US going crazy says Beasley
UNITED States defender DaMarcus Beasley believes this year's World Cup has stirred an enthusiasm for football in America like never before after Jurgen Klinsmann's side upset the odds and secured a place in the knock-out stages.
Despite a 1-0 defeat to Germany on Thursday, the United States squeezed out of Group G on goal difference thanks to a 2-1 win over Ghana and a 2-2 draw with Portugal. They will now face Belgium in the last 16.
Host sports channel ESPN has not yet released the viewing figures for the United States' final group match but they are expected to surpass the 18.2 million who watched the team draw with Portugal and the 11.1 million that saw the victory over Ghana.
The United States' unexpected success in Brazil has seen football fever take hold back home.
Klinsmann re-tweeted a 'get out of work letter' for fans to be given time off during the Germany game while president Barack Obama was pictured tuning in while flying on Air Force One.
"People are going crazy back home," Beasley told Fifa's official website. "And look at these travelling fans. We're outnumbering everyone. People noticed us in 2002, but this is something different now.
"US soccer has grown in big ways. We have depth now that we didn't have before. We like to keep the ball. We have players in Europe and playing at big clubs."
Beasley added: "When I'm done I still want to see US soccer grow more, I want to pass something on."
The Unites States needed a draw to guarantee their progress from the tournament's 'Group of Death' but the defeat proved enough as Portugal failed to make up the goal difference despite their 2-1 win over Ghana.
America lost to Germany by the same scoreline in 2002 at the quarter-final stage, which remains the furthest the United States have gone in a World Cup since the Second World War.
"Now that we're into the knock-out rounds it's done. We want to take it to the next level now," said Beasley.
"You're getting a lot of weird results in this Cup. Anything can happen."