Detroit — Passersby heard shouts of thrill from dozens of soccer fans glued to the screens at Thomas Magee's Sporting House in Eastern Market as the women's U.S. national team earned a victory Tuesday in the semifinals of the FIFA Women's World Cup.
The audience, eyes focused on the television monitors and projected screens, threw their arms into the air in victory and gave a standing ovation.
"They most definitely will win" the World Cup, said Nee Arpachinda, a 38-year-old restaurant owner from Sterling Heights, who summed up the feeling of most in the room. "No hesitation."
The United States won over England, 2-1, Tuesday in France. It now has the chance to defend its 2015 champion title Sunday against the Netherlands or Sweden, which compete Wednesday. A U.S. victory would be the team's fourth World Cup championship.
Dozens from around Metro Detroit and even some from out-of-state gathered to watch the showdown at the Detroit bar known for its soccer culture. It featured the match on 12 screens, including a 10-foot projected screen.
"We're Detroit's premier location to watch world sports; this is very big for us," Thomas Magee's owner, Erik Olson, said. "It's only growing, as the U.S. women are kicking (butt). They're an easy team to root for."
Olson declined to say by how much of an increase he's seen in business.
Still, the game lured Sandra Carter, her partner and friends for drinks and to watch.
"I'm rooting for England," confessed Carter, a 55-year-old manager who lives in Chicago but is originally from England. "But I think the U.S. is going to win. I just wouldn't be mad if England won."
Meanwhile, Deborah Alfaro donned a star-spangled cowboy hat, a U.S. jersey and red beaded necklaces. She also had temporary patriotic tattoos on her cheeks.
"I'm from Mexico, where I learned to love soccer," Alfaro said. "I've been following the women's team since 1991, watching them rapidly improve. I think they've got it again."
As the game wrapped up, the crowd gleamed with enthusiasm and confidence as the U.S. left with another win.
"I'm a big soccer fan," said Mike Crimmins, 57, of Washington Townships who works in education services at Wayne State University. "The women are a talented team. The World Cup finals is where they deserve to be."