World Cup Watch

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Well, the real story here is, World Cup fever has completely taken over Austin. Every bar and restaurant with a television has it tuned in to Brazil, and there are crowds watching. So this list could be 10 times this long, and still not cover everyone. That said, here's an offering of some of Austin's best places to watch fútbol.

Bar 96 (96 Rainey) is a casual sports bar with lots of serious fans.

Blackfinn Ameri-pub (11410 Century Oaks Terrace, Domain) is accepting viewing party reservations.

Black Sheep Lodge (2108 S. Lamar) and Hay­mak­er (2310 Manor Rd.) both have beer specials for selected teams playing that day.

Champions Sports Bar (300 E. Fourth) has $4 import beers, a full menu, and the volume up.

El Sol y la Luna (E. Sixth) is showing games en español.

Fadó Irish Pub & Restaurant (214 W. Fourth) Austin's primary soccer pub will no doubt be a madhouse.

Holy Mountain (607 E. Seventh) promises trivia contests, drink specials, and more, plus excessive fútbol fanaticism (selected games only).

Lavaca Street Bar (405 Lavaca) will offer $12 domestic buckets throughout the tournament.

Liberty Tavern (Austin Hilton, 500 E. Fourth) Austin Men's Soccer Assoc. player cards get 10% off.

Midway Field House (2015 E. Riverside) is the former Antone's space on East Riverside, near Emo's, now redone as a sports bar.

Mister Tramps (8565 Research) is showing all the games – with sound – plus drink specials, etc.

Mohawk (912 Red River) shows the games on TVs and a projector, with live production sound. Plus "Original Cocktails + Food by Frank." Austin Coed Soccer Assoc. player cards get a discount.

Mr. Natural (1901 E. Cesar Chavez) is showing games en español.

Nomad Bar (1212 Corona) is a cozy neighborhood bar off Cameron Road, with big-screen TVs, beer specials, and all-day happy hours on Sunday.

The North Door (502 Brushy) is projecting games on the 25-foot HD screen in the main room, and in the lounge – "an air-conditioned haven for soccer fans to take in all the action," plus drink specials and pizzas.

Opal Divine's Freehouse (3601 S. Congress) has drink specials, and a terrific whiskey selection, in case things go horribly wrong for your team.

Sherlock's Pub (9012 Research) and Baker Street Pub (3003 S. Lamar) claim "the longest happy hour in Austin," and will be open for all games.

The Tavern (922 W. 12th), home pub for Austin Aztex supporters, has big-screen TVs every­where you look.

Vulcan Gas Company (418 E. Sixth) will be showing the final on a 9-by-16-foot HD screen, with drink specials, plus food from P. Terry's catering truck.

Finals Preview

With the exception of the astonishing Germany-Brazil game, the quarterfinals and semifinals have been cagey, low-scoring affairs. Saturday's third-place game, at least, should be more wide-open.

Third Place: Brazil-Netherlands (3pm, Saturday)
What to say about the 1-7 fiasco for Brazil? It was a more complete and total team meltdown than anyone can recall seeing at this level, and it's hard to see where the Brazilians will find a spark – either in the squad or in the mood of a nation that seems to have pretty much given up on them – to produce much in this (shudder) consolation game. The return of captain Thiago Silva may bring some order to the defense; if not, Holland has just the kind of attacking team that could hang another seven goals on them. This veteran Dutch team has been a delight to watch; certainly they'll feel they deserved better, after being on the front foot against Argentina for most of their semifinal.

Championship: Germany-Argentina (2pm, Sunday)
The 7-1 over Brazil, plus an extra day's rest, have to make Germany the favorite here, to become the first European team to win a World Cup in the New World. But it's unclear how much they can take from that game, so easily did they pick apart the defense and find passing lanes. Argentina will be a harder nut to crack. So far, they've played only just well enough to win. But they have the organization defensively to frustrate Germany, and attackers who can open up the suspect, but largely untested, German back line and expose Manuel Neuer, who's still probably the best goalie in the world. Hope for an early goal, that would open up play considerably. For Brazilians, of course, their worst fear is seeing their hated rivals celebrating on their home field.

See you at the Austin Aztex game, Friday at House Park (see this week's "Soccer Watch").

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