World Cup: Local Germany fans see hopes die in loss to Spain

HOLMES BEACH — Maria and Richard Eurice brought a large German flag to the Old Hamburg Schnitzelhaus for the World Cup semifinal game between Germany and Spain.

They hoped to unfurl it should Germany score Wednesday or, even better, win the match.

While there was hope in the East Bay Drive restaurant packed mostly with German fans, there was also acknowledgement that Spain had a very good team.

“I’m nervous,” Maria Eurice admitted during the second half.

A few tables away, Tina Rudek, a Realtor with Engel & Volkers Longboat Key Realty, tried to bring Germany a little luck by doing something that had worked in the past: She left early.

But no amount of wishing or folk superstition worked for the Germans.

“They’re tough,” Richard Eurice said of the Spanish side.

The Eurice’s son-in-law, Anthony Garcia, was mostly noncommittal during the match.

“I can assure you I’m the only one in the restaurant rooting for Spain,” Garcia said. “But I’m drinking German beer.”

When it was all over, and Spain had claimed a 1-0 victory, Garcia received a hug from Maria, a handshake from Richard, and the German flag stayed folded on the table.

Wolfgang Jahn, the proprietor of Old Hamburg, and a native of Wurzburg, wore “Deutschland 7” on his jersey. He was philosophical after the match.

“I am disappointed, but you cannot win all the time. The better team won. The better team, today,” Jahn said.

Chris Zoller said his preference would have been for the United States to win, but with his German heritage, his plan B was for the Germans to win.

“We’re an old German family. It still hurts,” Zoller said.

Maria Eurice understands, being a native of Germany, but living in the United States since 1972.

“Soccer is the number-one sport over there. My brother grew up in it. That’s what you do in Germany,” she said.

James A. Jones Jr., East Manatee Editor, can be contacted at 745-7021.