Sunday, June 18, 2006

Who says Americans don't care about the World Cup?

Yesterday I was on a pub crawl hosted by an American university alumni association. We visited a number of pubs along the King's Road in Chelsea (chi-chi shops and pubs serving Belgian biere blanc and fruit beers).

The Cup was on in just about every pub - of course. I have to admit, not so many people were watching the Portugal v Iran game, though most people were pleased to see Iran lose - they'll be heading home soon.

Then we watched a little of the Ghana v. Czech Republic match. Now that one was kind of important, with Ghana winning, it made the US v Italy game more important. It meant if the US team won, there was a still a chance to go through to the last 16 and the knockout stages of the tournament. Americans were chanting "Ghana, Ghana, Ghana" in a cute little pub in the heart of Chelsea.

Then there must have been about 150 Americans packed into the Cadogan Arms on the King's Road, there was no room, it was sweltering, it was probably over 100 degrees in the pub. Standing room only? There wasn't even room for that, people spilled out onto the street craning their necks to watch the game - and screaming and shouting.

And what a game! Three players sent off, an Italy own goal, a scrabling, striving tie throughout much of the game. I couldn't believe that this was the same US team that so outclassed by the Czech Republic. Even two men down, USA gave their all and played agressively. In the end, it wasn't enough, but I think it was definitely a respectable effort.

The Vol-in-Law and I left the pub at half-time to find a less crowded venue on our side of the river. We watched the rest in a pub on Battersea Bridge Road with some folks clearly supporting the US and some shouting at the screen in Italian. It was one of the more entertaining games that I've seen, and I was more upset by the outcome than I would have anticipated. I told the Vol-in-Law that I felt like resorting to hooliganism to vent my frustrations - and he helpfully pointed out a pizza restaurant across the road.

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