US & World

So the US is out of the World Cup. Who do you root for now?

Soccer fans react while watching a live simulcast of the FIFA World Cup quarter final match between USA and Belgium in San Francisco.
Soccer fans react while watching a live simulcast of the FIFA World Cup quarter final match between USA and Belgium in San Francisco.
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On Tuesday when the U.S. played Belgium, soccer fan Scott Jones and his co-workers at the Disney XD channel were all about Team USA.

"We almost score a goal, and half of us jump off the couch," said Jones, a writer and producer of promos. "Another one jumps off the coffee table."

But after Belgium beat the U.S. 2-1 in extra time, Jones didn't find it too hard to adjust his allegiance. Belgium is one of his top choices now.

"You kinda want the team that beat you to win because then you can feasibly say maybe we were the second best team in the world," Jones said. "Maybe?”

Interest in the World Cup — and TV ratings — have reached record levels among Americans, and fans aren’t dropping out just because the U.S. has.  Many are finding new allegiances, even if it's hard to say good-bye to World Cup dreams for the U.S.

"It was super disappointing," said Todd Denson, a soccer fan from Los Feliz. "I really thought we had a shot."

But Denson plans to keep watching the tournament and has shifted his attention over to the Netherlands — a team he's liked since he was a kid — as well as Germany in large part because that's where U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann and some of the newest U.S. players are from.

"I like (the German) style of play," Denson said. "Their style is very similar to ours which is not a big shock. It's not flashy, it's not super-exciting but it's hard-nosed soccer." 

U.S. fans have made up the largest contingent in Brazil. Stateside, viewings in bars and parks are drawing record number of spectators.

Cristina Halstead of Arcadia, who is part of an adult soccer league club, Sweet FC, said she will keep attending viewings with other fans. As an American, she wanted the U.S. to win. Her back-up teams were from countries where she has ancestral ties, including Mexico, Spain, England — all of which have been knocked out.

Her family tree goes back to Germany too — its national team is one of the tournament favorites — "but I don’t cheer for Germany, I don’t know why," Halstead said, laughing.

She'd be happy if host country Brazil won - or Argentina. It’s in the same hemisphere, and it’s got arguably the world’s best player: Lionel Messi. He’s someone soccer fans from any country, she said, can get behind.

"It would be historic to see Argentina and Messi to win a World Cup," Halstead said. "He would be up there with Pele and (Diego) Maradona."

KPCC listener Alf LaMont actually wrote a primer for fans confused as to who to rally around. It boils down to cheering for your heritage, against your (perceived) enemy or for "fun, sexy" Brazil.

Here are some of the teams other KPCC listeners will be rooting for: