Big crowd watches World Cup at SF's Civic Center

Byby Leslie Brinkley KGO logo
Monday, June 23, 2014
Fans watch USA-Portugal World Cup match in SF
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A sea of red, white and blue showed up to watch the World Cup match between the U.S. and Portugal Sunday at SF?s Civic Center.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- A sea of Stars and Stripes showed up in San Francisco on Sunday to watch the World Cup match between the United States and Portugal.

If you love up to the minute sports drama, this was the match for you. World Cup mania seized fans in San Francisco; fans who have a passion for the action.

The USA was down. The USA was up. And in the end, it was a tie.

Varela headed in an equalizer in injury time to salvage a 2-2 draw for Portugal, denying the Americans a spot in the second round. Cristiano Ronaldo swung in a cross from the right and Varela thumped a header into the net to keep Portugal alive in the tournament.

Clint Dempsey had given the U.S. the lead when he used his stomach to direct the ball into the net from a cross by Graham Zusi in the 81st minute.

Jermaine Jones had equalized for the Americans earlier in the second half, after Nani gave Portugal an early lead.

"A tie is only bad when you already have a win in the books in your mind," one fan said. "That hurt."

Another fan added, "I thought it was totally done, I thought we had it in the bag and then that happened. Oh my gosh, so disappointed."

There was so much emotion in the crowd of over 5,000 at San Francisco's Civic Center Plaza. It was ablaze with red white and blue. Something about the World Cup whips up the patriotic fervor in fans

Near the end of the match, one of the San Jose Earthquakes soccer stars, #18 Chris Wondolowski, took to the world stage

"It really opens up the door of opportunity for Bay Area native Chris Wondolowski. I've been blessed to play with him. He's such an inspiration to all kids," said San Jose Earthquakes player Joe Cannon.

A win would have put the U.S. into the second round, but it can still advance with at least a draw against Germany in the next game.

The USA's next match is Thursday at noon on ESPN.

For the latest news on the World Cup, click here.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report)