BETHLEHEM, Pa. - It was a crushing blow to the American dream of winning the World Cup after Team USA lost to Team Belgium in overtime, but soccer fans in the Lehigh Valley are still sticking by their team.
An estimated 6,500 fans attended the FIFA World Cup SoccerFest and Viewing Party at SteelStacks in Bethlehem Tuesday.
The first 90 minutes of the game went scoreless, sending the game into overtime.
"Ah, it was a great game," said David Piavis, of Mountain Top.
Fans were brought to their feet multiple times during the extra time.
The crowd went silent with Belgium's first goal.
But it was the second overtime goal that sent some back to their cars.
"We were getting ready to leave and we came back in when we heard they scored a goal. They almost had the equalizer, but they lost it. It was tough," Piavis said.
For what seemed like minutes, thousands of fans joined in chants, cheers, and celebratory claps.
Hope seemed to remain, until the final whistle brought an end to the match.
"It was such a heartbreak, hard to watch," said Lauren Bradford, a former soccer player at Lehigh University.
The Belgians came out on top, with a two-to-one victory over the Americans.
The defeat ended the U.S. journey in the 2014 FIFA World Cup
Although it was a disappointing loss for those cheering on the red, white and blue, fans said they're still proud of how the team performed.
"I think we played well enough to demonstrate to the rest of the world we're real players. We'll get 'em next time!" said John Diamant, from Nazareth.
"We should be proud of how far we came, and what we accomplished," Bradford said.
Fans said their hope now is for the sport to live on in the U.S.
"I hope that this experience has taught other Americans to really value soccer for more than just FIFA," Bradford said.
"I hope this kick-starts a revolution in the world of futbal, not soccer, it's futbal ladies and gentleman," said Michael Jung, of Easton.
Belgium will now face Argentina in the quarterfinals Saturday.
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