Team USA wasn’t able to defeat World Cup favorite Germany, but they will advance to the knockout round despite the loss.
“I always believed we would make it to round 16,” said Richard Allen, an enthusiastic USA fan.
As anticipated, Beethoven Halle in King Williams was the place to be for the much-anticipated U.S.-Germany match, the last game for each of the two Group G teams, with Portugal and Ghana facing off at the same time.
“The atmosphere was awesome,” said Allen, “having the support of two different countries at the same time was exciting.”
It was no surprise that an impressive turnout of German fans were on hand at Beethoven Halle. After all, the purpose of the venue and organization is to preserve German culture and song in Texas. At halftime, some of the fans offered a rousing German beer hall song.
Adults and children rooting for both sides filled Beethoven, wearing flags, jerseys, and face paint. A lot of people got the day off from the boss or came down with 24-hour futból flu. As the pre-game show showed on the big screen, people reserved seats for friends and family while sipping on a late morning cold beer in anticipation of the game-starting whistle.
The U.S. took to the field wanting a win, needing a draw, and praying that a narrow loss would still see the team through to the Round of 16, an accomplishment that nearly every talking sports head in the English-speaking world deemed improbable at the start of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
After Sundays’ 2-2 draw between the USA and Portugal, neither team’s advancement to the knockout round was absolutely certain. That left many fans regretting they could only view one of the Group G’s final two games being played simultaneously.
Germany gave the U.S. side a lesson in ball control and possession in the first half, but failed to score. A rain-drenched field slowed the ball, and undoubtedly helped the U.S. side along with some stellar goalie work by Tim Howard that had U.S. fans in Beethoven Halle gasping more than once in relief.
The second half was not so forgiving. In minute 55, German star striker Thomas Müller broke the tie, giving Germany a 1-0 lead and brought Muller one step closer to a World Cup scoring record and on track to vie for the tournament’s Golden Boot Award.
Despite the excruciatingly close shots on goal in the last minutes of stoppage time by the Americans, the game ended with a German 1-0 win. German goalie Manuel Neuer is one of the best in the world and nothing that happened Thursday changed that.
Only after Portugal’s Cristaino Ronaldo’s tie-breaking goal over Ghana, leaving the final score at 2-1, were U.S. fans able to relax. The U.S. loss against Germany plus a Portugal defeat over Ghana balanced the goal differential enough to send team USA forward.
The U.S. faces another formidable opponent , Belgium, winner of Group H, on Tuesday, July 1 at 3 p.m., while Germany will face off against Algeria. The U.S. team will have ample time to rest after Group Play and might even see the return of striker Josy Altidore.
Beethoven Halle will be ready.
Featured/top image: A fan carries an American flag to cheer on the U.S. Men’s Soccer Team. Photo by Brooke Ramos.
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