I bike all through the west end looking for the Ukraine game. I pass young men on the sidewalk looking for the same "We don't want any old bar - we want something Ukrainian."
It takes directions from the Ukrainian Social Service Agency at Jane and Bloor to point me toward the Golden Lion, a banquet hall in south Etobicoke. I'm riding all along the Queensway hoping for a sign; police officers, construction workers can't tell me where to find the game (they do happily recommend the Lancaster strip club however).
Finally I hit paydirt at Canmotor road just past Royal York: it's the Golden Lion, and yellowy blue is waving.
Ukraine is destroyed 4-0 by an incredible Spanish attack. The perogies (only $5 for about 15) make up for it.
It takes 24 subway stops to get from Royal York to Coxwell, for Tunisia v Saudi Arabia. Every station on the Bloor Line looks identical. Not much fun. Until Zanta hops on at Runnymede and tells me how famous he is. I nod in agreement and delightedly take photos. But he's off again at Keele and leaves me chuckling and the rest of the staid T-dot commuters barely stifling their smiles.
Djerba la Douce is owned by Abdul, who has been on CBC a lot recently - first he opened the only Tunisian restaurant in the city (although he proudly points out that Djerba is an island off the coast, so he's not a mainlander), and now his countrymen take on the football world. At first I'm the only one watching, but curious reporters begin trickling in, followed by a half-dozen actual fans. The CBC capture me pouring a mint tea as though I were dyed in the wool Djerbescu.
Tunisia plays well before the half, but the Saudis turn it on in the final 45 and take a 2-1 lead. It looks bleak, but with minutes left Abdul rejoices as his boys tie it up and the match ends 2-2. Abdul shakes his head - Tunisia got lucky.
I finally make it inside the Goethe Institute, where 'The Wall' has crumbled and the match shows to all on the beautiful big screen. I only watch 10 minutes before the half ends, and then I'm off to SportChek to buy my brother an Italy jersey for his birthday (Happy 30th, CJT!). Germany wins 1-0 over Poland but I don't care - I've already been alienated.