“I believe that we will win.”
Those six words have been adopted by American sports fans of all stripes, but perhaps none more passionately than by soccer fans.
But the iconic chant didn’t develop at a soccer game; it came to the mind of a U.S. Naval Academy midshipman at the 1999 Army-Navy football game.
“It was the fourth quarter, it was a really pivotal point, and I shouted out, ‘Let me hear you say I — I — I believe — I believe,'” Corey Strong told ESPN. “They kind of really jumped in and it went from there.”
Navy went on to win that game 19-9, one of only three victories the midshipmen had over Army during the ’90s.
See the history of the “I Believe” chant, courtesy of ESPN:
The U.S. plays Belgium in the knockout round of the World Cup starting at 4 p.m. Eastern Tuesday on ESPN.
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