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Fans ‘called in sick’ to catch Team USA-Germany World Cup match

Fans watch World Cup Soccer match between U.S.A Germany Thursday Petrillo BShell Grant Park. | Ashlee Rezin/for Sun-Times Media

Fans watch the World Cup Soccer match between U.S.A and Germany Thursday at the Petrillo Band Shell in Grant Park. | Ashlee Rezin/for Sun-Times Media

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Updated: June 28, 2014 3:02PM

Apparently, it hasn’t taken much for the World Cup to attract even the most casual fan.

Those who wanted to watch the United States-Germany game at 11 a.m. Thursday might have found themselves using some conventional excuses.

“Called in sick, I guess,” 24-year-old Anthony Martino said. “Wasn’t feeling well, and now I’m here. Feeling a lot better now.

“I’m a soccer fan once every four years. Occasionally, I’ll catch soccer in between the World Cup, but it’s the World Cup I’m really interested in.”

The mostly partisan crowd at Grant Park to view the Americans’ 1-0 loss was as glued to the big screen as they were to their smartphones.

Portugal’s 2-1 victory over Ghana clinched the United States’ spot in the knockout stage. With both games going on at the same time, cheers could be heard for the Portugal-Ghana game as much as for a great save by U.S. goalkeeper Tim Howard.

Though there weren’t as many people in Grant Park on Thursday as there were for the Americans’ first two games because of the untimely start, the area still was populated with a good number of high school and college students on summer break.

Ela Albert, 19, was decked out in red, white and blue but admitted he isn’t the most die-hard of soccer fans.

“Just jumped on the bandwagon like everyone else,” Albert said. “It’s pretty cool. A lot of people. But it’s a nice day to come out and watch it.”

For those few German fans in attendance, the atmosphere made it feel a little like home.

“We actually expected that there would be lots more German soccer fans,” said Sarah Goebel, who moved to Chicago with her husband in October.

“It’s very German that you go outside and watch with thousands of other people. I still enjoy this atmosphere, although there are so many American fans.”


Twitter: @SethGruen

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