Beethoven Halle is one of the busiest gathering places in town when the World Cup comes around once every four years, especially when the U.S. or German national teams play. San Antonian fútbol fans will pack the traditional German beer garden in King William this Thursday when both national sides take the pitch in a high stakes match. Game time is 11 a.m.
Both teams aim to move out of Group Play and into the Round of 16, and each team would like to be ranked first in Group G, or the so-called “Group of Death”, at the end of Thursday’s game. Germany came into the 2014 tournament as Group G’s heavy favorite and at #2 in the FIFA world rankings, a contender to win it all. The U.S. team was considered untested and unlikely to impress.
U.S. team coach Jurgen Klinsmann, a German soccer icon, told the media before the World Cup that his team was not ready to compete against the tournament’s best teams. After a win against Ghana and a heartbreaking tie against Portugal, however, the United States has gained newfound respect as a team to take seriously.
German roots reach deeply in historic King William, but expect a red, white, and blue crowd to loudly beat the drums and cheer in support of the USA. They’ll be rooting on an underdog.
After a disappointing, gut-wrenching draw with Portugal on Sunday, the U.S. team heads into the Thursday’s game with a sense of urgency. A U.S. win was in the bag Sunday, but in the last 30 seconds of the final minute in injury time Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo made a perfect cross that Silvestre Varela headed into the goal, stunning the U.S. side and tens of thousands of U.S. fans in the stadium.
A lot now rides on final Group game. If the U.S. can upset Germany, it will enter the next round as the top team out of Group G. If the U.S. and Germany draw, the U.S. team exits the group for the next round as the second ranked team behind Germany.
If Ghana and Portugal, who also play Thursday at 11 a.m., play to a draw, the U.S. moves forward even if it loses to Germany.
If the U.S. loses and Ghana wins, the U.S. needs a one goal loss to Germany and needs Ghana to score no better than a one goal win to move out of Group. If the U.S. loses and Portugal wins, the U.S. will still move out of Group into the next round unless Portugal somehow makes up the goal differential.
Seats at Beethoven are first come, first serve. Fans can gather at 10 a.m. for pregame festivities. Dressing up for the game is encouraged. There will be costumes and face paint, and for those taking off the day or with very understanding bosses, plenty of beer. If enough members of Beethoven’s volunteer corps show up, food will be served. Plenty of bike parking available. Bring a lock.
During Sunday’s game, people came dressed as Uncle Sam and as cowboys,” said Tobias Klingelhoefer, a member of Beethoven’s marketing and event management team.
Beethoven Maennerchor is a non-profit group in the King William District, created to preserve German culture in Texas, including song, music and language. Through out the year, the hall hosts many great concerts, including Gartenkonzerts, Oktoberfest, Kristkindlmarkt, and various First Friday activities.
Featured/top photo: USA fans at Beethoven Halle cheer after a second goal against Portugal was scored Sunday. Photo by Robert Rivard
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