The world’s largest soccer tournament is finally here! Fans all over the world will be cheering their favorite teams as 32 countries battle it out on the field for an entire month of intense action and suspense.
There’s nothing like throwing an epic viewing party with family and friends to make you feel like you’re sitting front row.
That’s why we asked Yarel Ramos, anchor for Univision’s Digital Edition California, what her top tips are for hosting an amazing viewing party (and who she’s rooting for of course!). As a journalist who literally followed the Mexican soccer team, and as host of Univision’s Pasaporte Rusia 2018 (passport to Russia), she knows how to be the host with the most.
Whether you have a few friends or the whole squad coming over, it’s important to set the scene and make everyone feel excited even before the match begins.
“It has to be comfortable, with a lot of different seating options,” Ramos advises. “I like having couches and chairs set up in different areas so people who want to eat, can eat, while those who want to watch the game can still sit.”
Once the viewing area is all set, it’s a good idea to do a general sweep of the house to check if any items need to be stocked up before guests come over -- like bathroom toiletries or kitchen cleaning supplies. Trust us, it makes a big difference, especially once the guests leave.
Of course, we can’t forget about HOW you watch the game. Bigger is better when it comes to game time. This can mean projecting it on a white wall or viewing it on a big screen TV, but whatever you choose, Ramos says, “It needs to be very loud.” After all, you want to make sure everyone can hear the goooooooooooals!
Fuel the action
The food lineup is as important as the team line up, so make sure to plan ahead and provide various options for everyone. “It needs to be easy!” says Ramos. “Finger foods are great because you can eat on a napkin and everyone can help themselves. My favorites are classics like chips and salsa, guacamole, nachos, and candy for guests with a sweet tooth.”
If you’re looking to order a variety of finger foods, then you can’t go wrong with a party style platter from your favorite restaurant. Mi Cielito Lindo in Los Angeles, where Ramos is based, offers delicious authentic Mexican eats and great platter options. Our pick is the large mixed botana platter (or snack platter in English) which includes skewered beef, breaded shrimp, grilled chorizo and good ole’ chicken wings.
You could also serve your guests a taste of Russia with easy-to-eat dumplings. A great choice is Ludas Dumplings in New York, which offers a variety of Russian-style dumplings made from different ingredients like wild shrimp, spinach, loaded potato, and their classic made with pork and organic yellow onion.
For vegetarians, platters from Greek restaurants like It’s All Greek To Me in Phoenix offer tasty options that even carnivores can enjoy. Their hummus plates include a giant stack of falafel served on creamy hummus with hot pita on the side, yum!
Choosing your platter based on what team you’re rooting for is also a great idea. For those who are team Brazil, Emporio Brazilian Grill in Houston offers a winning platter of mixed empanadas filled with beef, cheese, and even heart of palm. They also have options like fried yucca and vegetarian dishes too so the whole team can enjoy. With all of these food options, we don’t know whether to be more excited for the game or the food.
Go hard or go home
Choosing a theme for your party makes it easy to choose food and decorations and gets everyone pumped for the game. As a Mexican-American, Yarel roots for both team USA and Mexico, so she makes sure to deck her house out with elements from both countries. If she’s watching the game with her family, you can be sure the house won’t be the only thing decorated, she says. “we paint our entire faces the colors of the Mexican flag and make sure to have the flags displayed.”
Getting everyone into the spirit with face paint or custom team jerseys can definitely take your game to the next level. During half time, try setting up a game of tournament trivia questions to keep everyone engaged and in the competitive spirit. The most passionate soccer fan might know what year the first tournament was played, but who actually won? (it’s Uruguay by the way, in case you want to start prepping).
No matter who you’re rooting for, this month is sure to be an exciting roller coaster filled with unexpected surprises, dramatic losses, and incredible victories. Now that you’re ready to host an awesome viewing party, you’ll experience every moment as if you were right there in person. Just make sure to stay hydrated -- and don’t forget the cold beers!
Stay up to day on all tournament news with Yarel on Univision's Digital Edition everyday at 12:30pm PT.
Order at home from the restaurant partners mentioned and many more!