Croatian Fans Packed Astoria Pubs As The Tiny Country Made An Improbable Run To The Final
Story and Photos by SASHA MASLOV
On Sunday, hundreds of people sporting red-and-white–checkered shirts crowded into Daly’s Pub in Astoria. While it sports a traditional Irish pub feel, during the 2018 World Cup it became a hangout for fans of the Croatian national team. The small nation of a little more than four million people shocked many in its run to the World Cup Final, but mostly left the crowd of Croatians, Croatian-Americans and adopted fans of the country proud of the team’s fight and resolve, even though it fell short to international powerhouse France, losing the captivating final game 4-2.
For the past month, Astoria has been the place to escape for many fans of football (or soccer, as it’s known in the United States), with dozens of bars welcoming in fans of the beautiful game, and various supporter groups of different countries popping up. While all pockets of the diverse borough of Queens have been soccer-crazy since mid-June—from Mexican fans in Corona to Colombia’s supporters in Jackson Heights to South Korea backers in Flushing and to the passionate Poles in Ridgewood—Astoria has served as an epicenter, with beer gardens packed with hundreds of people and smaller establishments just as filled up with those seeking a more traditional pub setting many soccer fans prefer.
Photojournalist Sasha Maslov stopped by several of Astoria’s hot spots on Sunday to capture the patrons’ joy and disappointment as the game played out. At Daly’s Pub, he spoke to several Croatian fans about the country’s historic run and the growing popularity of football.