, tomatoes, toasted breadcrumbs and Buffalo chicken tenders)
Cock N Bull Pub, 326 S Edisto Ave., thecocknbull.net: Check out the soccer jerseys and order the cheeseburger.