By Rick Ritter

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — USA stays alive in the World Cup. Even with a loss to Germany, the team advances to the next round. Marylanders flock to Downtown Baltimore to cheer on the red, white and blue.

Rick Ritter explains the team is down, but not out.

Even with that loss, USA advances to the knockout round. From here on out, they’ll decide their own fate. It’s safe to say World Cup fever in Baltimore is just getting started.

Off the charts. Fans pack it in for every game. World Cup cheers are heard throughout the Inner Harbor. For businesses, it’s a kick.

“Nothing quite compares to the World Cup,” one fan said.

On Thursday, same story, but the stakes are higher for the United States. Powerhouse Germany stood in the way of advancing. An early goal in the second half put Germany ahead. It was all they needed to hold off some of the United State’s best shots.

Hundreds of fans packed Power Plant Live to watch the big game, and a loss on Thursday was really a U.S. win. The stadium scoreboard shows a Portugal win, assuring USA advances to the round of 16 with a bit of luck.

“Knowing that we’re moving on from the ‘Group of Death’ is a pretty great feeling because a lot of people didn’t think that we could get there,” one fan said.

For workers who took the day off or left work “sick” to catch the game Downtown, it was well worth it.

“Look around. There’s a lot of suit and ties here,” one fan said.

“I took this day off like four weeks ago,” said another.

The coach of U.S. soccer even provided a note for fans to take to work: “Please excuse ___ from work today. I can assure you, it’s for a very important cause. You should act like a good leader and take the day off, too.”

No excuse note was needed for this crowd–former Baltimore Blast star Keith Van Eron brought his soccer campers out for the big game.

“This is the first time in probably a long time that the game has this much significance. I wanted it to be an experience the kids would never forget,” Van Eron said.

Many of those little soccer stars are hoping to make it to the big screen someday.

“It would just make me feel really nice to have all the people cheering for me,” said nine-year-old Madison Felton.

“I would try my best out there because you have a whole country counting on you for the World Cup,” said ten-year-old Walter Brown.

Now they will get to see their heroes do it all again, as Team USA moves to the knockout round.

The USA’s next match is Tuesday at 4 p.m., when they’ll square off against Belgium.

Waterfront Partnership of Baltimore will host a World Cup viewing party at West Shore Park on Tuesday for the big game. The event kicks off at 3 p.m.

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