Saturday, June 19, 2010

World Cup Fever

It would be border-line irresponsible of me if I didn't post at least once about the World Cup while living in London, wouldn't it?
For anyone who has been living under a rock or in a cave for the past week-or, outside of the UK from the looks of the US newspapers I've been reading online-England is in the throes of World Cup Fever. Has been for several weeks now, even though the official games just kicked off (no pun intended) a week ago.  I'll refrain from any game by game commentary-that's already been covered 7,000 ways to Sunday by everyone else, I'm sure.  Instead, just a few general observations about the differences between World Cup in England versus World Cup in the US.
  • Life as we know it grinds to a halt on the days that England plays.  Yesterday evening (6pm), I was one of 15 people in my gym (only 2 men, both of which were trainers, and simply had to be there)-a time & day in which it's normally packed.  Why?  England played at 7.30pm. 
  • Want to go to your local and have a pint?  Better not on game day.  Especially if said local has a TV.  You're better off to stay at home, as it will be too crowded, noisy, and drunk.
  • A good England fan is delirious with excitement leading up to an England game.  And, then quickly starts to bash the team during a game, the minute something goes wrong.  By the end of the game, a good England fan will be downright despondent at having ever thought England could win anything-nevermind tie a team that truthfully they should have crushed-and are basically ready to dis-avow God and Country.
  • The tube stations become fully staffed with British Police.  In the US, on a major sporting day, we'd see extra cops on the roads to stop drunk drivers.  In London at least, there are extra cops in the tube stations.
  • In the US, as a female, I never thought that anyone (men) was surprised when a female had an intelligent observation to make about a sporting event.  Here, if a female makes an intelligent observation about a sporting event, men treat it as a sign of the second coming-the shocked look on thier faces says it all.  Loves it.
  • I've had more people than I can count ask me if I was pulling for the US or England-particularly during the US/England match last week.  I never once entertained the thought of pulling for anyone other than the US, and can't help but wonder if an expat living in the US would have ever been asked that same question (regardless of their country of origin). 
  • There's just no escaping World Cup Fever.  It's everywhere here:  tv, radio, print, references on tv shows, the Top 20 chart is populated with 'England Fooball' type songs, and even if you're a brand that would never before have associated yourselves with Football (food, beverage, cars, finances, you name it..), suddenly you're mentioning 'England World Cup' in your advertising.  Even as recent as 3 days before the US/England match last week, I struggled to even find one US newspaper (well, online...) in which World Cup was even the front-page story.

I'm sure there are dozens more differences between what's going on with World Cup here in England versus the US, but those are the ones that come to mind off the top of my head.

Anyone else have an observation they'd like to share?  Drop a comment!


  1. I think you missed one point from my experience about English men watching the soon as anything starts going wrong they don't just become despondent, but also become coaches from home, bashing the coach and detailing exactly what they would have done different. URGH!

  2. To the last comment, sounds like SEC football here in America.

  3. As an expat living in the US (I'm from Bermuda) I haven't been asked if I'm pulling for the US. Instead people just ASSUME that I am and are shocked that I'd want to support anyone else. My (American) bf (somewhat) jokingly said that he was ashamed of me when I showed up at our local pub dressed in full red and white (a very tasteful white sundress with a red belt and headband) for the England/US game.

    Although World Cup fever isn't as all-consuming as it is outside of the US, there are definitely pockets of fanaticism. Our local pub (in a midwestern college town) was so packed that they had to stop letting people in because it was a fire hazard for both of the US's games so far. I didn't attend the second game (bar review class), but considering that it was at 9 am on a Friday morning that's definitely a testament to football's (because I refuse to call it soccer) growing popularity here.

  4. @Moni...GOOD STORY! your bf said he was ashamed of you-mine flat out refused to let me go to a pub here when the US was playing England; he was concerned something might happen to me. crazy.

  5. Lol. My bf had written "do not watch with Moni" next to the England/US game on the World Cup schedule before he taped it to the wall! Obviously he relented. :) We we at an Irish pub, so there were other England supporters, but it was still an entirely uncomfortable feeling to be a small minority amongst a very vocal majority. Some of the fans were quite rude about it, talking during the national anthem and booing at times. It didn't help that I was sitting all the way at the front because that was the only seats we could find. It's an experience that I'm not sure I'd want to repeat, to be honest.

  6. luca levanteO_o@hotmail.comJune 22, 2010 at 12:44 AM

    Ahahah it's amazing!!! It's the same attitude we have in Italy but we can not drink so much...normally we are is the rub -.-'

  7. World Cup is always "alone-time" for me, and I'm not accustommed to being alone, lol! I'm an American female who supports both the US and England teams and watches EPL and La Liga. I took vacation time to watch the biggest games, I'm almost as bad as your English men. :) I do have family in the UK I can be obnoxious with, but the only person I have here to share in my World Cup excitement (and defeat) is the Lebanese man who runs the convenience store at the corner of my street. He liked my Leo Messi Barcelona jersey so much he bought his son one.
    It seems other people in Cleveland who watch soccerfootball are hipsters who think its cool and jocks who are just looking for an excuse to drink during the daytime hours.
    I'm also a music-lover and some of my favorite bands are from the UK that no one in America knows. I'll get over that, too. :)
    Keep up the good work, you have a lot of useful information here.

  8. Ahhh World Cup, it was totally a fun experience while it lasted. Me and my friends were snacking in my home whenever there's a match.