Between the FIFA corruption, the labor abuses and worker deaths, and Qatar’s very LGBTQ-unfriendly policies, we’re not excited about this World Cup. But we’re also not not excited, especially because, unlike in 2018, the US men actually made the tournament. So it’s complicated, but Portland soccer fans are used to complicated.
One thing those of us who aren’t boycotting the whole tournament can be excited about, though, is a reason to check out a bar at what is, for most quittin'-time happy hour drinkers or late-night bar stool regulars, is a new and different time of day, thanks to the 11-hour difference between the Pacific and Arabian time zones. The first kickoff is between Ecuador and host Qatar, Sunday, November 20, at 8 a.m., and the rest of the early group stage games happen at 2, 5, 8, or 11 a.m., which is a little tricky when alcohol sales aren’t allowed between 2:30 and 7 a.m. in Oregon (unless you’re a ticketed passenger at an airport bar, in which case you can be served as early as 5 a.m.). From Tuesday, November 29, until the final on Sunday, December 18, all games are at the much more humane times of 7 or 11 a.m. At least the sun is up by then. (Scroll down to see a full schedule for the group stage. The group stage results will determine placement for the knockout rounds, which start December 3.)
While some pubs that have wheeled in a TV or two and changed their hours during past World Cups have decided they just don't have the staff capacity to do that in 2022 (sad news for those of us who have fond memories of wee-hours viewing at the Moon & Sixpence 20 years ago, when the 2022 Cup was played in Japan), a few dedicated soccer bars will be open before dawn. At Gol (formerly 442, at 1739 SE Hawthorne Blvd), there are plans to be open for all the 5 a.m. games. A few blocks down the hill, English pub Toffee Club (1006 SE Hawthorne Blvd) is closed for two days before the tournament starts, and then will open at 7 a.m. Sunday for the opening game and 4:30 a.m. Monday for England vs. Iran. After that, look for 7 a.m. to be the standard, but Toffee Club is closed Thanksgiving Day and is hosting an already-sold-out event at the Redd for the England vs. USA game at 11 a.m. on Black Friday. Check the "footy schedule" on Toffee Club's website for the daily schedule.
The Toffee Club, which already closed once in the pandemic, in August 2020, is breaking hearts all over again with the announcement that the pub will close for good after the World Cup ends in December. Away Days Brewing will stay open.
While Gol and Toffee Club live and breathe football, other football-friendly spaces—including Slim's (8635 N Lombard St) in St. Johns and Kells Brewery (210 NW 21st Ave) in Northwest—will be showing morning games, too. And there are plenty of bars around Portland that always open at 7 a.m., the earliest time the OLCC allows alcohol sales. We have fond memories of catching the James Comey hearings (remember that chapter of the Trump presidency?) with before work with some morning regulars at the Commodore (1650 W Burnside St), which is a regular pre- and postgame stop for Timbers and Thorns fans given its proximity to Providence Park but not a place that normally has its TV tuned to sports, but they might change the channel if you ask nicely. Same goes for nearby Yur's (717 NW 16th Ave).
At friendly Renner's Grill (7819 SW Capitol Hwy) in Multnomah Village, which opens at 7 a.m. weekends and 9 a.m. weekdays, a staffer reports they should be able to point the remote and make a channel switch if asked. For the 2 and 5 a.m. games, there's always the trusty 24-hour Tik Tok (3330 SE 82nd Ave & 11215 SE Division St), which has nothing to do with the Ke$ha song or Chinese social media company of the same name. If you're searching up 7 a.m. bars on Google, be sure to follow up with a phone call to confirm hours, as what's listed online is often wrong, and bar and restaurant hours have changed more frequently amid the pandemic and labor shortages.
Around half of the 64 games, including all US games, are scheduled to be on Fox (local KPTV channel 12), with the rest on cable channel FS1, or available through streaming apps. Telemundo and Universo will have games broadcast in Spanish. If you don't have cable, check out these tips from the Washington Post.
There are no current Timbers players in the World Cup this year to root for, though the Seattle Sounders have three players in the tournament whom Portlanders can root against, for those fans who take the Cascadia rivalry very, very seriously. If you can access a Canadian broadcast, you can see Portland Thorn Janine Beckie as part of the broadcast team covering that country's first men's World Cup appearance since 1986 (led by Canada's former women's team coach who worked with Beckie as well as former Thorns coach Rhian Wilkinson and GM Karina LeBlanc, and whom Christine Sinclair called a life-changing figure in her recent memoir). Since the Thorns are one of the best women's sides in the world (sorry, Timbers), Portland will have more local players to watch when the 2023 Women's World Cup kicks off in July in Australia and New Zealand, in multiple time zones between 16 and 21 hours ahead of Portland's, putting some games in prime time and some at 3 a.m.
Group Stage Schedule for 2023 Men's World Cup (Pacific time)
Games with a * are scheduled to air on network TV on Fox; games with a ** are tentatively scheduled for Fox but may change.
Sunday, Nov 20
- Qatar vs. Ecuador, 8 a.m.
Monday, Nov 21
- England vs. Iran, 5 a.m.
- Senegal vs. Netherlands,* 8 a.m.
- United States vs. Wales,* 11 a.m.
Tuesday, Nov 22
- Argentina vs. Saudi Arabia, 2 a.m.
- Denmark vs. Tunisia, 5 a.m.
- Mexico vs. Poland,* 8 a.m.
- France vs. Australia,* 11 a.m.
Wednesday, Nov 23
- Morocco vs. Croatia, 2 a.m.
- Germany vs. Japan, 5 a.m.
- Spain vs. Costa Rica,* 8 a.m.
- Belgium vs. Canada,* 11 a.m.
Thursday, Nov 24
Note that many bars will have different hours or be closed altogether on Thanksgiving Day.
- Switzerland vs. Cameroon, 2 a.m.
- Uruguay vs. South Korea, 5 a.m.
- Portugal vs. Ghana,* 8 a.m.
- Brazil vs. Serbia,* 11 a.m.
Friday, Nov 25
- Wales vs. Iran, 2 a.m.
- Qatar vs. Senegal, 5 a.m.
- Netherlands vs. Ecuador,* 8 a.m.
- England vs. United States,* 11 a.m.
Saturday, Nov 26
- Tunisia vs. Australia, 2 a.m.
- Poland vs. Saudi Arabia, 5 a.m.
- France vs. Denmark, 8 a.m.
- Argentina vs. Mexico, 11 a.m.
Sunday, Nov 27
- Japan vs. Costa Rica, 2 a.m.
- Belgium vs. Morocco, 5 a.m.
- Croatia vs. Canada, 8 a.m.
- Spain vs. Germany, 11 a.m.
Monday, Nov 28
- Cameroon vs. Serbia, 2 a.m.
- South Korea vs. Ghana, 5 a.m.
- Brazil vs. Switzerland,* 8 a.m.
- Portugal vs. Uruguay,* 11 a.m.
Tuesday, Nov 29
In each group of four teams, the last two matches are played at the same time, so these are days it might be good to find a spot with more than one television.
- Netherlands vs. Qatar,** 7 a.m.
- Ecuador vs. Senegal, 7 a.m.
- Wales vs. England, 11 a.m.
- Iran vs. United States,* 11 a.m.
Wednesday, Nov 30
- Tunisia vs. France,** 7 a.m.
- Australia vs. Denmark, 7 a.m.
- Saudi Arabia vs. Mexico, 11 a.m.
- Poland vs. Argentina,** 11 a.m.
Thursday, Dec 1
- Croatia vs. Belgium,** 7 a.m.
- Canada vs. Morocco, 7 a.m.
- Japan vs. Spain, 11 a.m.
- Costa Rica vs. Germany, 11 a.m.
Friday, Dec 2
- South Korea vs. Portugal,** 7 a.m.
- Ghana vs. Uruguay, 7 a.m.
- Serbia vs. Switzerland, 11 a.m.
- Cameroon vs. Brazil,** 11 a.m.
Saturday, Dec 3
We'll update the schedule for the knockout rounds as the teams are determined.
- Netherland vs. USA,* 7 a.m.
- Argentina vs. Australia,* 11 a.m.
Sunday, Dec 4
- France vs. Poland, 7 a.m.
- England vs. Senegal, 11 a.m.
Monday, Dec 5
- Japan vs. Croatia,* 7 a.m.
- Brazil vs. South Korea,* 11 a.m.
Tuesday, Dec 6
- Morocco vs. Spain,* 7 a.m.
- Portugal vs. Switzerland,* 11 a.m.
Friday, Dec 9
- Quarterfinal: Croatia vs. Brazil,* 7 a.m.
- Quarterfinal: Netherlands vs. Argentina,* 11 a.m.
Saturday, Dec 10
- Quarterfinal: TBD vs. TBD,* 7 a.m.
- Quarterfinal: England vs. France,* 11 a.m.
Tuesday, Dec 13
- Semifinal: TBD vs. TBD,* 11 a.m.
Wednesday, Dec 14
- Semifinal: TBD vs. TBD,* 11 a.m.
Saturday, Dec 17
- Third-place game: TBD vs. TBD,* 7 a.m.
Sunday, Dec 18
- Final: TBD vs. TBD,* 7 a.m.
Editor's note: This story has been updated.