Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : July 3rd 2014 Contents B33
Thursday, July 3, 2014 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
They turned out by the tens of
thousands, some painted in red,
white and blue, waving flags and
chanting "I Believe!" in city parks,
stadiums and sports bars from coast
to coast on Tuesday to watch the
US soccer team play Belgium in the
knockout round of the World Cup.
Some were die-hard soccer fans.
Others were newcomers, spurred on
by the rising tide of support for the
national team in the world s biggest
They left without what they want-
ed: a win.
From Texas to Chicago to Califor-
nia, fans watched nervously as the
US and Belgium played 90 scoreless
minutes before Belgium scored twice
in extra time.
The US responded with a goal but
couldn t tie the match to send it to
penalty kicks. After 120 minutes of
soccer, the Americans World Cup
was over. America, in the middle of
its World Cup frenzy, got a reminder
that soccer can be a cruel, cruel sport.
"It was heartbreaking," said Adam
Graves, a 39-year-old special needs
teacher who stood among about
2,000 fans sweating in the 95-degree
heat in Austin, Texas, at a city watch
party at a park near downtown.
"What a roller coaster. Just when
you thought we were out of it, we
were back in it. That s what I love
about soccer," Graves said.
Others were more distraught.
"I thought we were gonna blow
through this. I mean, I knew Belgium
was good, but I didn t think we were
gonna go out like that," said Sierra
Kaufman, 19, of Redondo Beach, Cal-
ifornia, who had red, white and blue
painted on her face.
"Half of these people came here
just to dress up in USA stuff but I
really wanted them to win," she said.
Tuesday s game was the fourth for
the US in Brazil as it tried to move
deeper into the tournament. With
every game, the crowds swelled as
die-hard soccer fans joined the new-
comers. Suddenly, America looked
like a soccer-crazed country, as people
skipped work and gathered in big
crowds and watched the game play
out on giant screens.
"They re short people at work and
they tried to call me in to work but
I told them no way. I ll let you know
on Thursday if they re mad," said 25-
year-old Alex Sanders, who chose
watching the game on a Jumbotron
at Redondo Beach in Los Angeles
over his extra shift at Sports Author-
ity.Each game pulled in more fans:
The US--Portugal game drew 24.7
million television viewers overall, and
the 18.22 million who watched on
ESPN were the most the network has
ever attracted for an event not involv-
ing American football. The Germany
game averaged 10.7 million viewers,
making it the third-most watched
World Cup game ever on the net-
The swelling enthusiasm forced
cities to make changes to accommo-
date crowds. In Chicago, home of the
US Soccer federation, officials moved
a game watch event from a public
park to Soldier Field to accommodate
an expected crowd of 20,000 or
Even in 90-degree temperatures,
fans still flocked to watch the big
game. In Washington, there were
misting stations at the block-long
Freedom Plaza to keep fans cool. That
wasn t a problem at AT&T Stadium
in Arlington, Texas, where thousands
watched the match in the air-con-
ditioned home of the Dallas Cow-
Crowds sang the national anthem
together and it was hard to find a
seat at game time at Freedom Plaza.
Marie Davenport, 76, set up a folding
chair outside of the main crowd but
with a good view of the big screen.
"I think that after this World Cup
Americans are sold on soccer," said
Davenport, who thought the scene
and crowd s enthusiasm made it a
better choice than her living room.
President Barack Obama left the
confines of the White House Oval
office and joined about 200 staffers
in an Executive Office Building audi-
torium to watch the second half of
"I believe!" he exclaimed as he
walked in at the front of the hall. "I
believe!" He was quickly joined by a
chorus of "I believe that we will win!
I believe that we will win!"
As he took a seat in the auditori-
um s front row, he said sheepishly,
"I was worried that if I walked in and
Belgium scored, I d get in trouble."
The loss ended the party for the
US fans but not before some agonising
moments as the Americans fought
back from two goals down early in
In Austin, every save by US goal-
keeper Tim Howard drew a rousing
cheer. When Belgium finally scored,
a small group of Belgium fans chanted
and cheered as hundreds of US fans
started leaving, only to come racing
back when Julian Green s goal pulled
the US within 2-1.
When the final whistle blew,
Graves, the school teacher wearing a
U.S. soccer jersey, shrugged his shoul-
ders and sighed. (AP)
Watch parties draw thousands for US-Belgium
United States fans cheer before the start of the World Cup soccer match between the United States and Belgium
at a viewing party in Indianapolis. AP PHOTO
United States fan Joe Trombley, of
Farmington, Michigan, reacts while
watching the 2014 World Cup
soccer match between the United
States and Belgium at a public
viewing party, in Detroit. AP PHOTO
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