Second weekend of World Cup fever hits Windsor

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Second weekend of World Cup fever hits Windsor

The second weekend of the 2018 FIFA World Cup is a historic one for Windsor's Serbian and German communities.

This is only Serbia's second time playing in the World Cup an an independent team. In 2006, Serbia played with Montenegro as one team. 2010 saw the team's first solo appearance in the cup — they didn't qualify in 2014.

Serbians at the Ciao Caffè

Srdjan Pegic owns the Ciao Caffè and moved to Windsor from Serbia in 1998. He said his home country's place in the World Cup is huge for him, since Serbia missed the round of 16 in 2014.

"Whatever they do, as long as they give their hundred per cent, we're good. We're happy," Pegic said.

CBC News spoke with Serbian fans at the café earlier today during their matchup with Switzerland.

Karel Sedlacek is of Czech descent and is disappointed to see his team miss this year's World Cup. He said supporting his Serbian friends is the next best way to watch.

"Serbs, Croatians, Polish — all the Slavic countries are good."

"We're here to support our home country and hopefully they make us proud. Hopefully, they do good [in] the tournament. It's going to be a big party," said Miroslav 'J' — a Serbian customer at the café.

Unfortunately, the Serbs were met with a heartbreaker as the Swiss scored in the 90th minute to pick up a 2-1 victory Friday. Serbia must defeat Brazil in their final game Wednesday at 2 p.m. to progress to the round of 16.

Germans at the Heimat Centre

Ryan Steiller, president of the Bavarian Club of Windsor, watched his first World Cup game in Germany in 1994. During that year, the World Cup was played in the United States. He said that game turned him into a lifelong fan of the sport.

The Heimat Windsor Banquet Centre, home of the Bavarian group, is pulling double duty this weekend. Not only will the facility be playing the World Cup, but it will also be hosting the Bavarian village of the Carrousel of the Nations.

"As of last weekend, it was busier than we've ever been. I'm expecting the same thing with the weather permitting," he said, adding this is the first time the two events are taking place on the same weekend.

"Fans of the German team will get nice food from us and good German beer. What more could they ask for?"

The German team will play against Sweden on Saturday at 2 p.m.

Students getting in on the action

The International Student Centre at the University of Windsor is a central hub for students who want to watch the World Cup.

Shreyas Tambe has never seen his home country of India compete in the tournament — the team has never qualified in the World Cup. But as an employee of the student centre and a lifelong FIFA fan, he still feels the excitement and electricity of the tournament.

"We get lots of students especially if it's a big game. The last big game was Spain versus Portugal and we got around 25 to 30 to anywhere around 50 students around the end of the game," he said.

"It's a phenomenal atmosphere."

Tambe, who works as a receptionist at the student centre, said he is rooting for Germany because his father was a big supporter of that team. Saturday's game against Sweden is a must-win for Germany, as a loss would result in an early exit from the tournament.