Richmond pub comes alive as World Cup fans celebrate USA victory
RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - The US Men’s National Team kicked it into high gear as they faced a win-or-go-home situation against Iran in the FIFA 2022 World Cup.
The team claimed a 1-0 victory over Iran, locking in a spot in the round of 16. This victory had fans cheering from Qatar to Penny Lane Pub in Richmond.
“I’ve been a fan since May 21st, 1992, the day I was born,” Team USA fan Giovanni Garcia said.
At Penny Lane Pub, the World Cup is their Super Bowl. They open daily at 8 a.m., so folks can come in early and watch the games.
“We’ve been full for an hour before kickoff, and there’s still a lot of people trying to get in,” Owner Terry O’Neill said.
O’Neill is the heart of the pub. He moved to Richmond from Liverpool decades ago.
“They wouldn’t let me be King, so I came over here. John Wayne can’t live forever,” he said jokingly.
O’Neill says many new faces have flooded the pub this week to cheer on Team USA. He likes to give the first-timers a hard time.
“Where have you been all your life? We’ve been here 60-odd years,” O’Neill said. “I say to them, ‘Where are you from? Mars or Short Pump?’”
Everyone was decked out in their jerseys and soccer scarves, some even wearing flags on their backs.
Garcia says Penny Lane has become a unifying spot for fans of all nationalities.
“Great vibe, anytime you come in here, it doesn’t matter what team you’re rooting for, you’re going to have a great atmosphere,” Garcia said. “Best place in Richmond to watch futbol.”
Even some VCU club soccer players got in on the fun between classes!
“People have been telling us that Penny Lane is the spot for all soccer fans, so we’re really excited,” Lucas Elder said. “As a USA fan, it’s been 8 years, so it’s really exciting for us.”
As for what’s next for Team USA, they’re back in action, taking on the Netherlands this Saturday with a chance to get to the quarterfinals for the first time since 2002.
One US Men’s National Team player has a tie to Richmond. Goalie Matt Turner started his professional club career with the Richmond Kickers in 2016, where he spent two seasons.
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