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On Saturday, Soccer Arrived

If it's being said in Texas, of all places, then it must be so. After Saturday's gritty draw against the Italians, The Houston Chronicle declares that Americans are getting wrapped up in this World Cup stuff after all. "Even those who never 'get it' might be becoming soccer fans. It seems to be catchy," writes John P. Lopez. He says the signs from Germany are clear: Uncle Sam hats, face paint and flag-wearing fans who constantly question Coach Arena's tactics and are willing to pay $1,000 to see the U.S. team play Italy. In fact, U.S. support might have outnumbered that of the Italians. Lopez says: Kaiserslautern, after all, houses an important U.S. military base. "Our supporters were phenomenal," the outstanding Kasey Keller said after the game. "We outnumbered the Italian fans. Before, we would have a hard time outnumbering our opponents' fans in America, much less in Germany. We're excited about that." An estimated 15,000 U.S. fans have shown up in Germany, and more are coming too. Meanwhile, television audiences are reaching record levels: Saturday's 5.2 rating for the USA-Italy is the second-highest overnight rating for a World Cup game on ABC since the 1998 final between France and Brazil, which received a 7.0.

Read the whole story at The Houston Chronicle »

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