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Northeast Ohio Soccer Watch

Some people call it "soccer". Others refer to it as "football". For Jure Zmauc, it's something else entirely.

JURE ZMAUC: Nogomet --- the Slovenian word for soccer or football is "Nogomet".

As the Cleveland-based Slovenian Consul General, Jure Zmauc is the diplomatic representative for the estimated 50,000 Slovenians living in Ohio. Northeast Ohio is home to the largest population of Slovenians in the country. Zmauc says soccer --- or "nogomet" --- is his country's most popular sport and he's sure many local eyes will be glued to TV coverage of the match between the U.S. and Slovenia. The tiny European country is gaining respect in the soccer world, coming off of an impressive win against the powerhouse Russian team in a qualification match, and a recent 1-0 win over Algeria in the first round. Although Zmauc is pumped up about the prospects for his team, he's just happy that they're in the big show.

JURE ZMAUC: For Slovenia it was a big success to come to South Africa. To beat Russia and come to South Africa and be in a group with England, the USA, and Algeria --- for us it's a success and for us it's fun.

Joining in the local fun, several members of the Slovenian parliament will be in town for a World Cup watch party at the Harbor Inn, in Cleveland's Flats.

David C. Barnett was a senior arts & culture reporter for Ideastream Public Media. He retired in October 2022.