My World Cup fever seems sadly uninfectious. Even the most diehard soccer fan I know refuses to accompany me to Fremont's George & Dragon, despite attempted bribery with breakfast and beer. Yes, breakfast: The George is broadcasting games being played in Germany (at some much more civilized hour) live at 9:00 a.m. The George has also just been voted one of the top 10 places in the U.S. to watch football, un-American-style, by GQ (apparently a wildly unrepresentative vote; the honor also went to Buffalo Wild Wings Bar & Grill in Ridgeland, Mississippi). The George is an English pub, and the game is Trinidad and Tobago versus England, meaning, presumably, that flags will be worn as capes, faces will be painted, and general fanatical jackassery will be occurring long before noon. Why is all of this not alluring to anyone I know? One invitation elicits this response: "GAWD HELP YOU." At the 11th hour, in a feat of incontrovertible fraternal excellence, my brother—my hero—agrees to go with me.

Right at kickoff, dozens of puffy-eyed guys and a few women stand in the parking lot staring rapt at a temple to the Cup: a mammoth television housed in a 15-foot-high tower that's painted velvety black for better viewing against the sky. We wend our way through the crowd only to be turned away at the George's door. Inside's at capacity (145 people) and probably has been for a long time. Yes, there's beer outside, cash only, a Guinness for brother and a Bass for me. Question: How often do you find yourself sitting on the pavement at 9:00 a.m. drinking a beer? Answer: Not often enough.

One of the sportscasters says that a labor union in England recently issued guidelines about how to call in sick for the World Cup, news that is greeted with applause and laughter. By the looks of it, though, two-thirds of the rapidly increasing outdoor audience is practicing temperance prior to reporting late for work. Though a clear violation of the social contract, this freeloading seems fine by owner John Bayliss, who's literally biting his nails and shouting, "Come on, come-on-come-on-come-on! FOCK-ing hell," as England misses shot after shot on goal. "The finishing has been the problem today," an announcer remarks, revealing a stunning mastery of the obvious.

The atmosphere's the antithesis of crazy; the standing-room-only crowd watches intently. In the back, one George employee makes scrambled eggs in a big skillet over the flames of a gas grill while another paintbrushes butter onto English muffins. The resultant breakfast sandwiches, with ham and caramelized onion, are about a billion times better than you might expect, as is, I daresay, the entire experience. In the last seven minutes—at the 11th hour—England scores, to everyone's jubilant relief. The owner runs around pumping his fist in the air. Then, for good measure, they score again.

You can find The George & Dragon's World Cup schedule at www.georgeanddragonpub.com.