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world cup

English Fans Endure ‘F---ing Disgrace’ With Aplomb

This was the happiest they looked all day.

Fifth in an irregular series of encounters with expat World Cup fans. (See also: Brazil, South Korea, Ghana, Algeria.)

Match: Germany 4, England 1.

Location: Black Horse Pub, 568 Fifth Avenue, Park Slope.

The Draw: If soccer and loyalty to the crown aren't enough at this English Premier League bar, there's also the fact that for $12 you can get a breakfast of sausages, Irish bacon, black pudding, beans, grilled tomato, eggs, mushrooms, fried bread, and tea.

Scene: "Fuck the Germans" was the standard greeting among friends arriving at Black Horse, which went standing-room-only well before Sunday's 10 a.m. kickoff. The heated rivalry got the crowd going from the start, cheering for Mick Jagger and chanting for Wayne "Roooooo-ney." But before long the F-bombs started flying at the English side instead. An overheard comment to a friend: "Always have to give ourselves a fucking mountain to climb!" A surreptitiously-seen text message: "Fucking hell ... what a massacre!" Play-by-play commentary over the lengthy replay of yet another German breakaway goal through the porous English defense: "All fucking day! Christ Almighty. ... Ahhhh!" Yelled to no one in general: "Fucking disgrace! Piece of shit!"

The crowd erupted and leapt into the air when it appeared England had tied the game 2–2, but a goal was never awarded despite the ball having crossed the line by a good yard. Replays confirming this fact were met by hands atop foreheads, mouths agape. "Fucking unfair! Fucking referees!" The Germans made the no-goal moot anyway, though the place remained packed until the final whistle, fans filling every square foot right up to and out the doorway, even on the sidewalk, watching through open windows. Through most of the match, the bartenders poured only waters and American Champagnes (that's condescending Euro talk for soda) — blue laws say bars can't serve booze until noon on Sundays. But this horrified crowd badly needed a buzz, and eventually the taps started flowing like the Thames. When two fans draped in English flags appeared on the TVs wearing WWII uniforms and sad, sad expressions, heavy laughter rolled through the bar. "That's all right," one fan hollered to the militaristic duo, "we won that one!"

If you know of a good spot to catch a game with crazed nationals, let us know in the comments.

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Photo: Mike Ogle