THURSDAY (JUNE 22), 10 am
CZECH REPUBLIC vs ITALY
Though the room has had a recent facelift, the west side's venerable Prague Deli (638 Queen West, at Tecumseth, 416-504-5787) - make that Prague Fine Food Emporium - has wisely maintained its Old World menu. Where else can you cheer on the Czechs while chowing down on kielbasa and bread dumplings with your scrambled eggs? Café Diplomatico (594 College, at Clinton, 416-534-4637) has been celebrating the World Cup since 1970, when Little Italy was still an Italian neighbourhood. In addition to a massive projection screen, a 50-inch flat screen and another two regular 32-inch sets, the Dip has installed an additional 10 20-inch sets on its already ridiculously packed patio. Buy an Amsterdam pint with your panzerotto and there's a chance you'll win one of five of the TVs.
If a more Continental scene is your style, chic Bar Italia (582 College, at Clinton, 416-535-3621) will be serving croissants and biscotti along with its cappuccino. Up on the Corso Italia, marvellous Marcello 's (1163 St. Clair West, at Dufferin, 416-656-6159) keeps it simple with espressos and pastries until the pizza oven gets fired up at 11:30 am.
Back downtown, a rowdy media crowd gather at the communal tables of B Espresso (111 Queen East, at Mutual, 416-866-2111) to catch the match on the java joint's 42-inch plasma TV over slices of cheesy vegetarian frittata and Illy lattes. No less lively, funky Mangiacake (160 McCaul, at Elm, 416-260-5156) always has the game on its 32-inch set. Keep your eye on the ball while inhaling 'Cake's killer calzone.
THURSDAY (JUNE 22), 3 pm
JAPAN VS BRAZIL
Located off the lobby of the Comfort Hotel, swellegant Masa (15 Charles East, at Yonge, 416-920-3388) has installed three 32-inch LCD screens so regulars can cheer on the last tournament's hosts while knocking back sake at one of its several teppanyaki tables. A little downmarket but no less delish, Simon Sushi (409 Spadina, at College, 416-977-2828) attracts a student mix noshing on inexpensive maki with their eyes glued to the tube. The second-favourite team of Toronto's Portuguese community is its colonial cousin Brazil. Join the mayhem at La Cervejaria (842 College, at Ossington, 416-588-0162), where the post-game action spills onto the street and blocks streetcars, or on the covered deck at the Market's Amadeu's (184 Augusta, at Denison Square, 416-591-1245), where the grilled sardines are probably more sensational than the outcome of the game.
Just up the street at the crossroads of Kensington, curbside Louie's Café (235 Augusta, at Baldwin, 416-593-9717) has stationed three sets on its sidewalk terrace. Surrounded by the market's multi-culti chaos, is there a better seat in town?