Saturday July 7, the FIFA World Cup headed into the quarter-finals, with Russia and Croatia facing off at Fisht Stadium in Sochi, Russia. The 40,000-capacity stadium was filled to the brim, however not everyone could make the trip. Fortunately the Hammer Museum in Westwood had locals covered. The cultural hub on Wilshire Boulevard hosted a live screening of the game inside the Susan Bay Nimoy and Leonard Nimoy Studio and simultaneously in the Billy Wilder Theater.
The global event brought together more than 250 people together locally, some wearing the jerseys of their favorite team, while others were there for the love of the game.
“The Hammer is more than an art museum, we are a cultural center and community gathering place,” said Nancy Lee, Senior Manager of Public Relations at Hammer Museum. “The World Cup is a great occasion for our audience to come together to enjoy this international sporting event.”
While some fans watched the quarter-final game inside the Billy Wilder Theater, many opted to cheer, clap and laugh inside the studio. Raahi Sheth, Ankit Patel, Shawna Sheth, and Sahil Shethl were among those cheering in support of Croatia, and watched the game together.
During halftime Ankit Patel told Century City – Westwood News, “I love soccer! I love football!” Patel is an alumni of California State University, Los Angeles, and the group had found out about the event through the Hammer’s website.
Heading into the second half, the game was tied with both teams having scored one goal. Inside the studio, guests had returned with a variety of food and drink. For the special event, the Hammer hosted a cash bar, serving both beer and liquor. Domagoj Vida’s goal on Russian goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev sent the Croatian fans into a flurry of joy and brought many to their feet in celebration.
As the final minutes of the game drew near Mário Fernandes’ goal for the Russian team brought the crowd to their feet again, tying the quarter-final game once more. Five members from each team lined up to take a one-on-one shot at the goal in penalties. It was Ivan Rakitic’s goal that made the difference for Croatia, taking the team to the semifinals.
As attendees walked out of the theater and studio, Jack was among those in high spirits; he has followed the FIFA World Cup since 1974. He was one of the 80-plus people that watched inside the game from inside the Billy Wilder Theater. “I moved to the theatre and the theatre was excellent,” he said. In addition to live broadcasts of the quarter and semifinals, the Hammer Museum will also screen the final match Sunday, July 15 at 8 a.m. For more information head to: www.hammer.ucla.edu/programs-events/2018/07/fifa-world-cup-live-broadcasts.