World Cup Lunch: Watch Belgium’s bright young things take on Algeria

June 17, 2014

Welcome to World Cup Lunch. Every morning, we'll examine the schedule and suggest where you can watch the noon match of the day. In the afternoon, we publish World Cup Happy Hour, with ideas for watching the 6 p.m. match.

In the run-up to the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, there was a lot of talk about Belgium's "Golden Generation" of exciting young players, such as Romelu Lukaku, Adnan Januzaj and Eden Hazard. (Matt Brooks has a great introduction to the team over on Soccer Insider; The BBC had a great piece yesterday about how Belgium revolutionized the country's youth setup.) Today provides your first chance to get a look at the side. They face Algeria, a dynamic team that could surprise a few people.

Belgium
The Belgium national football team, prior to their World Cup qualifier against Serbia, on June 7, 2013. (Geert Vanden Wijngaert/AP)

Where to watch: Belgium's fans can head for Belga Cafe on Barracks Row or B Too on 14th Street NW, which are owned by Bart Vandaele, a native of Roeselare, Belgium. Many Algerians will watch at Babylon Futbol Cafe in Seven Corners, says Abdennour Azeddine, a director of the Algerian-American Association of Greater Washington.

What to order: Belga and B Too have a menu of Vandaele's Belgian "stadium food" for the tournament, such as cheese or shrimp croquettes, paper cones of frites topped with beef stew and mayo, and a spicy currywurst-style dish called frikadel speciaal. Pair these with a Lucifer, Red Duvel or another Belgian beer -- after all, the Belgian team's nickname is the Red Devils. Babylon's menu mixes typical bar snacks with Latin American appetizers and unusual pizzas, including a halal pie topped with gyro meat, olives and red onions.

World Cup leftovers: In my pre-tournament viewing guide for new fans, I stressed the importance of showing up to bars as early as possible for big matches. Anyone hoping to watch the United States and Ghana with the American Outlaws at Laughing Man Tavern got a first-hand look at why this is important. By 4 p.m., I saw tweets saying that the bar was standing room only. Before 5 p.m., the bar hit capacity and adopted a one-in, one-out policy -- and it still had a line down the block.

 

 

Obviously, everyone can't leave work early to go watch soccer. But this is something to keep in mind for upcoming games, especially when the United States faces Portugal on Sunday.

Also worth checking out: Scott Allen's Bog roundup of fan reaction in D.C. to the United States' win over Ghana.

More on the World Cup: Where to find fans of your favorite team | The area's best soccer bars | World Cup happy hours | Tips for first-time fans | World Cup TV Schedule | All Washington Post World Cup coverage

Fritz Hahn has covered bars, drinks and nightlife for the Washington Post Weekend Section since 2003, but he also writes about everything from Civil War battlefields to sailing classes. You can find him on Twitter and Instagram.
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John Taylor · June 17, 2014