PANAJI: The young, middle aged and old were out, in large numbers, on Sunday evening to watch the finals of the FIFA World Cup in Moscow live on the big screen in restaurants, pubs and clubs all over Goa. The final managed the largest gathering of people.
With Portugal, Brazil and Argentina out many rooted for Croatia while foreigners in the coastal belt were split in their support to France and Croatia. Two goals in half an hour witnessed moans and groans and steady business to bars as customers kept ordering in with through emotions of ecstasy and shock.
“The crowd response is unbelievable today and was fantastic right through the World Cup,” said Cedric Vaz , partner of a restaurant in the city that was packed. “ I think the World Cup has helped us establish our restaurant. We have now the official supporters of FC Barcelona and will be screening all Barcelona games live,” stated Edwin Menezes, Cedric’s partner.
“Tourists from England leave by the end of March. That is why we did not have many English guests. However, the Russians cam in big numbers especially for the late night matches. There are Russians even today but the number of foreigners has been the highest of this world cup,” stated Steve D’souza, proprietor of two restaurants in the coastal belts in the north.
“Football has a strange way of bonding people. We have had customers who have no link to football now coming to the restaurant to watch matches. I think this is the magic of the World Cup,” stated Cedric.
“I have been screening world cup matches since the last twelve years and think that the enthusiasm when Portugal or Brazil play is different. The emotions are different. France scored first today and Croatia equalized and the reaction was similar. I think the cheers were because goals were scored. Which team scored did not really matter. My clients today have come to have a good time,” stated Steve.
“It is the tradition of our family to normally meet for the World Cup finals. This year it has been special for us because all have been able to meet. Normally with games being held in the early hours of the morning the women and children were unable to join us. Today we are all together and the club has never got so many people together for a football match,” stated Soares member of a club in Margao.