By Alex Labidou

During the World Cup Group Stages, 90:00 Soccer will take a look at various cultures and their takes on the major tournament through visiting various venues locally. There will be hilarious tales and interesting insight. Enjoy!

Paley Media Center(New York City) (Neutral), South Africa 1, Mexico 1

Joining the South African Consulate for their viewing of the World Cup’s opening match at the Paley Media Center, I didn’t know what to expect. After all, it is a prestigious group to watch a football match with and not being careful in what you mutter out during a game might not be in your best interests. To my pleasant surprise, there was a very festive atmosphere at the games. Almost everyone in attendance was decked out in yellow and yes the vuvuzelas made from South Africa as well (I contemplated Van Goghing myself several times during the match).  The Paley Media Center had a great movie style set up for its games and will be showcasing every one of the World Cup matches. While drinks were missing in action and would have been greatly appreciated especially after Mexico equalized and the Bafana Bafana missed probably the easiest game winning shot in recent memory, it is a good FREE venue to enjoy the games.

Strengths: Movie theatre atmosphere, beautiful high quality screen that is normally used for HBO television show debuts.  A FREE place to watch the games.

Weaknesses: Football matches are supposed to be watched with heart clogging food in one hand and some beer in the other, unless of course you’re attending a match in England, then….

Over The Top Soccer Fan: Won’t name names but whoever the guy was who kept on screaming Bofana Bofana and playing his vuvuzelas every 20 seconds deserves a place in purgatory. There he and his constantly random chants can go on and on and on….

Opia (NYC) (French), France 0, Uruguay 0

Even though I just recently returned from the land of escargots and brie, my fondness of Paris made me decide towards a French venue to watch France vs. Uruguay. There I could share in the misery that is French head coach Raymond Domenech and his “brilliant” decision to start Sidney Govou, a career Lyon winger, over Thierry Henry, arguably one of the greatest finishers of all time. The chic restaurant definitely attracted eye candy for both women and men and superstar French musician and former athlete Yannick Noah made an appearance. Yet in an early game where there are so many venues that are offering discounted meals and drinks, the prices were extreme and the mature vibe might turn off many who are just trying to kick back and watch a match.

Strengths: Appetizing looking food and people, sophisticated.

Weaknesses: It’s called a game for a reason, the last thing I want to do while getting hype about a football match is listen to Sade’s ‘Is It A Crime.’ I love Sade but not before a football match. Considering all of the deals out there to watch the World Cup, the venue is very expensive and the owners mentioned that their World Cup menu is discounted.

Over The Top Soccer Fan: Ironically enough, Yannick Noah. He had a weird whistle that went off every two minutes in which he would look around and shout, “Pour l’ambiance!”

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