Soccer fans swarm Grant Park for World Cup viewing party - FOX 32 News Chicago

Soccer fans swarm Grant Park for World Cup viewing party

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

It's clear that Chicago has caught World Cup fever. Thousands of fans wildly waved American flags - others wore their flags like capes - as they gathered Thursday in the city's Grant Park to watch the United States take on Germany in the World Cup. The park is the same venue where President Obama gave his first presidential victory speech in 2008.

Soccer fans watched the game on two big screens at a viewing party in the park. That included a 19'-by-33' high-definition screen at the park's Petrillo Music Shell. Organizers said the layout offered a great view for everyone in attendance.

The area had a well-attended vibe and a stadium experience Thursday morning. While the weather may not have been perfect, summer weather in Chicago is better than it is in Brazil.

Thousands lined up outside Grant Park before the sun came up to guarantee a spot to watch the game. Many of the fans were younger and on summer vacation.

But this year, the World Cup is attracting all levels of fans who say Grant Park is the best way to watch a do or die match. Downtown Chicago office workers have extended their lunch breaks to watch the game on various TVS in bars, restaurants and building lobbies.

"The atmosphere is just fantastic. You've got people that are all cheering USA," one fan told FOX 32's Joanie Lum.

The earlier U.S. game vs. Portugal brought about 20,000 fans at Grant Park. Some of the fans were even German immigrants, who said they didn't feel outnumbered in the fantastic atmosphere.

"We are all unified where we can just go bonkers and be together!" One German fan said.

Public transportation officials with Metra and the South Shore line warned commuters to leave extra time for their regular commute due to the large crowds. Some fans said when they got on the train from Schaumburg at 6 a.m., there were no seats available.

The Associated Press and FOX 32's Anita Padilla contributed to this story.

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