Watch: President Biden calls ‘underdog’ USA to wish them luck against Wales – ‘Let’s go shock ’em all’
The President of the United States has telephoned the American World Cup team ahead of their opener against Wales, urging them to “shock” their opponents.
Joe Biden called the team in a video posted by the U.S. Men’s National Soccer Team to social media today.
“It says POTUS. That´s where it´s coming from,” United States coach Gregg Berhalter said, reading the phone´s caller ID.
Please hold, the President is on the line… 📞 pic.twitter.com/N6CxwOhqgN
— U.S. Men’s National Soccer Team (@USMNT) November 20, 2022
“You guys, I know you’re the underdog,” Biden said. “But I tell you what man, you got some of the best players in the world on your team, you’re representing this country and I know you’re going to play your hearts out so let’s go shock ‘em all.
“Keep trusting in one another, play as hard as you can and, you know, for you and your families, your teammates, and the whole country is rooting for you.
“I wish I were there to see you, I really do,” Biden said. “Go get ‘em guys, just play your hearts out. I know you will. I know you will.”
Wales start their World Cup campaign against the United States on Monday evening.
The US claimed the final automatic place on offer to CONCACAF teams – just. Defeats to Canada, Costa Rica and Panama left them in danger of going into an inter-confederation play-off.
But they finished above Costa Rica on goal difference to join Canada and Mexico as automatic qualifiers.
Their recent form has been mixed, with the US winning seven, drawing four and losing three of their 14 matches in World Cup qualifying.
Since making it to Qatar in March, their form has been patchy. Morocco (3-0) and Grenada (5-0) were blown away, but the latter was their only win in the last five.
Their last three games, draws with El Salvador and Saudi Arabia and a 2-0 defeat to Japan, have created concern Stateside.
Gregg Berhalter has been their coach since December 2018 and led them to CONCACAF Gold Cup success in November 2021, beating Mexico 1-0 in the final.
The 49-year-old from New Jersey briefly played for Crystal Palace during his nomadic playing career around Europe and managed Swedish side Hammarby and MLS outfit Columbus Crew before taking the US job.
A third-place finish at the inaugural tournament in 1930 remains America’s best World Cup performance. After a 40-year absence from 1950 to 1990, the US competed at seven successive World Cups and reached the last eight in 2002.
The USA also reached the knockout stages in 2010 and 2014, but they failed to qualify for Russia four years ago.
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