My World Cup Story: Reuniting with the Portuguese Tupac
This is the first in a series of reader-submitted stories about World Cup adventures and traditions. Click here to submit your own.
By Matt Kenemer, Portland:
In 2002 a group of us went to South Korea to watch the USA play in the World Cup. The night before the USA-Portugal game, the six of us went to Itaewon area of Seoul to have some Korean beverages and watch the Poland-South Korea game at a bar.
A group of Portuguese supporters came up to us and started samba dancing, and talking trash about how Portugal would take it easy on the USMNT and not beat them too badly the next day. After exchanging a few American swear words with the guys from Portugal, we went on our way, thinking they were probably right. Well, we all know the result from the game. (Greatest USA game ever!!!)
While celebrating our victory outside the stadium, up walked a few of the Portuguese guys from the previous night. We started chanting and singing to them. Then we made them take pictures holding our USA scarves before they went on their way.
Turn the clock forward four years to Germany 2006. I was sitting with friends in the outdoor seating area of an Irish bar across from the Frankfurt central station. We were watching the Brits drink all the beer in Germany when a group of Portuguese supporters walked past our group. I looked at them and said, "No way! " It was the guy from our photos in South Korea four years earlier.
I walked up to him and said, "Do you remember me?" He recognized me instantly. We spoke for a few minutes and laughed about our time in Korea. His name is Tupac. We took pictures and exchanged emails. Tupac told me he had planned on staying in South Korea for the duration of the 2002 World Cup, but flew back to Portugal the day after the USA win. Go USA!