USA fans cheer at Redondo Beach Pier in Los Angeles on July 1 before Team USA played Belgium in the World Cup. MCT PHOTO
SOCCER: Obama speaks to Dempsey, Howard after team USA eliminated
SAO PAULO (AP) — Turns out Jürgen Klinsmann was right: The United States isn’t ready to win the World Cup.
On Tuesday, the Americans were eliminated in the Round of 16 for the second straight tournament.
“Clearly, it gives you the message you have a lot of work still ahead of you,” the U.S. coach said Wednesday, a day after the 2-1 loss to Belgium in extra time.
From Wall Street to the White House to the West Coast, Americans watched their national team on television in record numbers.
President Barack Obama spoke to captain Clint Dempsey and goalkeeper Tim Howard on Wednesday to congratulate the team on its performance.
Obama “commended them not only for their work on the field, but for carrying themselves in a way that made the country proud,” the White House said in a statement.
The Americans’ final match, which kicked off at 4 p.m. Tuesday, was seen by 21.6 million on ESPN and Univision, impressively close to the record 24.7 million set for a Sunday evening game against Portugal earlier in the tournament.
An average of 1.6 million watched the loss to Belgium on digital streams.
“People now start to care about it,” Klinsmann said. “Fans care about it. They comment on social media. They comment everywhere about it, and that’s good.”