Thursday, June 24, 2010

World Cup Fever Is Real In Sacramento

As I'm typing this, I am recording the USA-Algeria game from yesterday on a DVD. I want to have a keepsake of the USA team's wild ride to round two...and hopefully beyond.

I think World Cup fever is real because it led me to do something I have never done before....postpone by bedtime by four hours to see history. I could have went to bed and taped the game, but this was important. We had to win to get to round two, and wipe away the bad memories of Germany 2006.
After all, the world is starting to accept the fact the US is truly a soccer nation, or at least one that accepts its existence. Even with the 1950 upset over England, the US didn't care about soccer because Mickey Mantle, Jim Brown and Bill Russell's exploits distracted us. Oh, and hockey with Bobby Hull and Gordie Howe. That alone kept Canada's interest away.

We didn't start caring until 1967 when England's win inspired a pro soccer league that didn't catch on. Pele comes in, and that gives US soccer more attention. Without enough home-grown stars, or even playing in the World Cup, that didn't work for long. It wasn't until qualifying for Italy 1990 (and getting clobbered) and hosting USA 1994 that soccer proved it's here to stay. Getting more opportunities to see soccer anytime though cable TV sure helps, too.

So now we are at the Streets of London Pub, two blocks from my house, where USA and England fans gather to see their heroes get to the sweet 16.

Take your choice

USA fans enjoy the big screen, while England fans make do with the smaller but brighter flat screens. It's almost like picture-in-picture.
I did have a picture of fans celebrating the USA's goal in the first half, but that was disallowed. I had to delete it.

With the US staying scoreless while England scored a goal against Slovenia, the fans got worried, including this guy....

Wrapping the flag

At this point, I was hoping Slovenia would tie England, and put the US back on the road to round two. Of course, the US could do it themselves with a goal, but bad aim and even worse referees was making that unlikely.
Some still hoped...

Let's Go, USA!

but past 90 minutes, it looked bad.
Until...Landon Donovan saves the day. I can't embed this wideo, so here's a link to the game, including his goal in the 91st minute.

The reaction from Sacramento....


and that's it!

and Mr. Flag Guy...

Happy fan

I was even interviewed by KCRA, but any video proof of that interview is nowhere to be found. Since I am a radio guy, that's fine.
So, what now? I will try another soccer bar when I see the game against Ghana Saturday. There's an Irish bar nearby, which was featured in KFBK's coverage of "people watching soccer and drinking Guinness before work". I will see how they celebrate the game.
Sunday should be even better. Mexico plays Argentina, and there's a restaurant that's located on the site of an old auto dealership. It includes a mariachi band, so watching soccer there will be a much different experience. I'll be careful to wear a Mexican jersey in order to be welcome.
From there, who knows? I just don't think a sports bar is the best place to see a World Cup match. A small bar, out of the way, filled with jerseys and scarfs is much better. Once NFL pre-season starts, then you need a sporta bar.

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