RIO DE JANEIRO — When the final whistle blew on the United States’ 1-0 loss to Germany on Thursday, fans fell all over themselves screaming, cheering and celebrating.
It was definitely a strange scene.
But the loss, coupled by Ghana’s 2-1 loss to Portugal, was one of the many scenarios that put the United States through to the Round of 16, a feat not many expected when the “Group of Death” was initially announced many months ago.
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“Obviously we were all pissed when they got in the ‘Group of Death,’ but I’m excited that we’re advancing out of it and I’m excited that we at least have done what we have done and came through with the results that we’ve had,” said Caitlin Cammarata, who watched the match during fan fest on Copacabana Beach in Rio. “Wish we would have come away with a win today and it’s kind of depressing, kind of a heartbreaker, but at the same time we’re coming through and it’s going to be interesting.”
The Americans will likely face Belgium, who, barring the results of the final group stage matches on Thursday, should be the top team out of Group H. Belgium was 2-0 heading into Thursday evening’s game against South Korea.
Belgium was the trendy darkhorse pick of many prognosticators for this World Cup, but the way the United States has been playing has some fans eager for the challenge.
“If we had a 1-0 loss against Germany, I think we’ll have a good chance against Belgium,” said Pooveshan Govender, who watched the game at Copacabana’s fan fest with a few friends. “I’m happy with how we played. It was kind of a loose goal that we allowed with Howard saving it into the middle of the field and being out of position for the shot, but in each game, it’s been errors that have cost us our goals. It hasn’t really been creative goals created by the opposition.
“There’s been a lot of sloppiness, but I feel like it’s been getting better as the tournament has gone on. Hopefully, we can make sure that we eliminate those in the next round.”
The one thing most fans shared following Thursday’s loss was a renewed sense of optimism in the U.S. team and a thinking that if the U.S. can get through the “Group of Death,” it can continue to make waves in this tournament.
“I feel like the American attitude is that we can always do anything,” said David Lanham, who is friends with Govender. “Obviously, it was the ‘Group of Death’ for a reason and Ghana, the fourth team, was very good as well. So, it doesn’t really matter at the end of the day for our mindset we achieved what we needed to do and we’re going to keep fighting through the tournament.”
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