"Here, in the U.S., it's like football and baseball put together," Renato Buontempo described soccer's appeal in Europe.
While most Americans still haven't quite caught soccer fever, the local businessman and owner of Buontempo Bros. and the Tower in Bel Air will be one fan glued to the TV Sunday watching the Euro 2012 quarterfinals when England goes head to head with Italy.
In Europe, "there are a lot of different sports," Buontempo said, "but [for] soccer on Sunday, everybody stops."
It's very similar to Sunday night football here in America and almost a tradition to go to church, go home and watch the game.
Sunday's game, in particular, should be interesting.
The two countries have always been competitive when it comes to soccer, or football as it's called everywhere else, Buontempo said.
"It goes back to the early 1900s or late 1800s," he explained. The argument is over who invented the game. "Whenever the two play, England thinks they invented the soccer and Italy thinks they invented the soccer."
There seems to be no end in sight of this long-standing rivalry, either, as both countries claim their own pre-cursors to the game.
Buontempo will be watching the game with family, friends and customers at the Main Street Tower on Sunday, and while he'll be rooting for Italy, he'll have friends from England cheering on their home country, as well.
"We're going to have a lot of fun," he said.
Buontempo said both are good teams and it should be a fair match.
"Of course I want Italy to win," he admitted, "but I want the best to win. Fair is fair."
The Euro 2012 quarterfinals with England and Italy will air at 2:30 p.m. Sunday on ESPN.