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The Phoenix is by far the best place in SF to watch football. Forget Bruno's -- the waitresses are still nice and the food is still good, but the yuppies that turned up for US vs. UK could curdle custard. But The Phoenix? During the Brazil match, Brazillians turned up to cheer with their musical instruments, even the littlest ones, improvising songs and chants whenever their team needed it. We sat right next to their drums, grinning and listening in. Brazil vs. North Korea was a good game, the kind of game that reaffirms why the World Cup is awesome. North Korea put up a noble defense. They held off Brazil admirably for the first half, and the goal Ji Yun-Nam scored in the final minutes was outright heroic. North Korea scored against Brazil, at least once, and they bloody well deserved it. The bar cheered for that. This makes that day cool.

I like the Brazillian team this year; good cohesion, the promising younger players who showed up in 2006 are now the mainstays of the present team, nice sportsmanship -- surprisingly no dramatics. When the Brazillians play a good game, even watching them passing the ball is fun. They still play a good offense as their best defense, but they do it so well, I think it hardly matters for the most part. Maicon's goal was epic. Such a small space at such a narrow angle. They'll be talking about that for a while. When Elano scored next,with a set up by Robinho, it was icing on the cake -- good long pass, went right in. I was proud and happy I got to watch that game in the crowd that I did. The Brazillians with us were just the most cheerful soccer fans I'd ever seen. They weren't disruptive or obnoxious. If anything, the joy they brought to the game was infectious.

Today, there was South Africa vs. Uruguay. A whole different kettle of fish. Watched it at The Phoenix too, to the tune of a different crowd. Uruguay played a truly boring game against France earlier this week. South Africa did good by being the first team to score a goal this World Cup around, as well it should. We showed up during the second half, knowing that Uruguay had already scored a goal. I hated the Uruguayian side in minutes. All that falling over and rolling about was shameful. The contact that got Khune a red card was just harsh. Stupid, shamefully harsh. Not because a reprimand was the wrong thing to do (contact did happen), but the resultant fall from Suarez grazing his foot on Khune's was more drama than that situation demanded. When the red card was shown, people at the bar were moaning in pain. Uruguay did not deserve the next goal they had, a direct result of the red card. They barely deserved the goal they got in the closing minutes after that. The Phoenix was silent. People were angry. The small Uruguayian contingent by the entrance cheered in the most obnoxious fashion imaginable. People gave them dirty looks all two goals of the second half.

I'm kind of tempted to go watch South Korea vs. Argentina tomorrow, though I'm not entirely sure what matches to watch from here on out. I do kind of want to see the remaining South African match for the opening round. Brazil vs. Côte d'Ivoire could be a lot of fun. I remember Côte d'Ivoire being one of the surprisingly good watches from 2006, but it's the last match on Saturday morning, and we'd have to fight for seats at the bar 1 or 2 hours in advance just to get in. Going to have to see if my determination's up for that.