It has also been an occasion for great social events -- as I keep calling the World Cup in the USA: at the very least, a quadrennial party.
Local legend Ron Swoboda came back to town for some events with the Mets, and happened into a private birthday celebration for Carmela Lamorgese, one of the three DeBenedettis sisters who run Mama's in Corona, not far from the Mets' ballpark.
Italy's first-round matches always induce considerable ansia and this one was no different. The match was scoreless for 35 minutes, but then Marie DeBenedettis, who also cooked much of the meal, decided to use a house special of lowering the lights in the back room to change the flow of the match. Zip. Italy scored, and went on to a 2-1 victory.
Mama's is not doing public viewing of the World Cup, but the meal we enjoyed can be replicated, Tuesday-Saturday. Ron lives in New Orleans now -- and was impressed with the cucina at Mama's.
The highlight for my wife Marianne was to meet Kornacki's father and sister, and her weekend hero in person.
Isn't soccer wonderful?