Hype for the month-long 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil has made its way to P.E.I. —even if Canada isn’t a qualifier.

Thursday marks the start of the 32-country competition, a date many have been keeping their eye on across the island.

The World Cup has been the talk of the town with many students at Colonel Gray High School in Charlottetown.

Student Ricardo Affonso, a Brazilian, said he is looking forward to watching the games.

“Some Brazilian families living here are gathering up to have a barbecue and watch together,” he said.

The manager of the Soccer Stop store on Queen Street said he expects there will be lots of island gatherings once the World Cup gets underway.

“Now that the participation has increased on the island, you get parents that never would've dreamed of watching a soccer game without falling asleep, now watching a full 90 minutes,” said Jared Murphy. 

jared murphy

Jared Murphy, manager of the Soccer Stop, said he expects there will be lots of island gatherings once the World Cup gets underway. (CBC)

He said the sport has definitely increased in popularity on the island.  

It’s a lot of hype for a country that hasn’t qualified since 1986.

“You cheer for the soccer itself,” said Murphy. “I mean, you're watching a tournament with some of the best athletes in the world.”

Those in the business community are taking notice as well.

Leslie Condon of the Churchill Arms pub on Queen Street said she is expecting a busy month.

She said when games are on, a doorman is even brought in to manage the crowds. 

“We couldn't even fit everybody in,” she said about the last World Cup. “There were people lined up hours before the game.”

The opening ceremony for the FIFA World Cup gets underway Thursday afternoon.