The 2018 FIFA World Cup kicks off June 14 in Moscow. Meet the South Florida fans of every country represented in the tournament, and learn about their best memory, favorite player and predictions.
Name: Guillaume Bourgoignie.
Lives: South Miami. Born here. His father is Belgian.
Memories of national team: Belgium wasn’t very good until the 2012 Euros. They didn’t make it, but made a push in qualifiers. In 2014, all that young talent was back, and Belgium made the World Cup for the first time in awhile. USA vs. Belgium was an emotional roller coaster for me. I was divided. We were watching at the Miami airport, getting ready to go to France, and I thought I’d miss my flight.
Favorite players: Eden Hazard. He plays for Chelsea, has a low center of gravity, and I love how he plays. Also, Vincent Kompany, who plays the same position I do (center back).
Where he will watch the World Cup: Home and Fritz & Franz for the first part, then in France.
Favorite cheer: None.
Best local spot to get Belgian food: Le Pain Quotidien in Coconut Grove.
World Cup prediction: Belgium should win the group pretty comfortably, and make it to the quarterfinals, where they’d probably play Brazil. I’m on the edge on that one.
Name: Richard Hubbard.
Lives: Kendall, in Miami since 1987.
Memories of national team: 1970 Mexico World Cup. We were robbed by Bobby Moore being arrested. They said he stole a bracelet from a jewelry store when they were training in Colombia. I was 10 years old. It was big news. Wish I remembered ’66 when they won. It has been downhill ever since.
Favorite players: Frank Lampard. David Beckham. Bobby Charlton. Bobby Moore. Paul Gascoigne.
Where he will watch the World Cup: Fritz & Franz in Coral Gables.
Favorite national cheer/chant: En-ge-land. En-ge-land. Trying to keep it clean. Some can’t be published in the paper.
Best local spot to get English food: British Depot in Fort Lauderdale for pies, chocolates, teas. I used to own Hubbard’s Cupboard on Sunset and 117th Avenue. Good bangers and mash at John Martin’s in Coral Gables.
World Cup prediction: Hopefully, quarterfinal. We should get out of the group, but it gets tough after that.
Name: Lilibeth Fermin.
Lives: Broward County, since 2013.
Memories of national team: I started watching the World Cup when I was a little girl. Everyone in my multicultural city appeared to be watching the soccer games and followed their teams with passion.
Favorite players: Jaime Penedo, the goalkeeper. In the past, I followed Brazil during the World Cup games. My favorite player was Eder, a striker, from the Brazilian team who played in the 1982 World Cup.
Where she will watch the World Cup: A good place to enjoy the games is Novecento in Brickell. I will probably watch a few matches there and then going to Russia to see some games live.
Favorite national cheer/chant: None.
Best local spot to get Panamanian food in South Florida: I have not found a Panamanian restaurant in South Florida. The best place to get Panamanian food is my home when my mom is visiting. She is an amazing cook.
World Cup prediction: Round of 16 would be great.
Name: Tarek Douihech.
Lives: Miami Beach, since 1993.
Memories of national team: 1978 Argentina, when our team went to the World Cup for the first time. Our family had to buy a brand new color TV, which was rare over there. That was the first time an African team won a game. We won 3-1 over Mexico, and it opened the road to more African teams in the World Cup.
Favorite players: Tarek Diab. Very fast, elegant player. Stayed with the team a lot of time, scored a lot.
Where he will watch the World Cup: Yardhouse Miami Beach or CMX Brickell City Center. Huge screens.
Favorite national cheer/chant: There is one about the Eagle of Carthage, the ancient city.
Best local spot to get Tunisian food: Cafe Roval, Alloy Bistro downtown. French-Tunisian cuisine.
World Cup prediction: For us, going to the second round is the main objective. England-Belgium, two very good teams, and Panama. We want to tie the big teams and beat Panama.