Soccer fans flood Colombian restaurants for lunch time game

Colombia vs. Ivory Coast playing in FIFA World Cup 2014

MIAMI, Fla. - Colombian soccer fans flooded into Colombian restaurants in South Florida Thursday during lunch time to watch their team's second game in the FIFA World Cup 2014.

Expectations were high. After 16 years of not qualifying for the World Cup, the team beat Greece 3-0 Saturday. At Los Arrieros Restaurant, 10995 SW 40th St., in Southwest Miami-Dade all of the tables were reserved.

"We are praying that our 'Seleccion Colombia' wins this game too," said Sol Maria Ospina in Spanish. "There are a lot of Colombians who don't have their families here and come to the restaurant to feel closer to home."

Florida is the state with the largest population of Colombians migrants. According to the U.S. Census, the highest percentage in South Florida live in Kendall, Kendale Lakes, Hammocks, Doral, Key Biscayne and Weston.

The kitchens of restaurants from Miami Springs to The Hammocks were busy serving traditional dishes heavy on rice and beans, beef and pork.

"The most popular dishes are the 'Bandeja Paisa' and the 'Sancocho' and we have plenty of both for today," said Ospina, who works at Los Arrieros. "We will also be serving plenty of 'Cerveza Aguila' [Colombian beer]."

The game against the Ivory Coast began at 12 p.m. It was the first time in soccer history that the two teams had met during a FIFA World Cup.  About 12:50, the first half of the game ended without the teams scoring.

Anxiety was high at LaMoon in downtown Miami, where financial district employees  turned out en masse. Some wore patriotic ties.

"We have to win the game," Juan Pablo Gutierrez said. "I wore the lucky tie.  My Cuban wife said it was tacky. It makes me feel better, so who cares if it doesn't match."

OTHER POPULAR SPOTS

- Hogao, 1250 S. Miami Ave., in Miami's Brickell

- La Moon, 97 SW 8th St., Miami's Brickell

- Restaurante Monserrate, 2093 Coral Way, near Coral Gables

- Pueblito Viejo 2, 8285 Bird Road, in Southwest Miami-Dade

-Tierra Bomba, 3399 NW 72nd Ave., near Miami Springs

TEAM PROFILE

World Cup team profile: Colombia

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