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world cup

Nationals, Descendants, Choral-Singing Japanese Immigrants Enjoy German Victory

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

Match: Germany 4, Argentina 0.

Location: Heidelberg Restaurant, 1648 Second Avenue.

The Draw: They sell German brews (eight on tap) by the liter. If a food ends in -wurst, they serve it (six different sausages).

Why Is One of the Regulars Here a German-Speaking Japanese Woman? Toshiko Matsukawa joined the Liederkranz chorus soon after moving to New York from Japan 25 years ago. Itching to know what she was singing, she took German classes. Now she follows the soccer team.

Scene: The first three people this correspondent encountered at Heidelberg were three Americans who'd all recently lost their German fathers. Add four goals to that kind of emotion and you get a serious party. Of course, it certainly helped that the beer started flowing seriously at 8:55 a.m. Saturday, more than an hour before kickoff. "When you toast with a German, you have to look him in the eye or you'll have seven years of bad sex," a reveler named Holger Donath noted, kind of explaining the intensity of the drinking. Donath didn't eat Italian food for a year after flying to Germany to watch his team lose to Italy in the 2006 semifinals. Argentina's steaks will escape his boycotting wrath; this match was a rout from the third minute. Between "Deutschland" chants, lederhosen-laden servers kept delivering huge beers. By the time the game ended, the crowd was belting out "Don't Cry for Me, Argentina" for a stunned-looking Diego Maradona.

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