Experience World Cup fever with SI.com's writers in the World Cup Pub Blog, a daily journal of pitch passion, on-site pub reporting and reader-driven discussions.
7/10/2006 12:22:00 AM
Italy ends the suffering
Fans party on Mulberry following win.
Anthony Celeste (with flag) enjoys the day with (from right to left) Robert Franchini, his Mom, Judge Joe Conte and Judge Joe Rosa.
The Sambuca went wild as Grosso scored the game-winner.
Little Italy was just a little bit festive after the win.
Posted by Richard Deitsch
Italy vs. France, Little Italy
NEW YORK --When it was over after Fabio Grosso found glory and immortality on a patch of grass thousands of miles away, I thought of Fabrizio of Florence.
We had met a couple of weeks earlier at Sambuca's Cafe on Mulberry Street, and as he watched his beloved team against an opponent (Australia) that was proving tougher than expected, Fabrizio kept clutching his flag while uttering the same thing: They make us suffer.
Italians, and those longing for a piece of Italy, flooded restaurants on Sunday such as Cafe LaBella Ferrara, Amici II and Ristorante La Mela, where $30 or so rewarded you with mozzarella and tomatoes, mixed hot antipasti, a meat dish and most importantly, a seat near a television for the final.
It was at La Mela where I met 17-year-old Anthony Celeste, who offered some impressive perspective for someone born seven years after Italy's last World Cup title.
"You never know when it's going to come again," said Anthony, who plays soccer for Bergen Catholic (N.J.) High School. "During the overtime against Germany I must have said five Hail Marys and 10 Our Fathers."
Beside Anthony was his mother, Kamelia, and some family friends: Robert Franchini, who owned a Chevrolet dealership in Garfield, N.J., and a pair of real-life judges: Joseph Conte and Joe Rosa, both of whom are Superior Court judges in Bergen County.
Judge Rosa told me he set up a television in his courtroom during the month so he could watch the coverage on Univision during lunch breaks. Along with Judge Conte, he had ditched his robes for an outfit decidedly more Italian.
"Cases come and go," laughed Judge Rosa when I tweaked him for watching TV in the courtroom. "But the World Cup comes around only once every four years."
After walking the streets for all of the first half, my friend Thoma Kikis and I needed a place where we could watch the remainder of the game. It looked hopeless (every place with a TV was jammed) until we were spotted by Miriam Floridia, a waitress at Sambuca who took pity on us and found space inside her cafe next to the cannolis and Father Fabian Grifone, pastor of Most Precious Blood Church, located next to Sambuca.
Father Fabian said he conducted two services in the morning and one the previous night. None were World Cup related but you can't blame Sambuca's owner from attempting to gain favor with a figure far more powerful than Judges Rosa and Conte.
When France's Zinedine Zidane was sent off for his headbutt to the chest of Marco Materazzi in the 110th minute, everyone at Sambuca cheered. Then they got nervous.
"Here comes disaster," said a fatalistic Azzurri supporter when a stat appeared on screen about Italy being 0-3 alltime in penalty kicks.
But only the French found disaster. When David Trezeguet hit the crossbar on France's second penalty kick, it got so loud I couldn't hear Thoma standing next to me. Prior to Grosso's kick, I decided to close my eyes. Then came the loudest sound I've ever heard in a restaurant.
Outside there was ecstasy. The green, white and red of Italy flew everywhere and chants of "I-tal-ia, I-tal-ia" flooded Mulberry Street as the crowd grew into the thousands. I asked a woman selling mini-Italian flags on the street how much she was charging.
"Ten dollars," she said.
How much was it before the game?" I asked.
She laughed. "Five," she said.
The flags were flying off her table. Suffer, no more, Fabrizio.
It's standing-room only at L'Orange Bleue for the final.
Zinédine Zidane's goal had the fans buzzing.
There's always 2010 in South Africa.
Posted by Nathan Herpich
France vs. Italy, L'Orange Bleue
NEW YORK -- After having spent numerous afternoons watching Les Bleus in bars throughout Manhattan and Brooklyn during the World Cup, I decided on café L'Orange Bleue for the final thinking that, depending on the result, the level of joy or disconsolation here following the game would be unmatched in the rest of the city.
I wasn't wrong.
We were shoehorned in at this Soho venue. I was wedged between the bar and a small circular table and ample bodies sporting blue, white and red. I was fortunate: I had a direct view of one of two TVs at this Mediterranean/Southern French bar-restaurant, and the requisite verres de pastis and bottles of rose wine were easily ordered from where I stood.
Other fanatics of Les Bleus were not as lucky, forced to squeeze into the bar through windows that were covered by the French flag. These supporteurs then proceeded to watch the game from uncomfortable perches on the windowsills through which they had entered.
Fans yelled drink orders from more than 10 feet away, paying with balled-up $10 bills that were hurled across the width of the bar.
In the seventh minute, Zinédine Zidane bounced a penalty shot off the cross bar and across the end line to give France a 1-0 lead. At L'Orange Bleue, they reduntantly sang "Zidane y va marquer" (he had already scored) and "Bougez, bougez" on chairs, tabletops and throughout the bar.
The party was live.
Not long after, however, despair. Marco Materazzi leaped high in the 19th minute to head in a corner kick, tying the game at 1-1. L'Orange Bleue went silent.
As the game progressed, the price of a pastis rose from $4 a glass to $8, and the tension mounted. Bottles of champagne were prematurely passed throughout the crowd.
At the end of regulation, and after 30 minutes of extra time, the game remained tied. Penalty kicks would ensue.
France scored on its first attempt, and L'Orange Bleue exploded. Only David Trezeguet's miss would quiet the crowd; it was enough of a mistake to cost the French the championship, which Italy won 5-3 on penalty kicks.
After the game, sullen painted faces and silent, depressed cigarette smokers marked the block in front of the café. But the immediate quiet on Broome and Crosby streets was obscured by the nearby bells, horns and whistles of New York's Little Italy, a neighborhood that runs adjacent to this Soho block.
Motorcyclists and men on mopeds passed in front of the café, flying the Italian colors and mocking the French contingent. Men and women passed through, sporting the blue jersey of Italia with pride, chanting "Forza Italia." The French could do nothing but sit idly by, wondering what could have been.
Evan Davis and Julie Schuler get one last chance to cheer on Germany, even if it's not for the World Cup title.
Posted by Richard Deitsch
Germany vs. Portugal, The Heidelberg Restaurant
NEW YORK -- This blog started here 31 days ago in delicious fashion: an order of potato pancakes, a couple of glasses of Hofbrau and Warsteiner and a handful of German goals. It ended the same way today. Celebrating a third-place game may be verboten for bottom-line Americans, but not so for the 200 patrons at the Heidelberg, many dressed in national team jerseys and all paying careful attention to the play in Stuttgart.
Amid the crowd I ran into a familiar face: Evan Davis, an actor-model who made the initial World Cup blog. Davis, who played soccer at Colby-Sawyer and wore a German National Team scarf around his neck, had watched all of Germany's games except the first half against Argentina: Brooks Brothers called him with an offer to do an internet ad the morning of the game. Ballack versus Brooks Brothers? We should all face such choices. He ended up working half a day -- soccer does not pay the gas bill -- and caught the rest of the game at a downtown cafe. He was back at the Heidelberg for Germany's finale alongside Julie Schuler, whom Davis met online a couple of months earlier. Born to a German father and Korean mother, Julie works as an event planner for The Westin New York at Times Square, a hotel chain that better drop a bonus on her for this free plug.
After a scoreless first half, Bastian Schweinsteiger rousted the patrons with a 25-yard rocket past Ricardo in the 56th minute. Six minutes later Portugal defender Armando Petit deflected Schweinsteiger's free kick into his own goal. I noticed a couple of people at the restaurant wearing Portugal jerseys, which made me feel bad for those at Luzia's, who had suffer a pair of defeats within 72 hours. Schweinsteiger found goal again in the 78th minute to make it 3-0; Nuno Gomes allowed Portugal to save some face late.
The food will bring people back to the Heidelberg long after the World Cup.
Amid the final cheers, I met Peter Katona, a part-time student at Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism who had been given an assignment of filing a 4-6 minute radio piece at a scene. If any of his professors are reading this, I can assure them that Peter asked dutiful questions and had researched his subject matter. Like me, I'm guessing Peter won't be done paying off his Columbia loan until the second half of the 21st century.
A memorable World Cup for Germany ended at 4:48 Eastern Daylight Time. There were polite claps at the Heidelberg and about a minute later, the televisions were off. "It's over!" said Eva Matischak, the owner of the restaurant who looked like she could use a couple of days off. She was heading upstate to watch the World Cup final at an Italian restaurant of all places. "Until the next World Cup," she told me.
Rest assured, the potato pancakes will have me back long before that.
You've read our pub tales over the past month. We've drank Peronis with Italians, sampled Salade Niçoise with the French and chanted for goals alongside people from all over the world. Now we want to hear your tales. Tell us where you have been watching the World Cup and where you plan to watch Sunday's final. Does your city or town have a place that is serving as a de facto headquarters for the various national teams? What's been your most memorable viewing experience so far? And feel free to pick a winner, too.
These players had better act fast -- the beach and sunshine call these patrons.
Posted by Rebecca Sun
France vs. Portugal, Fidel's Norte
CARLSBAD, Calif. -- This Southern California beach town might be best known for breeding adventure-sports practitioners such as native sons Tony Hawk and Shaun White, but it managed to play host to some fans of the beautiful game this afternoon.
Fidel's patrons seemed dispassionate at first—with the Pacific Ocean a mere block away, perhaps it wasn't surprising that the activities alfresco held more sway over anything indoors. But there were a few people at the bar and seated at tables around the cantina who kept their eyes on one of the five television screens in the room.
The first indication that anyone was paying any attention to the game at all came during the game's only goal, French captain Zinedine Zidane's penalty kick in the 33rd minute, which elicited a few light boos, as did goalie Fabien Barthez's save two minutes later when Portugal tried to even the score. Apparently, this crowd was pro-Selecção -- but only mildly so.
"I mostly want to see a good game," said Jim Flahavin, enjoying a few days' vacation visiting friends before heading home to Baltimore. He said he wouldn’t mind seeing a Portugal victory -- then again, he wouldn't mind the French advancing, either. "I’d like to see Italy avenge its loss to France from the Euro 2000 final," a match he had witnessed in the Netherlands in person.
Sitting a few seats down from Jim at the bar was Jose Zanini, who distractedly but politely waved off my introduction at first, mumbling that he was trying to watch the game. But once he found out I was here to talk soccer, he opened up but managed to keep his eyes on the action unfolding in Munich. As evidenced by his name, he is of Spanish and Italian descent, and he explained he had ties to Argentina as well. With one of his allegiances safely set for the title match, he was able to watch the game with some relaxation.
The gathering at Fidel's Norte seemed to be pro-Portugal -- midly.
Good friends J.C. and Julie Cordero and Alex and Lorna Burton, seated at a nearby table, weren't as fortunate. J.C. had been pulling for Germany, whereas Alex was a Brazil fan. Now they were all rooting for Portugal (J.C. clarified he was mostly rooting against France), although Alex was pretty sure Les Bleus were going to take the win. "I've got the unpopular opinion at the table," he said.
Popular or not, Alex's pessimistic prediction was looking more and more a reality as Portugal repeatedly missed opportunities to find the inside of the net. Loud groans erupted around the cantina in the 78th minute, when Barthez made a save off a Cristiano Ronaldo free kick, followed by a too-high header by Luis Figo.
As the game trickled into stoppage time, the man at the table next to mine turned to me and said, "They better do something now." But he was shaking his head in resignation.
Wolfram Kalber was already acquainted with disappointment. The day before, he watched the Italy-Germany semifinal on San Diego's Pacific Beach under a tent with hundreds of strangers. "There was a German side and an Italian side," my new friend explained. (Guess which side a guy named Wolfram would be on.)
In a sign of true fútbol devotion rarely seen on American shores, someone had set up a television, complete with generator and rabbit-ears antenna, out on the sand. This generous soul had to hold up the antenna the entire time to maintain reception. Thankfully, he had a brigade of wingmen available and willing to pour beer into his mouth for sustenance.
Back to today's game, France stamped its ticket to the final without much ado.
"Well, enough hooky for me. Time to get back to work." Wolfram designs beach houses for a living. He's a good guy to know if I ever decide to quit this job and start making some real money.
I, too, paid my bill (two mahi-mahi tacos, a regional specialty) and stood up. I thought about going home and writing up this post right away, but then I thought better of it and crossed the street to the beach. After all, you can only resist the siren call of the sea for so long.
Alan the barman heartily recommends the Duke of York's specialty, England's Glory.
Ben Franklin/Jon Pickstone
Posted by The Limey
France vs. Portugal, Duke of York
LONDON -- A balmy Wednesday night and Team Limey found itself in Marylebone in the heart of London's West End (£200 in Monopoly money), at an archetypal English pub. On a night in which we were hoping to be watching our beloved lion-adorned heroes in the World Cup semifinal, we settled for watching our conquerors Portugal take on our new friends from across the Channel, France.
As we ordered at the bar, Paul from London summed up the general mood in the pub: "I hope France slaughters them; Portugal is a bunch of cheats and the whole of the country is behind France for the first time ever."
The Duke of York is a true English boozer, bedecked in St. George's flags, with real ale and pub grub and even a smattering of continental dishes on the menu. Getting into the sprit of the evening we opted for steak frite and Spanish omelette. Well, close enough. To drink? We had spotted something perfect to raise an ironic cheer, Alan the barman's recommended World Cup ale, "England's Glory."
The match was only two minutes old when a wildy exaggerated free kick appeal from Cristiano Ronaldo led to a groan of hatred around the pub. This was accompanied by boos and whistles from the crowd in the stadium in Munich. It seems that it's not just the Brits in the pub who have developed a deep-seeded loathing for the gesticulating "winker."
Patrons at the stately Duke of York eagerly awaited a modicum of revenge against Cristiano Ronaldo and Portugal.
Ben Franklin/Jon Pickstone
A quiet moment in the first half saw us meet some American tourists. Daniel and Ben from California both said that the World Cup had increased their interest in soccer, with Daniel even admitting to reading SI.com's World Cup Pub Blog! Our chat was brought to an abrupt halt when their dinner arrived. Roast beef and Yorkshire pudding -- scrumptious fayre! Bevan the Aussie landlord informed us that his pub is a favorite haunt of both American tourists and students, with a large U.S. contingent in to watch World Cup games.
Back to the important business of the match: A smartly dressed man at the bar, William Hickey of Hammersmith, told Team Limey that "the only thing I'm concerned with is how much Raymond Domenech looks like [ex Formula 1 boss] Eddie Jordan."
At the 32nd minute, the partisan attitude of the crowd in the pub was clear as a huge cheer erupted when Thierry Henry tripped on the trailing leg of Portuguese defender Ricardo Carvalho. Thirty-third minute, and 1-0 France! Not even penalty-stopper extraordinaire Ricardo can stop Zinedine Zidane's pin-point spot kick into the bottom left corner.
Laughter and applause at the 38th minute as Ronaldo treats us to a dive-cum-swan-dive-pirouette in an attempt to gain a penalty.
The next excitement wasn't until the 78th when the Portuguese twins who arrived at halftime yelped in unison as Fabien Barthez managed to spoon a Ronaldo free-kick straight onto Luis Figo's head, only for the aging maestro to miss the clearest of chances.
At 80 minutes, yet another Ronaldo dive and thatch-headed BBC commentator Mark Lawrenson screams, "Get some yellow cards out, ref!." Two minutes later, 'Lawro' gets his wish as Carvalho is booked.
Full time, and it's "Allez Les Bleus," with a pub fueled by England's Glory in agreement that Portugal got its just desserts by going out to a dubious penalty.
L'Orange Bleue looks peaceful enough, but it was rocking inside.
Posted by Nathan Herpich
France vs. Portugal, L'Orange Bleue
NEW YORK -- As I first approached L'Orange Bleue, my planned venue for watching today's semifinal match between France and Portugal, it appeared that the café was either closed or particularly subdued. No light passed through the windows and doors that looked out onto the cobblestone Soho road, Crosby Street, and on a beautiful summer afternoon, the outdoor seating was quite obviously empty.
Then, I heard the bar move.
"Zidane, y va marquer," was the recurring chant of the afternoon, put to the music of Cauet, the refrain frequently interrupting the Univision television commentary. "Zidane is going to score."
Inside, the seven windows were each covered in the French tricolore, preventing much light from passing in or out of the glass, and the orange-painted walls and warm yellow lighting lent to the Mediterranean feel of this French-Moroccan-themed restaurant-bar. A bucket of oranges sat on a windowsill, one of them painted blue, and hookah pipes sat atop shelves in the dining area where a large screen hung from the ceiling.
French fans chanted and danced their way through a semifinal victory.
Rows of tables and chairs were set up facing the screen. Many of those who watched sported the blue Adidas jerseys of the French. Some had painted their faces red, white and blue and were holding small flags. A bartender wore a lonely red Portuguese T-shirt.
Cauet's lyrics proved prophetic in the 33rd minute, when Capitaine Zidane hammered home a penalty kick into the left corner of the goal. Few of those gathered remained in their seats, as they instead bounded rhythmically to the music celebrating the midfielder's second goal of the World Cup. Zidane, who will retire from competitive soccer after Les Bleus' Cup run, is clearly not ready to give up the beautiful game.
According to French supporters Alex Sauveplan, Nelly Parisot and Gabe Feghali, Zidane's renaissance controlling the midfield is the main reason for France's return to championship form. Zizou, as he is affectionately known in France, is an intriguing superstar for a nation of immigrants that has suffered an increasingly large amount of racially motivated rioting in the past year. The son of Algerian immigrants, he represents one of a majority of players on the national team who have ancestral ties to former French colonies and current protectorates in Africa and the Caribbean.
At L'Orange Bleue, this diversity is celebrated. The menu is an eclectic sampling of Mediterranean, French and African dishes. Today's brunch menu included Ojja Tunisienne, Salade Nicoise and a Crepe Senegal. Much of the staff is Senegalese, including waiter Lanzo Diagne, a Dakar native.
Four years ago, Diagne remembers, the Senegalese employees showed up wearing their national colors for their opening-round match against their former colonizers the French, a game the Africans famously won. "For four years some of the French didn't come back to the restaurant," he said. "They got really pissed off, but, well, we had a good time."
Chances are you'll be seeing these faces at L'Orange Bleue on Sunday.
Today at L'Orange Bleue, however, Diagne and nearly everyone else were for France. "This year, they are the underdogs," he said.
After several shaky clearances by goalkeeper Fabien Barthez turned out to be benign mistakes, and the referee blew the whistle before Portugal could score, Diagne shed his T-shirt, waved it around his head and got up on the bar.
Others joined him on tabletops, as they sang bougez, or quite simply, dance.
Monina Alessir won't be having a festive Sunday at Luzia's like she had hoped.
Posted by Richard Deitsch
France vs. Portugal, Luzia's Restaurant & Tapas Bar
NEW YORK -- Monina Alessir was born in Argentina to a French mother and an Italian father. Today she owns a Portuguese restaurant, which employs a Brazilian chef, among others. This is one woman who by birth and business could be part of a World Cup celebration every four years. But there was only agony on Wednesday afternoon, both personal and professional.
Before France's 1-0 win over her beloved Portugal, Monina told me she had 35 reservations for the final on Sunday.
"Are they good only if Portugal wins?" I asked her.
"Win only," she said.
Gina sneaked away from work for this?
There were 10 of us sitting around the bar, from a pair of couples having lunch to a 20-something named Gina (granted partial anonymity since she snuck away from her job) who wore a Cristiano Ronaldo jersey. Though Gina was not Portuguese, she had become a fan while traveling in Greece two years ago during Portugal's run to the final of the European Championships. (One might surmise Ronaldo being such a pretty boy also had something to do with it.)
Luzia's sits amid an armada of bars and restaurants on Amsterdam Avenue on the West Side of Manhattan. It is a cheery, brick-walled place with plenty of tapas on tap. (I can personally vouch for the grilled calamari and croquetas de pollo.) Monina bought the restaurant two years ago from the real Luzia. Throughout the game, friends of the owner popped in to ask what the score was. At one point, a nervous Monina went out to smoke and watched the game through her window. She screamed (as we all did) after Portugal missed its best chance: Luis Figo's open header sailed over the crossbar in the 78th minute.
Monina explained that the crowd was light because many of her regular customers were in the Portuguese-heavy Ironbound section of Newark, including Luzia's executive chef. France's lone goal came in the 33rd minute -- the penalty did not go over well at Luzia's -- and it held up. After the final whistle sounded, Monina paid tribute to Portugal by asking everyone to clap for her team. "Let's give a hand to Portugal," she announced. So we did. Then Monina treated the entire place to a free shot of Borges porto. It was so good I may have to root for Portugal come 2010.
Sylvester Schneider (right) took Germany's loss in stride.
Posted by Richard Deitsch
Germany vs. Italy, Zum Schneider
NEW YORK -- For more than two hours on Tuesday afternoon Zum Schneider had lived by a single motto -- Wir fahren nach Berlin! -- and even an American writer had become convinced: The Germans were going to Berlin for the World Cup final.
Perhaps I was spoiled by what was in front of me. Zum Schneider is located deep in the East Village section of New York City, but the atmosphere is much more Marienplatz than Manhattan. There was a German flag the size of a tent on the ceiling and Hacker-Pschorr, Schneider Weiss and 10 other German beers on tap. Waiters served giant plates of bratwurst, reiberdatschi (oniony potato pancakes with apple sauce) and wiener schnitzel sandwiches. There were about 170 people in the restaurant for the Italy game and perhaps 35 had German flags painted on their faces. One woman even painted the flag on her lips.
When I called owner Sylvester Schneider (Zum means "to" or "at" in English) the day before the Italy game, he offered me a simple piece of advice: "I suggest you don't bring your best clothes," he said. "If we're winning, beer is flying."
A festive atmosphere turned for the worse when Italy struck for two late goals.
Sylvester said he charged $15 per ticket during the World Cup as a means of crowd control (replays later in the night were free of charge). Demand far outweighed the supply; the semifinals sold out in five minutes. Among those who snared tickets was Stefan Jenkel, who traded in his usual Wall Street attire for a German national team jersey. Jenkel was born in Wiesbarden and came to New York eight years ago. He had attended games at Zum since it opened in 2000. "I was here for the 2002 Cup final against Brazil," he said. "It was bitter. Then it was bittersweet."
At halftime Stefan and Co. sang the Zum staple -- One Rudi Völler -- to the music of the song Guantanamera. Similar scenes played out in German-heavy areas of New York City. During the game my friend Paul von Zielbauer, who writes for The New York Times and annoys me with his Teutonic good looks, sent a text message that Loreley was also packed. He ended up at a bar just east of Bowery that featured the German-language Setanta broadcast of the game.
The end of Germany's strong World Cup run was devastating to some.
Both of us assumed a German goal was coming, and it nearly did in the 63rd minute when Lukas Podolski quickly turned and fired. But Gianluigi Buffon, as always, was there. Arne Friedrich's follow-up shot sailed high. Sylvester soon led a serenade of "Let's get goals," but it didn't help. The Italians started finding space late and hit both the post and crossbar in the opening minutes of the extra session. The clock dragged on, which was not bad if you rooted for Germany, a country that seems to convert penalty kicks coming out of the womb.
Then, in a blink, death in the East Village. Italy's Fabio Grosso hit a rocket from the left side that beat keeper Jens Lehmann and broke the crowd's heart. A woman behind me repeated the word nein eight times. As soon as Sylvester started another "Let's get goals" chant, Alessandro Del Piero gutted the body.
It was over. I looked around the room. Half the people were glassy-eyed. Some were crying. I asked Sylvester how long it would take him to get over this loss. "I'm already over it," he said. "We went further than anyone thought." Others would need more time. One man sat on the street with a German flag beside him and a blank expression on his face. He might still be there when the Italians play in Berlin on Sunday.