RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — It was all long faces, but heads held high, for the legion of American fans who traveled to Brazil for the World Cup, only to watch their team lose 2-1 to Belgium in extra time.
Upward of 20,000 people, mostly Americans, packed the golden sands of Copacabana beach in Rio de Janeiro in front of a giant TV screen set up in the FIFA Fan Fest watch area in Rio.
Fans stood and cheered the entire time, packed tightly and with barely any wiggle room to get through the crowd.
Like many fans, Travis Rood, a 28-year-old from Seattle, his face painted red, white and blue and an American flag draped around his shoulder, started to leave the beach after Belgium went up 2-0.
But Rood froze in his tracks and turned around after the U.S. scored a late goal to spark hope that ultimately faded with the final whistle.
"This World Cup was a turning point for us," he said. "People around the world are beginning to respect us as a team."
A common refrain, Rood said there was no shame in losing to the young, talented Belgian team, who now move on to a tough quarter-final match with Argentina.
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