Thousands expected for World Cup viewing parties

Dolores Park event joins North Beach, Belden Place as prime soccer spots

Jens-Peter Jungclaussen kept waiting for someone to organize a big party for Sunday’s World Cup final.

But with the event fast approaching and nothing planned, the 37-year-old German native decided to take matters into his own hands — in a big way.

Jungclaussen has spent $17,000 -— half of it his own, half from grants from the German Chamber of Commerce and Consulate — to turn Dolores Park into a huge celebration of soccer on Sunday. A 9 ft. by 13 ft. television will hang from a crane, with food and drinks for sale and two DJ’s performing at the conclusion of the 11 a.m. match between France and Italy.

“In Germany there are thousands of people dancing and partying for free for each match,” Jungclaussen said of the tournament’s host country. “I thought that’s something that should be happening here, too.”

Jungclaussen’s party is open to all, and will last from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m., with approximately 2,000 people anticipated to attend. It may be the largest single event planned around The City for the culmination of the monthlong Cup, but it is far from the only place certain to draw a crowd.

In North Beach, thousands of Italian supporters are expected to gather in support of the Azzurri, congregating in bars and café’s all along Columbus Avenue. More than 2,000 flooded the street in celebration after Italy knocked the host Germans out of the tournament 2-0 Tuesday to reach the final, with restaurants like Panta Rei and Steps of Rome getting just as many fans watching the game from the sidewalks as from seats inside.

According to Lt. Robert Moser, the SFPD will deploy a few more officers than usual to try to keep the crowds on the sidewalks. But a win for the Italians will certainly set off a wild celebration in North Beach.

“We’ve gotten about 100 phone calls in the past few days asking for reservations,” said Meghan Maloney, who does sales at Steps of Rome. “We expect it will be absolutely crazy.”

French fans will likely be found on Belden Place, an alley in the Financial District. Café Bastille, a prime Gallic gathering place, is usually closed on Sundays and will not serve food or drinks for the final, but it will have a giant TV set up outside for the anticipated throng.

“We expect it to be like another Bastille Day,” Café Bastille Manager Stephane Gioe said. “Everyone has been getting totally hysterical throughout the tournament.”

melliser@examiner.com

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