Ecuadorian fans celebrating their first win in Chicago

El Rinconcito Equatoriano is an Ecuadorian restaurant in Irving Park whose walls are covered in artisan paintings and artifacts.

Fans wore yellow shirts, screamed into their TVs, and cheered as if their lives were at stake. We were eating traditional Ecuadorian food while sipping coffee and beer. Salchipapa, fries and hot dogs, or Boron de Verde, Plantain-based dish.

For many of them, Sunday has become a day of celebration. Soccer fans all over Chicago and around the world huddled on the edge of their seats as Ecuador defeated hosts Qatar 2–0 at Worlds in his Cup debut.

Just before 8:30 am, outside the Grove Pub down the road, fans lined up in the freezing cold to the door. Some wore Ecuadorian flags, others sipped hot coffee.

Once inside, siblings Felipe Calvo, 33, and Michelle Calvo, 28, from Guayaquil, Ecuador, expressed their excitement about the team’s roster (a mixture of old and new players), while Michelle Calvo was playing during the tournament. I have become more confident in my country’s potential. .

“This time around, maybe I’ll be on Sweet 16,” she said. That means her final 16 teams (the top two teams in each group) to enter the knockout stage.

They also discussed recent controversies surrounding the Qatari government and its treatment of migrant workers and the LGBTQ community.

“Especially in a disenfranchised country like Qatar, it makes sense that there would be all these protests for human rights, because as opposed to fixing what’s going on in the country right now. , because the focus is on where the money is,” said Michelle Carbo.

Matthew Sand, 27, booed Gianni Infantino as the FIFA president shared some introductory words before the match. “Shut up,” he yelled across the sports bar, his team his USA shirt visible from under his jacket.

“No one really supports this World Cup,” Sand told the Tribune. But people will still watch tournaments, he added.

“Ecuador! Ecuador! Ecuador!” erupted throughout the facility when Ecuador’s Ener Valencia scored a goal against Qatar within the first three minutes of the match. However, moans cut through the electric atmosphere as the referee ruled out the goal after a lengthy review of offsides.

Mandy Mendoza, 30, from Arausi, Ecuador, showed up at the Globe Theater just before the match started. Her mom was raised in Quito and her dad in Guayaquil.

Mendoza expressed cautious optimism for her team, stating that they are “performing better this year.”

“Ecuador doesn’t always get to the World Cup,” she added.

At El Rinconcito Ecuatoriano, fans of all ages sat and ate with their eyes glued to one TV. Patrons joked and laughed it off, even though we had technical issues with the TV shutting down a few times. In the end, their side was victorious — Ecuador’s Valencia had scored two more goals by his 31st minute.

The small but energetic group at the restaurant jumped with joy when the ball rolled off the field and finally after 90 minutes and extra time.

“I was a little nervous because they say it’s hard to win the first match,” said Estefania Escudero, 26, whose family is from Quito. “But I’m very happy to win. It’s great to have this feeling all the time.”

Nicole Constante, 20, a student at the University of Illinois at Chicago and her cousin from Quito, said Ecuador’s young players proved people wrong.

“I think people didn’t believe they were going to succeed,” Constante said. “They were young, but they were able to prove the opposite.”

However, Escudero added that her team is only getting more competitive. Ecuador are currently playing against the Netherlands. 8th place in the world, on Friday. Ecuadorian fans celebrating their first win in Chicago

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