After eight years of waiting, jubilant American fans celebrate the return of their national team to the World Cup in the match against Wales.
Washington D.C. – It was a nail-biting game, a game of two halves that could have gone either way.
And while the United States Men’s National Team (USMNT) drew Wales 1-1 in their first World Cup match in more than eight years on Monday, for many American fans the excitement started at kickoff and didn’t stop. until the final whistle. , regardless of score.
“It was unbelievable,” Allan Hutchins, 33, said of listening to the United States national anthem at the World Cup. “Ah-may-zing, absolutely amazing,” he added, emphasizing each syllable.
Hutchins was among dozens of American fans who gathered at an outdoor park on DuPont Circle in the heart of Washington, DC, on Monday afternoon to watch Team USA take to the field at Ahmad Bin Stadium. Ali from Qatar.
The chants of “USA. USA, USA.” and “I think we’ll win” erupted from the crowd as soon as the US national anthem concluded.
Still, Hutchins wasn’t entirely happy with the end result. He said the USA should have won because the team dominated the match for long periods and took the lead, only for Wales to equalize on a late penalty.
Vladimir Guzmán, another US fan, also said he was not satisfied with the draw, but was happy enough to see the USMNT in Qatar, especially since his native Bolivia hasn’t qualified for the World Cup. since 1994.
“Why would I be disappointed? I think we played very well,” he told Al Jazeera.
With football, known in the US as soccer, growing in popularity over the years, the World Cup is capturing the attention of people across the country.
Spectators are adjusting their daily schedules and some cities are even changing regulations to accommodate the tournament. For example, in Washington, DC, the city council passed an emergency measure to allow bars and restaurants to remain open 24/7 during the World Cup.
At DuPont Circle on Monday, jubilant fans roared, jumped and hugged as US striker Timothy Whea flicked the ball past the Welsh goalkeeper and into the back of the net to put the team up 1-0 in the 36th minute.
The T-shirt-wearing, flag-waving fans were not deterred by the chilly weather as they gathered to watch the game.
“It’s been a long time coming,” Mamadou Wone, 21, said of the United States’ return to the World Cup. “Last time we missed it, and it was a bit heartbreaking for me. But at least we’re back and hopefully we can go as far as we can.”
Egyptian-American Youssef Ibrahim, standing in a Team USA jersey with an American flag sticker on his cheek, was one of the most visibly excited fans at the watch party. He was 11 years old the last time the United States played in a World Cup.
“Everyone has been waiting for this moment for eight years,” Ibrahim told Al Jazeera. “It’s just a crazy feeling.”