RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — You could probably hear the cheers roaring across the Triangle Tuesday afternoon as the U.S. team advanced in the World Cup. The team has made their way to the knockout round after a 1-0 victory over Iran.
“We’re excited that we advanced and we’re ready for the next round because we think we can advance further,” said Drew Sprague who had cheered on the team with friends and a large crowd at the London Bridge Pub in downtown Raleigh.
Fans at the pub weren’t only supporting the USA.
Michael Hershman who also came to the London Bridge Pub said, “We come here for every England game. Every time England is in a major tournament, the World Cup, this is the place to be.” Hershman cheered with his friends as England came through with a win, also.
Hershman said there’s been a few surprises during the World Cup, including losses from both Germany and Argentina that have left soccer fans sitting on the edge of their seats.
He added, “It was a bit of a surprise that we didn’t beat the USA.” Days ago, England and the USA had tied 0-0.
Manager at the London Bridge Pub, Jessica Kirkpatrick, said they have been selling tickets for fans who want to ensure they can get a spot inside. Kirkpatrick said most games have brought crowds to capacity at the pub and have resulted in a boom in business.
“Even if people don’t have tickets, there’s been a line down the block all week, every day, even the 5 a.m. matches,” Kirkpatrick said.
Kirkpatrick said the business has opened up early and done what they can to accommodate crowds wishing to watch the World Cup. Even through the wild rush, Kirkpatrick said, “It’s so crazy, but you know what, the vibe is great. Everyone is having so much fun and we just love it!”
It’s a similar experience for Kevin Walker who has also opened his pub—The Winchester Pub and Bottle Shop—during earlier hours and days the business is typically closed.
Walker, who played soccer professionally and had been dorm mates with U.S. Coach Gregg Berhalter at UNC in the ‘90s, said he couldn’t be more proud of his friend.
“They played their hearts out, they looked crisp, they’re passing, they’re moving the ball well, everyone on the team was working, they were working with each other… I was really impressed,” Berhalter said.
Walker said the World Cup is unique in that it not only happens every four years, but it also brings fans of all kinds together.
“We are a soccer pub so unlike some places, we show soccer all the time. The World Cup is the tip of the Iceberg,” Walker said. “The World Cup is truly the biggest event in the soccer world that there is.”
Both business plan to be open when the U.S. team faces the Netherlands on Saturday at 10 a.m. Fans believe it will be a big game and a tough one, too.