Monday, June 21, 2010
June 21: Spain vs. Honduras
By Ian Begley
Ian Begley is live at La Nacional Tapas Bar on W. 14th Street.
4:25 p.m.: A quick Ole' chant and a few high fives exchanged as the crowd files out after Spain's 2-0 win. I'm off to download some video. See you Wednesday for the U.S.-Algeria game.
4:20 p.m.: One fan booed loudly when the camera panned to coach Vincente del Bosque. The federation president had to guarantee that coach Vincente del Bosque's job is safe after the loss to Switzerland. The coach's job was on the line today. It's like Steinbrenner is running the show.
4:15 p.m.:No longer screaming after every miss, the Spain fans seem to be content with their team up, 2-0.
4:15 p.m.: Manager Robert is kind enough to offer me a nice cold Estrella, which seems to be the beer of choice here. He looks at me like I have two heads when I tell him I can't accept.
4:05 p.m.: Polite applause for Real Madrid's Sergio Ramos, who comes off with Spain up, 2-0.
3:45 p.m. : Alfredo just showed up upstairs here in an Italy jersey. Why would an Italian fan come to a Spanish restuarant to root for a rival? "I hate Brazil and I want Spain to beat Brazil in the next round." I guess Dunga's boys inspire hate across the globe.
3:40 p.m.: "Villa, Villa, Villa, Villa Mara Villa!!!" is all you could hear here after Villa's second goal.
3:30 p.m.: Just talked to the camera guy from Telemundo. Even he is downtrodden after the first half. He says the network has been here for any big Spain games becuase this is a known hangout for fans of La Furija.
3:20 p.m.: Alex is one of the few guys here in a shirt and tie. Frankly, he's one of the few white guys here. He says he's married to a Spanish family and came to La Nacional today to be with his "compatriotas."
3:15 p.m.: I haven't heard any Spanish cheers thus far, just fits of shouts and groans from the fans here. Who can blame them? Spain's attack has mostly been a big tease, the soccer equivalent of striking out with men on base.
3:00 p.m.: I must be in the right place -- a crew from Telemundo just showed up.
2:55 p.m.: This crowd sees all of Spain's chances early on and smells blood. Some guy in a Torres shirt nearly lost his sangria after that missed header moments ago.
2:50 p.m.: Spain's loss to Switzerland last week was its first defeat in 23 games and just the second in its last 49. So that beautiful Villa goal brought a mixed reaction of joy and relief from La Nacional patrons.
2:45 p.m.: Near miss on a Ramos header brought a pained look to my buddy Dave's face. His allegiance is split between the U.S. and Spain. He decided to come here for the cultural experience. Good call, because it feels like a mini Madrid right here in Manhattan right now.
2:40 p.m.: This place was ready to explode when Villa's shot hit the cross bar in the sixth minute.
2:35 p.m.: Big cheers from the crowd upstairs as we get going. If there's a Honduras fan here, I haven't found him or her yet. It's a sea of Roja.
2:25 p.m.: There are two levels at La Nacional. Downstairs features a bar and restaurant and upstairs there is an open space with chairs, tables and a large projection screen. Plenty of Estrella Galicia flowing in the second-floor hangout.
2:25 p.m.: La Nacional Tapas manager Robert says the restaurant didn't draw a big crowd for the Spain-Switzerland game because "it was at 10 a.m. and the Spanish people don't get up that early." But he's expecting more today and said there were 200 people waiting outside for the UEFA Championship game.
2:10 p.m.: La Nacional Tapas has been around since the 1860s. It served as headquarters for the Spanish Benevolent Society. The SRO crowd here won't be happy if Spain doesn't bounce back from a dissapointing loss to Switzerland with anything less than a win.