The Full 90

Scenes from a watch party, the VIIIth

With all due respect to my friend Charles Gooch, having games played simultaneously at this stage of the World Cup is kind of fun.

The way the group standings change in real time is amazing -- and stressful. And it’s great when you have the ability to watch both games at one time. That was the case at the Fox and Hound in Overland Park.

I wanted to watch with some England fans, and there were about a half-dozen or so at the pub. That was roughly 60 less than the U.S. fans.

But while some English supporters maybe have not been in hiding, they have had a rough time of it during the World Cup, particularly after the dismal scoreless draw with Algeria.

“I wasn’t happy for 24 hours ... 48 hours ... well, until they scored (Wednesday),” said Mark Adams, who is from Liverpool but lives in Shawnee.

England had taken a 1-0 lead in the first half and vaulted to the top of Group C. There was a palpable sense of relief from Adams, who was watching the game with his 14-year-old daughter, Chloe, and friend John Hooper.

Hooper, who is from the Isle of Man in the United Kingdom, even made an English flag that he draped on an adjoining pool table.

While the England-Slovenia game was shown on a projection screen, the two televisions next to it were showing the U.S. game. It was also on in another part of the bar, where the the groans and curses could be heard as the U.S. somehow managed not to score for 90 minutes.

But at the moment the England game went final, Landon Donovan scored for the U.S. and everyone in the place was cheering -- however, not all for the same reason. England was through and the U.S. had pulled out its game to win the group. England had placed second.

When the final whistle blew in the U.S. game, Trevor O’Grady, who was wearing an American jersey, a U.S. flag as a cape and had painted his face red, white and blue, came over to talk smack with Hooper.

“You’ve scored as many goals as we’ve had disallowed,” O’Grady crowed.

Needless to say, O’Grady admitted he wasn’t feeling quite so good about things just a few minutes earlier. But everything turned out fine in the end.

And to quote John Candy from Planes, Trains and Automobiles: “We can laugh about it now, we’re all right.”

| Pete Grathoff,