DENVER (CBS4) – There was the guy who tattooed an image of U.S. soccer star Clint Dempsey on his right bicep just after the team’s World Cup win against Ghana last week. The giant visage of Dempsey celebrating his goal is so fresh, the tattoo hurts. But not enough to keep the fan home.
And then there’s the guy who dressed like Batman and Captain America’s love child — decked out with a painted red, white and blue mask and star-spangled banners draping his shoulders.
They were among the hundreds of soccer fans watching the Americans’ match against Portugal on Sunday afternoon at the British Bulldog downtown. CBS4’s Tom Helmer joined the festivities.
“This is the epicenter of soccer fandom right here,” Helmer says, certainly not exaggerating.
But it didn’t start well. An early defensive miscue led to a Portugal goal just five minutes in.
“Well, that’s not great. We’re only like five minutes in. It’s already 1-0,” Tom says consolingly to a fan.
“It’s not a good start,” the fan concedes.
“The good news is still we’ve got like 85 minutes,” Tom counters.
“Yeah, so I’m sure there’s time to get a few more goals,” the fan says — perhaps not so convincingly.
The Americans did rebound, though, scoring two goals to move ahead, prompting repeated — and increasingly hoarse — chants of “USA! USA! USA!” from the crowd.
And then hearts broke again — with 28 seconds left — after Portugal tied the game on a header.
“It was ridiculous,” a flag-carrying, flag bandana-wearing fan said. “They gave up too much. We got the tie. We’re still alive. We’ll go in next game (and) make it happen.”
The United States plays Germany on Thursday. They’ll advance to the round of 16 with a win or tie. A loss makes it more difficult, but they could stay alive.
STATS & RECAPS: CBSDenver.com World Cup Section