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Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The Finest World Cup Moment Thus Far: USA 1-0 Algeria

I made time to see the USA-Algeria game today but watching it was going to be another thing. At my two favorite bars in the neighborhood they were watching the England-Slovenia match and they couldn’t put both games on at once. My next option was to ride a couple of blocks down the street to the part of the neighborhood where a lot of Algerians live. There is a small cafĂ© on Calle Cuba that I knew was a favorite hangout of Arab men in this area and sure enough they had the game on the television. The problem was that the place was absolutely wall-to-wall with fans. I don’t mind going deep behind enemy lines to watch a game but I at least would like a place to sit. I kept looking as the game time came and went.

I went back to my first choice, La Tasca de Russafa, where I usually go to watch football. The people who work there always assumed that I was English so when I told them my citizenship status they were sympathetic but there wasn’t much they could do. They did switch over to the USA game but only for about five minutes because of the counter-protests from the English fans. I suppose that I really didn’t mind not watching the USA game because I would be a nervous wreck and it wouldn’t have even been fun. It was 0-0 for the USA and a draw would put them out of the tournament because England was winning. As soon as the England game had finished we switched over just as Landon Donovan was running from the goal in celebration of tie-breaker in the 91st minute.

So the USA went from elimination to first in their group in the 91st minute. I can’t believe how happy this made me. I was elated along with everyone else in the bar. It’s nice being the underdog once in a while, especially when you win. I am grateful that I actually missed most of the game, especially Dempsey’s disallowed goal for offside. England missed plenty of chances to shore up their goals-scored deficiency. Rooney hit the post. At least as far as my calculations go we go through first on total goals scored with 4. Now let’s see how Spain does on Friday against Chile.


  1. John, I went to a pub next to my office and to my surprise there were 300 others playing hookey from work. And this is Jacksonville for chrissakes!! Not exactly the soccer mecca of American. The place was going absolutely nuts from the 1st minute to the 91st minute. I haven't had such strong feelings of fun, tension, anger, disgust, thrill and ecstasy since my first sexual experience with someone other than myself.

    Finally, I think Americans are starting to get it that this game can be exciting and beautiful. I confess to being an avid American football fan first and foremost but even that is starting to change. I love the lack of egos, tv timeouts and ridiculous sideshow of cheerleaders, marching bands and drunk, toothless rednecks.

    What a game!!!

  2. I watched it at a big Irish bar (the Irish Rover) - they had the US game on upstairs and the England one downstairs. It was kinda surreal hearing the cheers and groans from upstairs that didn't correspond to anything we were seeing.

  3. I was cheering for England even though that really wasn't in the interests of the USA. ¡Enhorabuena Inglaterra!


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