World Cup fever: Eye on the game... and the hunks

With family-friendly spots and atmospheric venues to catch the World Cup as well as the eye candy on the pitch, there is something for everyone as football fervour rises

The World Cup's kicked off and football fever is heating up even though the timings are not so friendly for people here in Singapore.

Many games are being played from around 8pm local time, but others will not start until 2am so it is probably best to watch from the comfort of your own home.

But if you have not stumped up for a home subscription, there are bars, restaurants and even community clubs screening some or all of the games until the final on July 15.

Here are seven options where you can get your football fill, from those offering unlimited ice-cold beers to ones with a family-friendly vibe.

Pitch perfect: Resorts World Sentosa

If you really want to catch the World Cup live, but cannot make it to Russia, fret not. Resorts World Sentosa (RWS) is pulling out all the stops to make guests feel like they are right in the thick of action.

When the semi-finals start from June 30, guests can head to the RWS Ballroom, which will be transformed into a football pitch (above, in an artist's impression), complete with turf, floodlights and super-wide 270-degree screens.

Grab a seat in one of the multi-tiered football pitch seats, which will simulate a stadium, or lounge on the turf if you want to be closer to the giant screens.

There will also be half-time entertainment, including hip-hop, street jazz and b-boy dancers.

Food and drink packages to accompany the screenings, priced from $20, can be bought online.

Quench the passion: Paulaner at Clarke Quay

Footie and drinks go hand-in-hand, so if you are after a venue that lets you quench your thirst, Paulaner (above) at Clarke Quay is an option.

Customers who watch games at the German brewery's Clarke Quay outlet can buy a wristband for $38 that entitles them to free-flow beer and house pours such as whisky, vodka, rum and gin for the duration of the match.

Wristband wearers also get to participate in a lucky draw at the end of each game, when four winners will walk away with a $50 voucher.

If you have a big group of pals, you can book a private room complete with a TV screen and foosball table. The room is available with a minimum spend of $388 a match and has standing space for up to 15 people.

The outlet will have a roaring atmosphere: Germany are reigning world champions, so plenty of impassioned fans will be there to cheer on their team to another successful run.

Fun for families: OCBC Square at Sports Hub

Football-obsessed families can head to the Singapore Sports Hub (above), where games will be screened for free on the 66 sq m screen set up at OCBC Square near Kallang Wave Mall.

The Sports Hub has dubbed this period of global sporting frenzy the Singapore Sports Hub Festival of Football. It kicked off with the opening game last Thursday and culminates on July 30 with the International Champions Cup in Singapore, when European powerhouses Atletico de Madrid, Arsenal and Paris Saint-Germain play at the National Stadium.

There is plenty of space to sit and watch the matches in the square, which has been decorated with football-inspired decor and artificial turf. There are celebrity appearances and bands are slated to perform on weekends during the festival.

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Beat the crowds: Bars outside town

Most places showing the games are in busy places in the city - think Orchard, City Hall and Marina Bay - but you can sidestep the crowds.

Rooftop bar Propeller at Bay Hotel Singapore opposite VivoCity is screening matches with a five-beers-for-$50 promotion. On Fridays and Saturdays, it will show games starting at 2am and stay open until 4am.

Or try Bar Bar Black Sheep (above) at Cluny Court, which is screening games that start up to 11pm. There are one-for-one deals on its Bar Bar cocktail made with Bar Bar Black Sheep IPA (India Pale Ale). Carlsberg Smooth Draft beer buckets are going for $19 while selected hard liquor bottles are up to 40 per cent off.

East-siders need not fret. Picotin Express at East Coast and its outlet at Bukit Timah are screening games, with projectors and multiple screens to ensure everyone gets a good view. Pre-booking is required for games that start after midnight.

Fast food meets footie: McDonald's

You have a friend who lives in Jurong and another in Pasir Ris. Where to watch the World Cup? Worry not - trusty McDonald's is coming to the rescue with games being screened in 22 restaurants across the island, including Woodlands, Ang Mo Kio, Yishun, Geylang and Jurong East.

You might have to jostle for seats with aunties, uncles, toddlers wailing for a McFlurry and the rest of the neighbourhood who have turned up in their pyjamas. But on the flip side, it is probably the cheapest food establishment you can set up camp in for the games.

McDonald's is also a good option if you do not know where your night is going to take you because, chances are, there is an outlet somewhere around the corner you can park yourself at. Besides, watching adrenaline-pumping action with fast-food in hand is a match made in heaven.

Games with a view: Ce La Vi and Club 55

For a stellar panorama to add a little glamour to your viewing, head to Marina Bay Sands' rooftop destination Ce La Vi (above), which is screening the games on a 65-inch TV at the outdoor members' area.

The standard cover charge of $20 until 9pm applies, but can go towards food and beverages.

Ce La Vi hosts its World Cup party on the final on July 14.

Fans clad in their favourite teams' jersey enter free.

For a swanky view minus the thumping music, a more intimate option is Club55. The 190-seat lounge for hotel guests in the day is opening up to the public at night with three screens to show up to 60 games.

It isoffering themed beverages created for the World Cup, including Tackle, a rum-based cocktail with ingredients such as mango and pineapple juice.

Get in the mood: Brewerkz at Riverside Point

Restaurant and microbrewery Brewerkz at Riverside Point is geared up for the World Cup.

The hangout, known for its assortment of beers, American grub and buzzy vibe, is doling out crowd favourite bar snacks, such as its chilli cheese fries, and opening up its full menu of beverages, with beers going for as little as $10 after 10pm.

There will be discounts on jugs of ale every time a goal is scored.

The mood should be upbeat, with sports memorabilia and World Cup flags adorning the venue and football bingo that will be played whenever there is a game.

With 17 TV screens and three projectors set up around the bar, you will not miss a moment of the action either.

Oh, and football bingo winners stand a chance to win a year's supply of beer, so brush up on your knowledge before heading to the game.

And the hunks

Marc Bartra, Spain

This centre-back from Spain stands out with his pretty grey eyes and intense brows. He joined Germany's Borussia Dortmund in 2016 and was popular with fans there, though he did not enjoy much luck.

Last year, the 27-year-old had his wrist broken when bombs went off near the team's coach. He was the only player seriously hurt. While he won applause for his composed reaction to the attack, he failed to shine on the field and returned to Spain to play for Real Betis this year.

Roman Burki, Switzerland

Roman Burki, 27, is known for his ability to stop goals - and hearts.

The goalkeeper for German club Borussia Dortmund and the Swiss national team made his international debut for Switzerland in a friendly game against Poland in 2014.

He is also known to have a quirky pre-match ritual - he would touch the ball before kick-off, even if it means snatching it from the referee.

Ramadan Sobhi, Egypt

The pyramids are not all that is beautiful about Egypt. Enter Ramadan Sobhi, 21, who played for leading Egyptian club Al Ahly in 2014 before moving to English side Stoke City in 2016.

The Egyptian transferred to EPL team Huddersfield Town last week, after Stoke was relegated from the league. The hunky winger with a sexy stubble is off the market though - he is married to Habiba Ekramy, sister of fellow Egyptian national footballer Sherif Ekramy.

Hiroki Sakai, Japan

With his chiselled jaw and 1.85m frame, Sakai, 28, has all the makings of a leading man in a Japanese drama series. He has shone as a right-back for French Ligue 1 club Marseille, with his ability to defend and score scorchers from outside the penalty box. He is said to be attracting interest from clubs from AC Milan to Crystal Palace.

Andre Silva, Portugal

Even if you are not a football fan, you will likely know of Portugal's greatest showman, Cristiano Ronaldo. But the 33-year-old is not the only heart-throb in the squad. Andre Silva, 22, is out to give his fellow striker a run for his money. The young star plays plays for Italian club AC Milan.

Alireza Jahanbakhsh, Iran

Sultry good looks are not all that this 24-year-old Iranian winger has going for him. With 21 goals for Dutch club AZ Alkmaar in the past season, including a hat-trick to seal a 6-0 win for his team against PEC Zwolle, Jahanbakhsh is the first Asian to finish as the top scorer in the Dutch league.

Olivier Giroud, France

A crowd favourite in the English Premier League (EPL), the 31-year-old known for his slick moves and looks is a forward for Chelsea and the French national team. Voted "Hottest Premier League Player" in 2015, Giroud has cited stylish footballer David Beckham as his sartorial inspiration.

Ki Sung Yueng, South Korea

Ki, 29, with his floppy fringe and manicured eyebrows, would not be out of place in a Korean boyband. The 1.87m-tall footballer is captain and centre midfielder of the South Korean national team and plays for EPL team Swansea City. He was voted the team's Player of the Year in 2015, with eight goals in 33 games.

Mathew Leckie, Australia

Leckie, 27, looks like a cross perhaps between Abbas Saad and Alistair Edwards, the two Australian star attackers who formerly played for Singapore in the Malaysia Cup. The winger with the stunning looks plies his trade not in the region, but in Germany, where he plays for Bundesliga club, Hertha Berlin.

Aziz Bouhaddouz, Morocco

It is hard to believe Bouhaddouz is 31, given his baby-faced good looks. The Moroccan plays as a forward for second-division German Bundesliga side FC St Pauli, a team he joined back in 2016.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on June 17, 2018, with the headline World Cup fever: Eye on the game... and the hunks. Subscribe