RIO DE JANEIRO—
The World Cup, international soccer's marquee event, attracts the most passionate and loyal fans in the world. Supporters from the United States, a country with a small but rising fan base, are out to prove that they are just as enthusiastic as any other country.
Rio de Janeiro has hosted four World Cup games so far, three of which included South American teams. The city has, at times, been dominated by Argentines, Chileans, and Ecuadoreans.
But the strongest constant international presence here in Rio has been the Americans.
"Oh man, U.S. fan support here has been IN-credible. At the Fan Fest, every single game, we're representing more than the teams we're playing. There's so much U.S.A. pride, cheers every two seconds, and when we score? Oh man. It's like the biggest party in the U.S.A.," said Samantha Medney, one of thousands of U.S. supporters in Brazil.
Outside Brazil, no other country has bought more tickets for the World Cup than the United States. Americans purchased nearly 200,000 tickets for football's greatest event.
Here in Copacabana, it shows. Hundreds of fans walk the iconic shoreline, some draped in the American flag, others wearing U.S. jerseys, red, white, and blue bandanas, or face paint. Other fans stop to take pictures with them.
Inside the FIFA Fan Fest, one fan explains his patriotic outfit: "It's basically the most obnoxious thing we could find."
There are thousands more dressed just like him - some even clad as the superhero Captain America.
They have come to watch the United States play Germany, with a spot in the next round of the World Cup tournament on the line.
International football may not be the most popular sport in America, but the U.S. team's supporters in Rio are just as passionate and vocal as any other fan base here in Brazil.
The most recent game against Germany ultimately ended in a loss for the Americans, but they are still on to the next round thanks to Portugal's defeat of Ghana, and that is all that matters.
The party is on here in Rio - and these loyal fans aren't ready to go home yet.