What organizers say they believe will be the largest Croatian watch party in the U.S. for Saturday’s Croatia-Russia 2018 FIFA World Cup quarterfinal game will be held at St. Anthony’s Croatian Catholic Church in Chinatown.
Organizers expect 1,000 people to watch the Fox telecast of the 11 a.m. game from Fisht Stadium in Sochi, Russia, according to Branimir Kvartuc, a spokesman for the church.
A crowd of 1,200 came to the church for the watch party for the group stage game against Argentina June 21 and 1,000 for the watch party for Sunday’s round of 16 game against Denmark, Kvartuc told City News Service.
A free lunch of cevapi, traditional Croatian sausages will be served.
The game also will be on a movie-size screen at the Paley Center for Media in Beverly Hills and on a big screen at the Hammer Museum in Westwood.
Admission is free at both venues.
Croatia has played in five of six World Cups since first becoming eligible for the 1998 tournament. This is the first time it has advanced to the knockout stage since 1998, when it finished third.
Russia has played in four World Cups since the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991. This is the first time it has advanced past the group stage.
Croatia advanced to the quarterfinals by winning a penalty kick shootout against Denmark, 3-2, Sunday after overtime ended in a 1-1 tie. Russia advanced by winning a penalty kick shootout against Spain, 4-3, after overtime ended in a 1-1 tie Sunday.
Croatia was among three teams to complete group play undefeated and untied, along with Belgium and Uruguay. Its plus-six goal differential was the second-best of group play behind Belgium’s plus-seven.
Croatia was among four teams, along with Denmark, to allow one goal in group play, tying for second behind Uruguay, which shut out all three of its opponents.
The team’s seven goals were the fourth-most in group play behind Belgium, which had nine, and England and Russia, which each scored eight.
Russia finished second in Group A behind Uruguay with a 2-1 record.
Russia is the lowest-ranked team in the World Cup, ranked 70th in the rankings compiled by FIFA, soccer’s international governing body. Croatia is ranked 20th.
The Croatia-Russia winner will advance to a semifinal Wednesday against the winner of the England-Sweden quarterfinal that will be played earlier Saturday. The loser will be eliminated.