Proud to be an AMERICAN!!!
Before you read this post, you should know I haven't seen one highlight of the USA game, read any recaps or heard any analysis. I just want to express as best as I can what it was like to be there when the USA finally arrived on the world stage.
Jumped into the car for the 4 hour drive from Brussels to K-Town with a group of friends. Beautiful day got even better when had our first beer and sausage at 1pm. Walked around the center of town and a mere 8 hours before kickoff our fans were dressed up and ready to party.
USA fans were omnipresent. K-Town was overrun with the Stars and Stripes. Every street we walked down could have been main street in Anytown, USAon 4th of July. All that was missing was kids bicycling around with sparkers in hand.
Here is some good old boys getting interviewed by the BBC.
After a few hours of wandering around meeting and talking with people from all over the USA and the world, we settled in to watch Portugal-Iran in the fan park. Portugal won 2-0 thanks to some inspirational play-making from Deco. Portugal advances to the 2nd round for the 1st time since 1966. Needless to say their fans were a bit excited.
I did not see any of the Ghana-Czech game, but supposedly Ghana was awesome in their 2-0 win. I reserve my thoughts on the huge USA-Ghana game until later. By now the calvary had arrived and it was time to engage the Italian fans in some pre-game singing and ribaldry.
K-Town was engulfed in cheers, beers and merriment. I probably chanted U-S-A! U-S-A!4 billion times. We danced on tables to "Born in the USA." Put our arms around each other and sand "Proud to be an American" (I didn't think I even knew the words to this song). Partied with Germans, Italians, Dutch, Irish, Portuguese and every other person in an unbelievable friendly atmosphere.
The party continued on the 30 minute walk to the game. Most fans were feeling nervous, but upbeat. After all, this was USA-Italy, in the WC, in Europe.
I'll let a random USA fan we meet after the game describe how it went: "I was teary-eyed for the national anthem. I got teary-eyed when we scored. And I was tearing up when the players did their victory lap. We showed up. We played like the USA. I'm so proud."
It was simply the best sporting event I've ever attended. We outplayed Italy in the WC with 9 guys. At the end it was like Victory with the whole crowd cheering for the USA. All that was missing was Max von Syndow leading the clapping. You can see all my photos at http://www.flickr.com/photos/57226564@N00/.
I'm utterly exhausted. We got back at 5am with the sun rising. I know this post isn't great but I hope you get a true feeling of what it was like. The whole day was surreal. The only way to describe it: I AM PROUD TO BE AN AMERICAN!!!