Godfreygoestoa_b John Godfrey
Direct From Antigua

Antiguan Fans Are Full of Confidence Ahead of WCQ

The locals are geared up for Friday's World Cup qualifier against the United States. And yes, they fully expect their beloved Benna Boys to defeat their neighbors from the north.
BY John Godfrey Posted
October 11, 2012
6:56 AM
ANTIGUA—I haven't spent much time exploring Antiguan sites and landmarks on this trip.

Actually, that's a lie. I haven't spent any time exploring Antiguan sites and landmarks. The beach outside my room is too beautiful, the weather is too perfect, and the water is too inviting. I've beaten a path from my room to the shoreline—with an occasional side trip to the bar—but that's about it.

Despite my somewhat embarrassing lack of exploration, I have had the opportunity to strike up multiple conversations with members of the resort staff. Once they hear that I am in Antigua to cover Friday's World Cup qualifier, they are all anxious to chat.

Keon, a valet, made fun of me for referring to the "soccer" match: "It's football, man!" he said. "You play it with your feet." I gave him that. And I could only agree when he pointed out that Antigua & Barbuda outplayed the U.S. for long stretches in their June encounter in Tampa, Fla. He told me that everybody he knows is planning to attend, and his sister is particularly excited about the contest.

Football is huge here even if cricket is the No. 1 team sport. The game is a sellout. All 10,000 seats are gone, and the island only has about 85,000 residents.

Just now, as I walked back to my room, a landscaper I hadn't seen before smiled and shouted out to me, "Landon Donovan is out! You are going to go down! Get ready to lose!"

When I told him that three other potential U.S. starters were also going to miss the game, he pumped his fist and smiled even wider. The fans here are ready. And they are not the least bit intimidated.

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