North Texas Daily

Students, soccer fans gather for rowdy Euro 2012 watching parties

Students, soccer fans gather for rowdy Euro 2012 watching parties

June 21
12:15 2012

Jason Yang / Intern

It was just another possession.

Spain forward David Silva executed a give-and-go with midfielder Andres Iniesta after intercepting from Ireland defender Sean St. Ledger, and threaded a perfect pass through two defenders to forward Fernando Torres. Torres, now one-on-one against the keeper, withstood the defender’s pressure and nailed it to the right corner of the net.

As Torres ran toward the left post to celebrate, the crowd at Riprock’s exploded. Thunderous claps and ringing cheers resonated within the small bar. Robert Moreno, a UNT graduate who dons a Euro 2008 Spain jersey, animatedly started high fiving his friend AJ Bibernardo and the people around him.

“The crowd here is easy to talk to,” UNT senior Chris Ramvonnet said. “It’s the place if you just want to watch the game and relax.”

Ramvonnet, Moreno, Bibernardo and their friends are local soccer fans who have watched almost every minute of Euro 2012 – the European version of the World Cup – at Riprock’s Bar and Grill on Fry Street.

The crowd includes soccer enthusiasts, students and Denton residents unwittingly caught up in the excitement.

Despite the group’s unfamiliarity with each other, Euro 2012 has formed an unspoken bond between them: Everyone woos and wows at exciting plays simultaneously, respect each other’s opinions and discuss previous games as if they were friends for years.

“This is only the group stage,” Bibernardo said. “Just wait till the elimination rounds.”

If Riprock’s smoky atmosphere and drink specials aren’t your cup of tea, UNT’s Syndicate lounge in the Union hosts official Euro 2012 viewing parties. Although the crowd isn’t as rowdy and loud as the crew at Riprock’s, Allen Joiner, an assistant in the Syndicate said he still hears the crowd cheering from hundreds of feet away in the Union.

“I recommend it,” geography senior Awkwame Owusu said. “Especially during crucial games.”

Allen said the viewing party generally has a good turnout, particularly among international students.

Riprock’s and the Syndicate also host acclaimed soccer games such as Champions League and formidable league finals such as Barcelona versus Real Madrid. Owusu said the bigger the match, the bigger and rowdier the crowd gets.

Euro 2012 enters the elimination round Thursday at 1:45 p.m. with the Czech Republic facing Portugal. The competition ends Sunday, July 1.

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