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Beverly Hills News – World Cup Watch Party is at the Paley Center for Media

Watch parties for ESPN’s telecast of soccer’s World Cup will be held at the Paley Center for Media in Beverly Hills and the St. Anthony Croatian Catholic Church in downtown Los Angeles.

A noon rally was held outside the church at 712 N. Grand Ave. preceding the 1 p.m. telecast of the game from Sao Paulo, Brazil.

“The World Cup is a religion around the world that has finally reached the United States,” said Ante Kvartuc, the founder and editor of CroatianSports.com, a website covering Croatian sports in English.

“The time has come to treat the World Cup here in Los Angeles like it is treated in many parts of the world as the quintessential global unifier.”

More than 300 Croatian fans, dressed in the team’s colorful checkered jerseys, were joined by a group of Brazilian fans in watching the opening game on a 22-foot projection television screen in the church’s parish center, according to party organizers.

Through partnerships with ESPN and ABC, the Paley Center in Los Angeles will be screening many of the games LIVE and be a meeting place where fans can gather and watch together. We will screen the games at 11:00 am PT everyday, beginning June 11, through the final match on July 11. – See more at: http://www.paleycenter.org/world-cup-live-game-schedule-la/#sthash.xLqmrlje.dpuf

Croatia qualified for its fourth World Cup by defeating Iceland, 2-0, in a two-game, total-goal series in November. It is 18th in the rankings compiled by FIFA, soccer’s worldwide governing body, 15 spots behind Brazil.

Croatian players played for Yugoslavia until Croatia declared its independence in 1991. The team, whose nickname translates into the Blazers in English, finished third in its World Cup debut in 1998, but failed to advance past the group stage in the 2002 and 2006 tournaments. It failed to qualify for the 2010 World Cup.

Brazil has won the World Cup a record five times, most recently in 2002. It lost to the Netherlands in the quarterfinals of the 2010 tournament. It qualified as the host nation.

Brazil defeated Croatia, 1-0, in a group play game in 2006 in the only previous World Cup game between the two nations.

This squad maintains the Brazilian tradition of players going by one name, with 15 of the 23 players doing so, including the forwards Hulk and Fred and the goalkeeper Jefferson.

The bulk of the players for both teams regularly play in Europe. Brazil has 18 European-based players, four from teams in their native country while goalkeeper Julio Cesar plays with Toronto FC of Major League Soccer.

All 23 players on the Croatian team play in Europe, but just two in Croatia.

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