World Cup fever has taken over Queens as the international soccer championship held in South Africa had residents both cheering and holding their heads in their hands after the United States lost in the knockout stage and teams from their home countries advanced.
At C.J. Sullivan’s on Bell Boulevard at Bayside, six large screens inside the bar had fans captivated as they saw the United States lose to Ghana Saturday in the Round of 16. Bayside resident Fitz Ventura went on an emotional roller coaster as the United States fell behind Ghana 1-0 early in the match Sunday.
U.S. midfielder Landon Donavan scored an equalizing penalty kick in the second half as patrons high-fived each other and chanted “U-S-A.”
But the Americans’ hopes were dashed when Ghana went ahead 2-1 in extra time, eliminating the United States.
“It’s unfortunate that the U.S. always has to play from behind as oppose to taking the lead early,” Ventura said.
Jose Lujambio, a New Hyde Park, L.I., resident who was raised in Uruguay, was rooting for both the United States and the South American nation, which won its first knockout stage match against South Korea to advance to the quarterfinals.
Lujambio, who was wearing a baby blue Uruguay jersey, said he wanted the United States to win because they would have faced Uruguay and he would have been happy with whoever was victorious. Nevertheless, he was hedging his bets with $100 on Brazil in the event it defeated Uruguay later in the week.
Around 30 people at the San Antonio Bakery in Astoria were disappointed as Chile fell behind Spain 2-0 in the first half of their World Cup game Friday.
“It’s a big surprise,” said manager Erika Santana.
The bakery, at 36-20 Astoria Blvd., serves primarily Chilean goods. It had Chile’s match playing on its single television.
This was the bakery’s first chance to show one of Chile’s World Cup games. The first game was on a Monday, when the bakery was closed and the second game was held too early in the day to be shown.
Santana acknowledged the welcoming environment as the reason for why the Chilean fans chose to watch the game at the bakery.
“They just feel at home,” she said.
Jeanette Morales, a resident of Elmont, L.I., shared that sentiment and said she will keep coming back.
“I feel comfortable,” she said. “I love it when everyone is here. And I love the sandwiches.”
Mary Morgado, a Chilean immigrant who lives in Astoria, was at the bakery with her children. She was delighted to be surrounded by her countrymen during the game.
“It feels good because not too many people from my country live here,” said Morgado. “It’s good to celebrate together. Everybody here loves football.”
Their love of soccer and their country was evident as the fans sported their team’s jerseys and waved their nation’s flag. And when Chile scored its first goal — and what would turn out to be its only goal of the game — the room exploded with excitement.
It was so exciting that Horaceo Silva, Jeanette Morales’ boyfriend, could not sit still.
“He gets so nervous,” said his girlfriend.
Silva wasn’t the only one who was on edge. Even as the other fans enjoyed their food and the company of their fellow Chileans, they still anxiously watched the game, hoping their team could come from behind for a miraculous victory.
Despite the loss to Spain, Chile advanced but was knocked out by Brazil Monday.
The Algerian soccer team didn’t fair as well. At Cafe Borbone in Astoria, dozens of fans — some draped in Algerian flags — were disappointed when their team lost to the United States, 1-0, last week.
“I feel sorry for them,” said the cafe’s owner, Lorenzo Palazzolo, who is of Italian descent.
However, the loss wasn’t enough to keep Algerians from holding an impromtu dance party along Steinway Street complete with a darbuka drum — even as U.S. fans from the Egyptian Coffee Shop celebrated next door.
“So we lost, that’s fine. For next World Cup, we hope so,” said Algerian fan Amine Shakur, who wore both his country’s flag and a team jersey.
Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e-mail at hkoplowitz
Where to Watch:
Chateau Brasil Brazilian Bar & Restaurant
38-02 29th Street
Long Island City
84-02 37th Avenue
Boca Juniors Restaurant
81-08 Queens Blvd
Zum Stammtisch Restaurant
69-46 Myrtle Avenue
I Love PY Bakery
43-16 Greenpoint Avenue
220-33 Northern Boulevard
World Cup quarterfinal matches:
Netherlands vs. Brazil: July 2, 10 a.m. on ESPN
Uruguay vs. Ghana: July 2, 2:30 p.m. on ESPN
Argentina vs. Germany: July 3, 10 a.m. on ABC
Paraguay vs. Spain: July 3, 2:30pm on ABC
©2010 Community News Group
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