The U.S. might have been ousted from the World Cup by Belgium on Tuesday, but that doesn’t mean Americans should ignore the rest of the competition. Audiences here followed the U.S. squad’s fortunes in droves, with the 2-1 loss to Belgium setting ratings records for ESPN, according to Variety. The quarterfinals kick off on Friday. Here are five reasons fans of the U.S. should see how the rest of the Cup plays out.
1. It’s the World Cup. It is the world’s biggest and most-watched sporting event, with only the Olympic Games coming close in terms of size, scope and pageantry. And it only comes around once every four years. Whether your team has a shot or not, this is an experience you shouldn’t miss if you have the chance to watch.
2. You can root against Belgium. Let’s face it. Americans are fiercely competitive when it comes to sports, and we hate it when other teams best us on the field of play. So how good would it feel to watch Lionel Messi and Argentina crush the Belgians? Or, if Belgium advances all the way to the final match, Americans could say we lost to the eventual World Cup champions. Either way, Belgium should be the focus of every American’s attention in the coming weeks.
3. Speaking of Messi … Messi is arguably the best player in the world, and he’s still playing. While most fans watch the virtuoso perform for FC Barcelona in La Liga, it would be incredibly fun to watch how he competes against literal world-class competition.
4. Baseball fans won’t miss much. Baseball may be America’s pastime, but fans of the sport aren’t going to miss much in the next week or two if they focus their attention in Brazil. We haven’t even hit the All-Star break, which coincidentally takes place two days after the World Cup final, so there’s no reason not to watch.
5. How else to generate interest in the sport? Football, baseball, basketball and hockey are all more popular than soccer in the states, but this year’s World Cup proved that interest in the sport is growing in the U.S., something that has been noted across the rest of the world. If Americans want to make soccer a bigger part of the sports landscape, it only makes sense to watch the best matches among the best teams on the world’s biggest stage.