In Photos:

AP PHOTOS: Argentine WCup fans follow team on bus

AP - Sports

SAO PAULO (AP) -- Talk about commitment to your sports team.

A group of Argentine men has spent the last month traveling all over Brazil in a converted bus to follow their national soccer squad's progress during the World Cup.

The four pooled their money to buy the bus for $15,000, and saved up vacation time up over two years. The bus, formerly used for public transport, is outfitted for a long road tour with four single beds, an eating area, and cabinets for storing gear.

''A lot of people say we are sick for making this long journey, but I say this is love,'' said 28-year-old Elias Sarrouf.

After leaving Argentina on June 9, the group has followed the team as it played Bosnia and Herzegovina in Rio de Janerio, Iran in Belo Horizonte, Nigeria in Porto Alegre, Switzerland in Sao Paulo and Belgium in Brasilia. Now, the bus is back in Sao Paulo for Argentina's semifinal match with the Netherlands on Wednesday. They hope their team will win and go on to play the final match in Rio de Janeiro on July 13.

They don't have tickets for the semifinal or the final, but they did get tickets for three of the earlier matches that Argentina played.

''We are fulfilling the dreams of many Argentines, and the truth is that we are having a great time here,'' said Jose Ribeti, 29.

They named the bus ''Carnavalito,'' for a traditional South American dance,

During their more than five-week trip around Brazil, the men have parked the bus in areas provided for fans by the Brazilian government. When they aren't on the road and a game isn't being played, they often relax inside the bus, drinking the traditional regional tea, yerba mate. They sleep inside the bus at night, often eat at roadside cafes and clean up in gas station restrooms.

The bus broke down between Brasilia and Sao Paulo when some of the cables in the engine caught fire, stretching the trip out to 20 hours.

''The Brazilians are very hospitable. They've helped us a lot during the trip,'' said Ribeti. ''We have to thank this country and its people for being so warm to us.''

The group will have driven more than 10,000 kilometers (6,200 miles) by the time they return on July 19 to the Salta region in northern Argentina, where most of them live. All are unmarried, and several work for family companies.

''Dreams come true if you let them fly,'' said Sarrouf. ''Years ago, our idea was to attend this World Cup in Brazil. Now, we are thinking about going with this bus to the World Cup in Russia in four years.''

View Comments (1)
  • Whitecaps-Union preview

    The surprising Philadelphia Union sit atop the Eastern Conference table heading into Saturday's home game against the Vancouver Whitecaps, who are in the playoff mix in the Western Conference. The Union (7-5-4) own a four-point lead over the … More »

    AP - Sports - 8 minutes ago
  • Poland tries to contain the pressure on Lewandowski

    Poland tries to contain the pressure on Lewandowski

    It would be a surprise if Robert Lewandowski isn't feeling the pressure. Poland's main striker has not had his scoring boots on so far at the European Championship, a sharp contrast to the qualifying stage when he was top goal-scorer. ''We don't … More »

    AP - Sports - 12 minutes ago
  • Red Bulls lend Ouimette to Jacksonville

    HARRISON, N.J. (AP) -- The New York Red Bulls have lent defender Karl Ouimette to the Jacksonville Armada of the North American Soccer League for the remainder of the 2016 season. … More »

    AP - Sports - 26 minutes ago
  • UEFA's Collina happy with European Championship refs' work

    The absence of contentious incidents involving referees at the European Championship has delighted UEFA. ''We are happy with the performances of all these referees,'' UEFA's head of refereeing, Pierluigi Collina, said Friday about the 18 teams of … More »

    AP - Sports - 27 minutes ago
  • Germany needs to find its cutting edge; Mueller especially

    Germany needs to find its cutting edge; Mueller especially

    EVIAN-LES-BAINS, France (AP) -- Germany needs to find its cutting edge. Coach Joachim Loew knows there's a problem and has juggled his front line during the tournament, introducing Gomez into the team for the match against Northern Ireland. … More »

    AP - Sports - 36 minutes ago