U.S.A. fans are disappointed their soccer team is no longer in the World Cup. But, thanks to the U.S. team's inspiring run that has fueled interest in the tournament, they're still watching… and so are soccer fans from around the world who happen to find themselves in the United States.
Eight teams remain, including perennial favorites Brazil and Germany, and the crowds watching the games at U.S. bars, cafes and other venues are as international as the sport itself.
Vuvuzelas and sambas in Boston
At Café Belo in the working-class Boston suburb of Somerville, Brazilian fans are celebrating a win over Ivory Coast. A four-year-old boy sings 'I am Brazilian, and proud,' while the adults dance barefoot. And there's the yellow and green vuvuzela. Just one of those horns is annoying, but nobody here seems to mind.
The action had the fans on their feet, screaming for their team
Everyone's wearing Brazil's national colors, including Danisy Drzic and her husband Balsha. They're from Virginia, in Boston on business. "We just basically went to Quincy Market and asked people where are the Brazilians going to see the game?" Danisy explains.
She's here for a taste of her home country: the fried plantains, the grilled pork sausages. She's here to see Brazil score. Balsha Drzic is from Serbia, which also made it to the World Cup Finals. Even so, he's taking this match more seriously than she is. "I like Brazil," he admits, "they're much stronger than in years past. And I hope they go all the way!"
The international flavor of the World Cup continues outside the bar and restaurant, where Liniker Kemke is hanging out after the game. His grandfather immigrated to Brazil 38 years ago from Germany. And his father named him after a soccer star. But not after [Brazilian star] Pele. Not after [German star] Beckenbauer. After a star player for Germany's rival.
"[It was the] World Cup of 1986," he says. "Lineker was a forward of England team. And my father loved that guy, and he put that name on me. Liniker." This Brazilian with a German grandfather named after an English striker says if Brazil doesn't win the Cup, then he hopes Germany does.
Beer and pretzels for Germany's fans
Everyone who came to watch a game got a German flag to wave
Well, so do the people over at Boston's Goethe Institute, which is showing all Germany's games, with free admission for anyone 18 years old and younger. Compared with Café Belo, these viewing parties are a little more organized. You have to register online, which also gets some tickets for Beck's beer and Bavarian pretzels.
And while the crowd is into the game just as much as the Brazilians, Andreas Hilfinger observes it's still very civilized. "If you go to a bar, you always get a lot of drunken thugs. Doesn't seem to be the case here."
"It's like having people over in your living room to watch it. It's much more exciting than watching by yourself, but you don't have random idiots throwing beers around," he points out.
The German researcher is currently working in Boston, and is here with his U.S. coworkers. There's a Ghanaian in the crowd with his German roommate.
And then there's Japanese student Hidefumi Tomita. "I really like the German people," he says. "If it's Europe, it's Germany, if it's Asia, I support for Japan."
A global game in a global city
Boston's Goethe Institute offers German language courses, book discussions... and showings of every one of Germany's World Cup games
Boston's always been an international city, so the excitement here about the World Cup is not surprising… a Japanese student for Germany... a Serb for Brazil... a Brazilian named after an English forward.
Perhaps it's not just the improving U.S. soccer team that's fueling world cup interest among Americans. The passion of these transplanted soccer fans is infectious, and it's making Americans feel more a part of this global game.