President Obama on Thursday applauded the United States men's national soccer team hours after it advanced to the knockout round of the World Cup despite falling to three-time champion Germany, 1-0.
"I have to begin by congratulating our U.S. soccer team, Team USA," the president said in his opening remarks at a town hall event in Minneapolis. He joined in briefly as the crowd at Minnehaha Park erupted in chants of "U-S-A! U-S-A!"
"You know, we were in what's called the 'group of death'," Mr. Obama said, citing the unusually competitive set of teams. "And even though we didn't win today, we were in the toughest grouping, and we got through. And so we've still got a chance to win the World Cup."
With two wins and a draw, Germany topped the group with seven points. After defeating Ghana 2-1, Portugal landed at four points - neck-and-neck with the United States - but a better goal difference propelled the U.S. forward.
"We could not be prouder of them," the president said of the U.S. players. "They are defying the odds and earned a lot of believers in the process. And I want everybody on the team to know that all of us back home are really proud of them."
Images surfaced Thursday of the president watching the game aboard Air Force One on his way to Minnesota, where he's spending the next two days talking about the economy and attending Democratic Party fundraisers.