ST. LOUIS – World Cup 2022 is underway in Qatar as the host country faced Ecuador in the opening match on Sunday.
It’s eight hours later in Qatar, so soccer fans in St. Louis began celebrating the kickoff at 10 a.m., with Amsterdam Tavern opening its doors an hour before the match.
Some fans from Ecuador were at the tavern to cheer on their countrymen, who ended up winning the game, 2-0.
“This was an opportunity for us to come over here and show that we are here,” Roberto Brandon said. “Why Amsterdam? Because it’s the soccer bar in St. Louis. We’ve been coming over here, at least for me, for the last eight years. Every single Ecuador game or Barcelona game, we’re always here.”
While Brandon and his family and friends played music and cheered in beer garden outside, hundreds of people packed the bar inside too. Jamie McGeechan is from Scotland originally.
“I’ve been living in St. Louis for three years now,” McGeechan said.
St. Louis native John Flotken was having a great time too.
“I just wanted to be among other soccer lovers, or what’s called fútbol in other countries, and I wanted to be around all the fans today,” he said.
Amsterdam general manager Billy Holley is expecting more business throughout the monthlong tournament.
“If you could see the amount of beer we got in Thursday, it fills up like three basements of just beer,” Holley said.
Speaking of beer, the World Cup is shaping up to be one of the most controversial sporting events in history. In a last-minute reversal, FIFA announced Friday beer sales would be banned at the tournament’s eight stadiums. Budweiser has spent millions of dollars importing product, which will now just be sitting around. They’ve been a sponsor of the World Cup since 1986.
“I support beer 100%. I work for Anheuser Busch,” Matt McCauley said. “I think it’s totally not fair.”
Flotken added, “I would say that the people in the Amsterdam are doing their best to make up for whatever’s not being drunk in Qatar today.”
Team USA will play Wales on Monday and England on Friday. For that game, Amsterdam Tavern will close down the street outside the business on 3175 Morgan Ford Road in anticipation of even more fans showing up to watch the game at the European-style sports bar.
“It’s gonna be a major, major event for us,” bartender Josh Shipman said.
The World Cup is projected to be watched by five-billion people around the globe.