At exactly 4 p.m. EST today, there will be a sharp drop in productivity for just about every person in the country. Office computer monitors everywhere will be split between [nondescript spreadsheet] and WatchESPN, and the hopes of an entire nation will be pinned on newfound heroes Bradley, Dempsey, Howard and Altidore (he's baaaaack!)
We are, of course, talking about this afternoon's World Cup Round of 16 elimination match between the United States and Belgium. Having given up a total of one goal in three group stage contests (all victories) and boasting a roster full of household names, the Red Devils are quite the formidable opponent. Always eager to combine our love for sports and our obsession with food and drink, we at Food Republic wanted to bring you a few facts about Belgian grub. You know, for some background information. It turns out that there's a lot more to the nation's cuisine than fries, chocolate, beer and moules. But boy, does the country do those things well.
- In 2011, there were 1,132 different varieties of beer being produced in the country.
- On average, Belgians drink 84 liters of beer each year. This number is down from around 200 per year in 1900.
- Both the chocolate bar and praline are Belgian inventions.
- Belgians have consumed some form of fried potatoes since around 1680. It is not uncommon to be given a choice of more than a dozen topping sauces – many mayonnaise-based – while visiting one of the country's friteries.
- Jenever has been considered the national spirit of Belgium for over 500 years.
Read more about the World Cup on Food Republic: