Early hours don't scare WC fans in States - Xtratime Community
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post #1 of 1 (permalink) Old May 30th, 2002, 11:02 Thread Starter
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Early hours don't scare WC fans in States

Associated Press Writer
May 30, 2002


Soccer fans across America are planning afternoon naps, late-night caffeine blasts and early wakeup calls to catch live broadcasts of the World Cup from Japan and South Korea.

Mexico's games will be akin to national holidays in Southern California. Irish and English pubs in New York are expecting rowdy crowds, and Miami has the market cornered on South American fans.

Tape-delayed games will be shown during regular business hours, but any true fan knows that's risky.

``You'd have to go around with a paper bag on your head all day so you don't hear the scores,'' said Chris Wright, a 39-year-old Londoner living in Boston who plans to watch England-Sweden with friends at 5:30 a.m. Sunday. ``We're going to break the no-cocktails-before-noon rule.''

Boston-area bars with permission to stay open for the games -- to be broadcast live between 1:30 a.m. and 7:30 a.m. EDT -- have local alcohol laws to adhere to, so coffee will replace Guinness as the black beverage of choice. City officials won't let bars be open past 2 a.m. or before 7 a.m.

The month-long tournament begins Friday morning EDT, when France plays Senegal in Seoul.

At the French Library in Boston's Back Bay, 40 fans will be on hand for coffee and croissants after sunrise to cheer the defending champions, all organized by the French consulate in Boston.

``I'll wake up, no problem,'' said Eric Jausseran, a Marseilles native and artistic attache for the consulate. ``It's not even an issue. For the French games, we have to see them live. It's only every four years. Come on, it's not that hard.''

Irish fans aren't as lucky. Ireland's first game is 2:30 a.m. EDT Saturday against Cameroon, and barring a last-minute truce Ireland will play without banished star Roy Keane. Murphy's Law is in effect, it appears: The live TV broadcast is in Spanish only.

At the Bad Abbots pub in Quincy, owner Peter Kerr says he'll run an Internet feed from an Irish radio station for the play-by-play in English.

Around the country, bars and restaurants are trying to keep customers satisfied.

Hundreds of Mexican fans are expected to pack El Gallo Giro, a restaurant in the Los Angeles suburb of Huntington Park. Mexico's first game is 11:30 p.m. PDT Sunday night against Croatia.

``It's a patriotic feeling. A lot of people are far away from Mexico and they come to this place and feel like they're at home,'' assistant manager Juan Pozos said.

Last year, just qualifying for the World Cup touched off an impromptu parade outside the bar by 1,000 boisterous fans and forced the eatery to close.

At the Ear Inn in Manhattan, bartender Gary Lawler said the American, Irish and English games will be shown live. Most New York bars serve alcohol until 4 a.m.

``For the games we're allowed to be serving drinks, we will be,'' he said. ``But the 5:30 games will be a problem on that.''

His solution: ``We'll have a lovely Irish breakfast.''

Several Miami-Dade County bars are holding viewing parties. Bars run by Colombians, Argentines and Hondurans have banners advertising that games will be shown there.

In trendy South Beach, Sport Cafe plans to show every game. There's a $10 cover charge to get in, but drinks and food are extra, said manager Paulo Dee.

``We'll open almost 24 hours a day -- unfortunately for me,'' Dee said.

Churchill's in central Miami usually shows English Premier League games Sunday mornings and has pledged to remain open for every match.

At Rincon Argentino restaurant near downtown Miami, patrons will be able to see all of Argentina's games on tape.

For some, there are limits.

Alejandro Ortiz, 29, owner of the Pescador #8 restaurant in South Gate, Calif., said he won't be open during the early-morning broadcasts.

``It's better to stay in your bed where you are comfortable and talk to your friends about it later,'' he said.

Still, he doesn't intend to miss the most important matches.

``That is not in dispute,'' he said. ``We are already forming a club to drink coffee instead of beer at 4 a.m.''

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