World Cup fever hits Edinburgh

Ogenyi Onazi of Nigeria poses during the official FIFA World Cup 2018 portrait session. Picture: Ryan Pierse - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images
Ogenyi Onazi of Nigeria poses during the official FIFA World Cup 2018 portrait session. Picture: Ryan Pierse - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images

It’s World Cup time and Scotland will be watching from the sidelines again, but just because the Tartan Army aren’t at the party that doesn’t mean we are giving up interest altogether.

Whether you like it or not, you won’t be able to avoid The Beautiful Game for the next month or so, even if it’s just tolerating a colleague robbing you of a few quid in the name of an office sweepstake.

Russia will take on Saudi Arabia in the first game, with 64 matches taking place before the final whistle blows on July 15.

And despite the line-up failing to include a Scottish contingent, fans across the Capital are pitting their support for other teams in the competition as football mania hits fever pitch.

We headed out onto the city streets to see who you were supporting this year.

The age-old Scotland/England sporting rivalry saw few respondees backing our closest neighbour playing in the tournament.

Football fan Jodie Wilkie, manager of Troy restaurant on Dalry Road, said she would instead be backing Argentina.

“I love watching the World Cup,” she said. “I like Argentina and will be supporting them – they’ve got a good chance of winning. I like Lionel Messi. He’s one of my favourite players, he’s really exciting to watch.

“Three matches a day is brilliant and I am going to try and watch as much as I can. Hopefully I’ll be able to tune into the late afternoon matches. I just love football and having a little bet too.”

Although the odds may be stacked against their footballing prowess, Nigeria’s shirt for this year’s World Cup broke pre-order records, selling a whopping three million before it was released at the end of May.

And Jide Sosimi, assistant manager at Jolly Botanist on Morrison Street, said he was stoked Nigeria had topped the list at something.

“I’m Nigerian and when they released the long list of the strips in order of favour with Nigeria at the top, I was so proud,” he said.

“When you see it on the players it looks so class, it’s phenomenal.

“I’ll definitely be watching the World Cup and we’ll be showing most of the games in the Jolly Botanist too.

“It’ll be fun – we’ve got our own office sweepstake, but someone else picked Nigeria. I think they’ll do well this year though.”

Egypt may also be lower down the ranking list, but club allegiance to Liverpool’s Mo Salah has seen fans flocking to back the north African side.

Kye Livingstone at Dalry Premier said: “France has got a strong squad, Belgium too. I am a Liverpool fan, so I want Egypt to win because of Mohammed Salah. Brazil and Germany both have a really good chance.

“It’s brilliant. Me and my mates go out and watch the games, get the drinks in and have a good time.”

Spanish jamon specialist Carlos Cerro, owner of The Black Hoof, is bucking the trend and showing his national team some love.

From Barcelona, capital of the Catalan region, and a die-hard Barcelona fan, Carlos said he was an anomaly.

“People in Barcelona don’t normally support the national team,” he said.

“If I can watch all the games, I will.

“I will have the laptop set up in the shop or if I have to close the shop I will. I want Messi to succeed also.”

The top-flight squads have dominated the pre-tournament chatter, but Adam Conway of gluten-free bakery and shop GF said he had hoped for an underdog to succeed.

“I think the obvious teams may win, but I would like to see someone who wouldn’t normally win it in the way that Iceland beat England,” he said.

“Goals and good football is what I’d like to see.”

And barber Ali Ortagemici said: “Turkey is my heart team, but they’re not playing in the World Cup.

“I like all of the teams. I think Germany will win and I love watching Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.”