World Cup victory party in Naperville: 'It's heaven'
The mugs of Guinness were full Sunday morning at Quigley's Irish Pub in Naperville before the start of the Women's World Cup Final, but the crowd packing the soccer-friendly bar was thirsty for a U.S. victory over the Netherlands in Paris.
It would take more than a half of soccer until U.S. captain Megan Rapinoe quenched their thirst by converting a penalty kick that gave the team its first lead. And when the U.S. sealed matters with an insurance goal just eight minutes later, the crowd poured on the enthusiasm with cheers and high-fives.
"Amazing. Almost as good as the Cubs winning the World Series," Batavia resident Virginia Platt said as the U.S. captured its fourth Women's World Cup.
The victory celebration at Quigley's culminated a watch party that began several hours earlier as fans filled the pub in anticipation of another win for a squad that's lost just four times iun 50 World Cup matches. By 9 a.m., those looking for seats were largely out of luck.
"They're going to rock today. I know it," Naperville resident Sherry Jursa said before the game.
One of those who secured a coveted spot in front of a flat screen was Naperville resident Donna King. She was texting with her husband, who serves as U.S. Soccer's managing director of administration.
The crowd exuded confidence, even through a first half that ended in a tie thanks to stellar goalkeeping from the Dutch team.
"They need to put a couple in. They have dominated the game," Tom Duquaine, who was visiting from North Carolina, said at the break.
The breakthrough came on Rapinoe's penalty kick.
King said she felt relief, but her husband texted, "We need another one."
When it came a short time later, the excited crowd began to celebrate.
Diane Benjamin of Naperville, who has been watching all the women's games in the tournament, summed up the mood of the crowd by saying, "It's heaven."