World Cup gives U.S. a new national holiday

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(CNN) — It was still breakfast time Thursday when the unnamed World Cup fan from suburban New York gulped down a cold beer at Jack Demsey’s Pub in midtown Manhattan, New York.

“I actually got out of work with a concussion,” he said.

For many early risers on the day the United States soccer squad faced mighty Germany in the globe’s biggest sporting spectacle, the breakfast of champions included pints of stout, ale and cider, fireball shot specials and spicy chicken wings.

A year of method acting helped the superfan with his concussion charade, as did a “real doctor’s note from a real doctor,” he said.

“I had to be off for two weeks, and I couldn’t think or do anything,” he told CNN on Thursday. “I put that (method acting) to use as a diehard soccer fan.”

Throughout the country — from outdoor viewing events in the nation’s capital, New York and Chicago, to office lunch parties and crowded bars — Thursday, June 26, 2014, became a national holiday of sorts. Meetings were canceled. Students played hooky. Doctors’ letters were forged. Some bosses just gave up and put on the game.

On Sunday, 20,000 people showed up for the World Cup watch party at Chicago’s Grant Park for the USA-Portugal match, CNN affiliate WBBM reported. Thursday’s crowd, which was expected to be bigger than Sunday’s, turned out to be 5,000.

For 90-some minutes starting at noon Thursday, most of America seemed to stopped. At halftime, neither Team USA nor Germany had scored.

But that didn’t seem to matter. As the superfan from Long Island, New York, put it, his real affliction was not a concussion.

“The only thing I had was soccer fever, and the only prescription is more soccer,” he said. “When we win, it is the greatest feeling in the world. It’s one of the rare sports that really shows the patriotism that is America.”

It also didn’t matter that the two teams have met nine times and that Germany won six of those times. Or that Germany has won its third game in the last seven World Cups.
By Ray Sanchez

CNN’s Richard Roth, Chris Welch, Brian Vitagliano, Elizabeth Landers and Marisa Marcellino contributed to this report.

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