MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — It’s the most popular sport in the world. And this week the whole world is watching.

The viewing party for the first game of the 2014 World Cup wrapped up at Brit’s Pub in Minneapolis early Thursday evening.

Andrew Schleip was sitting in front of a jumbotron at Brit’s for hours with a cocktail in hand.

“I take the whole day off,” Schleip said.

And he’s not the only one raising a glass to the World Cup.

“I’m Team Brazil,” said fan Nyasha Mutanadwa.

And it seems the fans all have their reasons.

“I want to be wowed by things people can do that I can’t do,” Schleip said.

Mutanadwa, on the other hand, loves the energy from a crowd.

“The tension, like even within a room. The way people are cheering for that other team and the other one,” she said.

Manny Lagos, a former Olympian and local soccer legend, loves that people are watching what’s been much of his life’s focus.

“Once you put on that shirt and represent the country, there’s something about it that, you know, it’s bigger than just your pro-soccer career,” Lagos said.

He now coaches Minnesota United, and his players will be making appearances throughout the cup at parties, including one at the Nomad World Pub.

At the continuous gatherings at Brit’s Pub, the restaurant’s expecting thousands of fans.

“We have all these new fans that just, like, somehow the light’s gone on, they see the chess match and they just love it,” Lagos said.

After all, it is the most-played ballgame on the planet.

“It’s something that brings people together, like everywhere, like right now the rest of the world is on fire,” Mutanadwa said.

And perhaps that’s the goal.

There are celebrations going on throughout the World Cup at Brit’s and the Nomad. The biggest crowds are expected Monday when Team USA takes the field.

Susan-Elizabeth Littlefield