After eight years of waiting, excited US fans are celebrating their team’s return to the World Cup against Wales.
Washington, DC – It was a nail-biter – a two-part match that could have gone either way.
And when the United States Men’s National Team (USMNT) drew 1-1 in Wales in its first World Cup match in more than eight years on Monday, for many American fans the excitement started and didn’t stop until the final whistle. , it doesn’t matter.
“It was amazing,” said 33-year-old Allan Hutchins after hearing the US national anthem at the World Cup. “Ah-may-zing, so wonderful,” he added, emphasizing each syllable.
Hutchins was among the American fans who gathered at the outdoor stadium at DuPont Circle in Washington, DC, on Monday afternoon to watch the US team take on the Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium in Qatar.
Chants of “USA, USA” and “I hope we win” broke out from the crowd shortly after the US national anthem ended.
However, Hutchins wasn’t entirely happy with the end result. He said the US could have won because the team dominated the game for a long time and took the lead, only for Wales to equalize with a late penalty.
Vladimir Guzman, another US fan, said he was not satisfied with the draw, but was happy to see the USMNT in Qatar, especially since their country Bolivia had not qualified for the World Cup since 1994.
“Why should I be offended? I think we played well,” he told Al Jazeera.
With soccer – known in the US as soccer – growing in popularity over the years, the World Cup is attracting the attention of people across the country.
Spectators are changing their daily schedules, and some cities are changing their rules to accommodate the competition. For example, in Washington, DC, the city council issued an emergency order to keep restaurants and bars open 24-7 during the World Cup.
At DuPont Circle on Monday, jubilant fans roared, jumped and hugged as American striker Timothy Whea put the ball past a Welsh goalkeeper and into the net to put the team up 1-0 in the 36th minute.
Fans wearing jerseys and waving flags were not deterred by the cold weather as they gathered to watch the game.
“It’s been a long time coming,” said 21-year-old Mamadou Wone of the US returning to the World Cup. “Last time we missed, and I was very disappointed. But we’re back, and hopefully we can go as far as we can. “
Youssef Ibrahim, an Egyptian-American, dressed in a US team jersey with an American flag on his cheek, was one of the highlights of the watch party. He was 11 years old the last time the US played in the World Cup.
“Everyone has been waiting for this moment for eight years,” Ibrahim told Al Jazeera. “It’s just a crazy feeling.”