The Colombian stood shoulder to shoulder in a crowd of thousands at Dupont Circle in the middle of downtown as the United States and Germany both advanced to the knockout stage of the World Cup.
The match was a clash of nations,but the viewing party at noon included spectators waving both countries’ flags and conversations that blurred the lines between English and German.
“It could’ve been ugly here if someone got eliminated today,” Beltran said. “The mood was good.”
The gathering was a transnational event. The German embassy paid $30,000 to host the free viewing party,while members of Dupont Festival coordinated the broadcast rights to the game and placement of two large TVs to watch it.
People in suits watched the match from park benches as they ate lunch. Others dressed more informally with a flags fastened around their necks like capes. But groans rose from both sets of fans within the first 10 minutes of the second half.
Alessandro Burlew,17,of Frederick,Md.,threw his hands up in the air at the sight of Germany’s Thomas Muller scoring in the 55th minute. Muller’s effort would lead the European team to claim a 1-0 victory.
Cheers of “Deutschland,Deutschland” rose from around the park,but soon were drowned out by the U.S. men’s national team anthem chant,“I believe that we will win.”
“I’m hot and tired,but talking about that goal just makes me angry,” Burlew said.
Torsten Weitemann,originally from Berlin,could not even see the game from his corner of the park. The 46-year-old embassy worker wore his German jersey,but had to cheer by ear,not sight.
“I knew that every time the Americans cheered,it wasn’t good for the Germans,” he said.
The match drew soccer fans of all ages,even those still unable to lace their own cleats. Ewan Higgenbotham is just 17 months old,but already has a U.S. national team outfit. The pint-sized player could barely stay standing but managed to kick a fist-sized soccer ball to his mother,Andrea,in the shade of a park tree.
The advance of both teams to the next round is one Mikey Makush can live with. She said she feels loyal to both countries,because the maternal side of her family is in Stuttgart,Germany,but the 21-year-old was raised in Vienna,Va.
“I was just praying that no one went out,” she said.
The U.S. will likely play Belgium in the next round of the World Cup. Aaron DeNu of Dupont Festival said he does not think there will be Dupont Circle viewing party for the match,but the organization is trying to find the money to host the final,which is scheduled for July 13.
Reach reporter Megan Card at [email protected] or 202-326-9868. SHFWire stories are free to any news organization that gives the reporter a byline and credits the SHFWire.