By Bryan Llenas, ,
Published January 11, 2017
The soggy American fans shuffling out of Arena Pernambuco Thursday afternoon after Team USA's 1-0 loss to Germany were disappointed that the red, white and blue couldn't pull off an upset against the heavily favored Germans but pleased that the U.S. will be heading to the Round of 16 for the second consecutive World Cup.
The U.S., who were undone by a beautiful goal by Thomas Müller off a rebound of a ball goalie Tim Howard was unable to corral, now head to the city of Salvador to face a young, fast Belgian team on Tuesday of next week.
The game against Germany was billed as the most difficult of the U.S.'s group stage matches, and fans seemed pleased that their team was able to limit a squad full of household soccer names to just one goal.
"The U.S. played tough," Bill Slattery, a U.S. fan from New Jersey told Fox News Latino. "We accomplished our goal, we're moving on."
While the game against Belgium promises to be anything less than a cakewalk - no matches from here on out are likely to be easy - U.S. supporters in Recife believe that the team has a chance to make it to the finals in Rio de Janeiro on July 13.
"I believe we can go all the way," Bill Grassie, a U.S. fan from New Mexico told FNL.
Other fans seemed a little more sanguine about Team USA's chances.
"They can probably make through the semifinals," Tommy Park of Washington D.C. said. "In the quarters, however, they'll probably have to play Argentina, and I don't know about that."
Team USA selfie posted on Instagram by Clint Dempsey
A number of drenched U.S. fans straggled into the Mundinho restaurant Thursday before kick-off of the the team's match with Germany.
Unlike matches against Ghana in Natal and Portugal in remote Manaus, tickets for the hotly-contested match were hard to come by.
"There's a lot of sad-looking U.S. fans in here right now," Brianna Kietzman, a U.S. supporter from Kansas, told Fox News Latino.
After a few close shots and a number of impressive saves by goalkeeper Tim Howard, however, the morose grouping of Americans rallied, with cheers erupting for good plays and slight taunts issued to the German fans in the restaurant.
With the score 0-0 at the half, U.S. fans are optimistic about their chances of advancing, and even winning, Group G.
"We looked a lot better than we expected to," Kietzman added. "Now we just have to hope for the best."
On Thursday morning, a tropical downpour couldn’t dampen the spirits of the thousands of U.S. soccer fans who gathered in Recife.
Crowded in and around the mud-soaked confines of a bar less than a mile from the stadium U.S. supporters – some dressed as bald eagles, Uncle Sams and Betsy Rosses — drank early morning beers and chanted “U-S-A! U-S-A!” — a scene that resembled a patriotic Woodstock.
After a win against Ghana and a hard-fought tie against Portugal, American soccer fans were optimistic — if not particularly realistic — about the team’s chances against a strong German squad.
“In my professional opinion, I’d say Germany, 2-1,” Tommy Park, a U.S. soccer fan from Washington, D.C., told Fox News Latino. “But if I’m picking with my heart, it’s a 1-0 U.S. win.”
Most fans in Recife have been thoroughly impressed with the U.S. selection this World Cup and see the team advancing to the Round of 16 for the second consecutive tournament… And possibly even further.
“I definitely see them going into the next round,” Keith Yoder, originally from Delaware but now residing in Brazil. “They’ve been playing real well, and I could even see them making it as far as the quarterfinals.”
Back in the United States, large watch parties are being organized throughout the country.
Grant Park in Chicago has been drawing huge crowds, an estimated 20,000 on Sunday, for outdoor watch parties, while sports bars and ethnic pubs there and in other U.S. cities with large German-American populations such as Milwaukee and Minneapolis-St. Paul have been packed for World Cup games and are ready for a big Thursday.
Organizers expect thousands to show up Thursday at Cincinnati's Fountain Square for a watch party when the U.S. soccer team plays Germany. The downtown square also is home of the Oktoberfest Zinzinnati, which drew 600,000 last year for the annual celebration of the city's vaunted German heritage, often with beer and bratwurst.
German immigrants who flocked here in the 19th century shaped architecture, religious life, arts and cuisine in the Over-the-Rhine neighborhood and throughout the city, with hundreds of thousands of people of German descent still in the Cincinnati region today.
The German-themed Glockenspiel restaurant in St. Paul, planned to open early to get fans seated before the game, and in the Cleveland area, the Donauschwaben German-American Cultural Center in Olmsted Falls expects its restaurant to be busy.
Organizers have been pleasantly surprised by turnouts for the first two Fountain Square watch parties, estimating some 5,000 fans were there for the U.S. game with Ghana and 7,000 or more for the Portugal game on Sunday, watching a huge screen on the side of a building, with food and drink vendors working the square.
Brittney Carden, spokeswoman for the Cincinnati Center City Development Corporation, said it was difficult to predict Thursday's crowd since it's a workday for many, but she expects people to throng there at least during lunch breaks.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.