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With the Jubilee just over and the Olympics on the horizon, you’d think that L.A.-based Brits might be getting a break from big events – but no, now it’s time for a few early mornings in the pub watching the England soccer team play in the EUFA European cup, which is taking place in Poland and the Ukraine.
Seeded fourth in the tournament, England are in Group D and are the only one of the home nations competing (though the Republic of Ireland is in Group C alongside Spain, Italy and Croatia; no wonder it’s called the “Group of Death”).
Spain are the reigning champions and favorites again this time round, with Germany and Netherlands ranked above England, who are playing longtime rivals France in their first game on Monday, June 11. Currently enjoying a 21-game unbeaten run, the French will be no pushover and England fans will be hoping it will be a good start for new manager Roy Hodgson and his captain, Liverpool midfielder Steven Gerrard.
It’s Hodgson’s first competitive match in charge (save for a 1-0 friendly win over Belgium recently), and with star striker Wayne Rooney suspended for the first two matches and further games against Sweden on Friday June 15 and co-hosts Ukraine on Tuesday June 18, there are no easier matches coming along either.
Should England (or Ireland) progress out of the Qualifying Rounds, the Quarter and Semi-Finals are later in the month (depending on results), with the glittering final taking place on Sunday July 1st. The chances for a Euro win to go alongside the Jubilee and the Olympics?
England are seeded fourth (highly optimistic I think), and do seem to have that amazing ability to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, though with the 2008 World Cup disappointment behind them – and many new players that have broken through – you just never know (though it does always seem to come down to a nerve-shredding penalty shootout).
So, it’s time for Brit soccer fans across the U.S. to be ready to support the Three Lions – the only question being: where? Here in L.A. and surrounding areas, you can be sure that all British pubs will be open for all the games England are playing in (though do call to check first as it’s such an early start). The same applies for any Irish bars, which will probably show the England games as well as any featuring Giovanni Trapattoni’s boys in green (who sadly lost their first game 1-3 to Croatia and now have a Herculean task ahead of them).
In Santa Monica you can guarantee a crowd at Brit pub favorite Ye Olde Kings Head, though if you’re in the Valley you can visit their new sister pub on Ventura Boulevard (which only opened last week and is so new it doesn’t have a website yet!).
Alternatively, if you’re looking for somewhere to escape from the soccer, the Tudor House in Santa Monica is your best – though it won’t be open for much longer. A pub, gift shop and restaurant/tearoom that has been open for 50 years, it recently – suddenly – announced its closure (due to happen at the end of June).
It was quite a surprise, and a statement on their website noted rising rents and said that: “Unfortunately the recession became the beginning of the end. We made every effort to help Tudor House sustain itself including opening for dinner but were unsuccessful in this endeavor.”
So the EUFA European Cup will celebrate the end and the beginning of two Brit landmarks in L.A. – but soccer fans will still say: Come on England!
Where are you watching Euro Cup 2012?
See more posts by James Bartlett
James Bartlett writes about travel, film and the weird and wonderful side of living in L.A. He has been published in over 90 magazines and newspapers including the Los Angeles Times, the LA Weekly, Los Angeles Magazine, Angeleno, Hemispheres, Delta Sky, Westways, Variety and Bizarre. He is also a contributor to BBC radio and RTE in Ireland, and is the author of Gourmet Ghosts - Los Angeles, a "history and mystery" guide to bars and restaurants in L.A. - details can be found at www.gourmetghosts.com.