UK & World News

  • 26 June 2014, 19:23

Millions Of Americans Cheer World Cup Heroes

Millions of Americans set work aside to watch the US men's soccer team advance to the knockout stages of the World Cup.

Fans swarmed official watch parties in places such as Washington's Dupont Circle and Chicago's Grant Park.

Many more were allowed to watch the big game in their offices.

The Americans made it out of the so-called group of death, despite losing 1-0 to Germany on Thursday, assisted by Portugal's win over Ghana.

President Barack Obama led supporters, tweeting before kick-off: "Ready. #LetsDoThis #WorldCup".

US coach Jurgen Klinsmannposted an online note for people to give to their bosses.

It asked managers to excuse staff to watch the game for the good of the nation.

In Recife, Brazil, where the match was held, torrential rain caused delays for fans trying to reach the stadium but could not dampen spirits.

Sky News' Amanda Walker in Washington DC says the queue for a seat at Fado Irish Pub stretched around the block more than four hours before kick-off.

Office workers - nursing beers and chicken wings - pulled their US strips over their suits and ties.

At least 400 diehard fans mingled with fresh converts to cheer on a team that has done better than even their most loyal followers could have hoped.

Ally, 23, in full US kit with blue, red and white stars glittering on her cheeks, said: "I've been watching the World Cup for years and I've never seen this much enthusiasm in the states before."

This is the USA's seventh straight World Cup and its 10th overall.

Enthusiastic American media coverage of the tournament has observers wondering whether the US is slowly but surely becoming a soccer nation.

Last Sunday's 2-2 draw between USA and Portugal is thought to have been the most viewed football match in US history, with 24.7 million people tuning in.

US fans snapped up more World Cuptickets - nearly 200,000 - than any other country apart from Brazil. Their supporters' group is called the American Outlaws.

Although the sport is still seen as fringe across much of the country, a recent ESPN poll found that among Americans aged 12-17, football was now tied with baseball in terms of popularity.