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Ottawa pubs packed with soccer fans for the Euros and Copa America

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Soccer fans grabbed seats early along the bar at The Glebe Central Pub on Bank Street as England and Denmark squared off in the Euro 2024 Championship.

Daniel Duff was there to support England, and helped organize Thursday's viewing party.

"I'm just happy to put on these watch parties and have football supporters come out and bond over the beautiful game," said Duff. "This is one of the best atmospheres in the city for any sporting event. We've turned it into what we call the temple of football here in Ottawa. We're very proud of that."

According to England supporter Joey Huneault, the Ottawa footy community is very welcoming and everyone is united by the sport. "Football is a place for everyone. From the youngest to the oldest person, no matter race, color, creed. It doesn't matter. It's for everyone," said Huneault.

Denmark supporter Lene Kelly immigrated to Canada in 1981. Members of a Danish Club in Ottawa came to support their team in Thursday's match. "Anytime there is a Danish football game, we all represent and come here and hope to win."

Later in the afternoon, passionate fans for Spain crowded The Lowertown Brewery on York Street. The bar serves as the 'unofficial headquarters' for the Spanish Club.

Marcos Pascuet has been to two Euro Cup tournaments. He was hoping Spain would come away with a victory.

"I'm Spanish, I'm a life long soccer fan," said Pascuet. "I'm here with my dad and we're here supporting Spain. I expect them to win and nothing less."

He believes the game has grown so much in Canada.

"I was a soccer player myself, and a coach, and it's completely different than in the past. Now you see kids playing soccer on their own at parks, as opposed to when I was a kid, it was only organized soccer."

Meanwhile in Little Italy, Italian supporters stood shoulder to shoulder rooting for 'The Auzzurri' as Sala San Marco on Preston Street.

"I remember we've been coming here since I was a little kid watching the soccer games all the time with my dad," said James Santaguida. "I brought my cousin today, we're here to support the Italian soccer team, and hopefully it's a good game, and hopefully we have some good luck like we did last time."

Tony Zacconi, owner of Sala San Marco, has been hosting viewing parties since the 1990s. "We've always been the headquarters for all the Italian soccer games. I see a lot of the same faces every year that they come by, especially the deeper you go in the tournament, the more they come."

Spain ended up defeating Italy 1-0 on Thursday. England drew 1-1 with Denmark.

Thursday also marks a milestone for Canadian soccer. It's opening day of the Copa América, and the first time Canada will be represented at the tournament. Canadian soccer fans are hoping the men's national team can continue the success they had leading up to the tournament.

"Canada is miles, kilometers above where we were when I was 10 years old," said Huneault, "and now at 25 we are an honest to God footballing nation. The fact that we are playing here is already the victory that we needed."

Zacconi believes the Canadians will have a tough debut, but he likes the team's chances.

"We showed up against some big teams in the World Cup recently. We should have beat Belgium, which was a Golden Generation team, so you know meeting the World Cup champs is going to be hard, but I bet you will hold our own. I think we'll do well."

Duff is also throwing another viewing party at The Glebe Central Pub in support of Team Canada.

"We're expecting Canadian fans to come out in full support, regardless of the result, because this is a very historic moment for Canada and Canadian football."

Canada fell 2-0 to Argentina Thursday night.

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