World Cup kicks off today; several Steamboat venues airing games

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Path to the Cup

The 2010 FIFA World Cup starts today and continues through July 11 in South Africa.

Each of the 32 teams is in one of eight groups of four teams each. The first two weeks of the World Cup is group play, after which the top two teams in each group advance into a single-elimination tournament that culminates in the July 11 final. The United States is in Group C, which also includes England, Algeria and Slovenia.

All games will be aired live on ESPN, ESPN2 or ABC. Broadcast times in the mountain time zone are in the morning or early afternoon.

The United States has group-play matches at 12:30 p.m. mountain time Saturday against England, at 8 a.m. June 18 against Slovenia and at 8 a.m. June 23 against Algeria.

Where to watch

Several local venues will be open for World Cup games.

Amante Coffee, 685 Marketplace Plaza, 970-871-8999

Open at 6:30 a.m. seven days a week.

Will air most World Cup games.

Specials on coffee and alcoholic drinks during games

Rex’s American Grill & Bar, 3190 S. Lincoln Ave., 970-870-0438

Opens at 7 a.m. seven days a week

The Powder Room, 1865 Ski Time Square Drive, 970-879-6839

Opening at 8 a.m. Saturday for Argentina vs. Nigeria, then U.S. vs. England.

Cost of $10 includes a slice of Blue Sage pizza and an alcoholic drink for those 21 and older.

Will open early for all U.S. games. To request opening for other games, call the lounge or e-mail owner Scott Agnew at scott@thepowderroomlounge.com.

The Steamboat Smokehouse, 912 Lincoln Ave., 970-879-7427

The Smokehouse plans to show World Cup games on its televisions.

The Tap House Sports Grill, 729 Lincoln Ave., 970-879-2431

Opening at 8 a.m. Friday and Saturday and serving breakfast.

Call in advance with large groups or with inquiries about games after this weekend.

Is your business or group hosting World Cup viewing events that aren’t listed here? Let us know by e-mailing city editor Blythe Terrell at bterrell@steamboa... or calling 970-871-4234.

— Robin Craigen will be cheering for two teams in the same soccer game Saturday when the United States begins its 2010 World Cup campaign against England.

Craigen came to Steamboat Springs in 1998 and is a native of Hampshire, England. He acknowledged Thursday that he has conflicting emotions about Saturday’s match, which starts at 12:30 p.m. mountain time on the second day of the World Cup.

The international soccer tournament, which happens every four years and is the most-watched sporting event in the world, starts today and continues through July 11 in South Africa.

“Obviously, I can’t lose, can I?” Craigen said about the United States vs. England. Several local venues will show the broadcast, which will air live on ABC.

“I think it would be the greatest thing for the U.S. to have success in the World Cup … but if England were to put it to them, I’d also have a smile on my face,” Craigen said.

The 2010 FIFA World Cup starts at 8 a.m. mountain time today, when the host nation of South Africa takes on Mexico in Johannesburg. All World Cup games will be broadcast live on ESPN, ESPN2 or ABC.

Steamboat Springs High School soccer coach Rob Bohlmann said he’d be in Boulder this weekend at a tournament with the girls team. Next weekend, the high school boys have a tournament in Boulder. Bohlmann said they’d be scouting for places to watch the World Cup.

“Throughout the monthlong tournament, we’ll be getting together,” he said about local young players. “It’s exciting. … We were just putting our brackets together.”

Bohlmann said it’s tough to pick a winner this year.

“I really think it’s wide open,” he said. “Eventually, I had Spain winning it all.”

Local soccer fans who want to watch the games with a crowd have several options.

Amante Coffee owner Brent Langevin said the cafe in Wildhorse Marketplace plans to air nearly every World Cup game — some start before Amante opens — with specials on coffee and alcoholic drinks during games.

Amante opens at 6:30 a.m. seven days a week.

Rex’s American Grill & Bar, adjoining the Holiday Inn on U.S. Highway 40, opens at 7 a.m. daily. Bartender Whitney Chandler said they plan to show the games.

The Powder Room on Ski Time Square Drive opens at 8 a.m. Saturday and plans to open early for all U.S. games. The $10 cost includes a slice of pizza and an alcoholic drink for those 21 and older, owner Scott Agnew said.

At The Tap House Sports Grill downtown, co-owner Gary Saxe said they’re opening at 8 a.m. Friday and Saturday, will be serving breakfast, and are taking requests for large groups and early openings for future games.

Tatiana Achcar, of Integrated Community, said the World Cup is a unique way to bring people and cultures together.

“Soccer, futbol, is, I would say, the most worldly of all sports,” Achcar said. “It gets people to engage with one another.”

She said Inte­grated Commu­nity is working on a few ideas for local World Cup viewing celebrations and is open to suggestions. Call 970-871-4599 with ideas or to help.

“The idea with wanting to collaborate with the World Cup and promote it is to get people to share the experience and passion for soccer,” she said.

That passion can lead to pain.

Craigen ruefully noted Eng­land’s long history of World Cup disappointments. The Three Lions haven’t won soccer’s biggest tournament since 1966.

“We have some of the best players in the world, (but) it seems like when we come to the big stage, we fall on our faces,” Craigen said.

He said anything could happen in the World Cup.

Even a long shot like the United States has a chance — a year ago, the United States pulled off a shocking upset by defeating powerhouse Spain, 2-0, in a Con­fed­erations Cup semifinal.

Still, a win — or even a draw — for the United States against England on Saturday would surprise many.

“I’ve heard all kinds of big talk from both sides about what’s going to happen on Saturday,” Craigen said. “It’s time for the U.S. to show up.”

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