On Tuesday, United States President Barack Obama watched the U.S. men's national team's World Cup round of 16 game against Belgium. On Wednesday, he made a personal phone call to two of the team's standout individuals.
Obama called Tim Howard and Clint Dempsey to congratulate them for and express his pride in their efforts in Brazil. The U.S. fell short of matching the 2002 team's feat of reaching the quarterfinals, but not for a lack of effort. Howard's 16-save performance drew rave reviews, and his play in goal overall helped the USA get out of the Group of Death and come within a Chris Wondolowski miss from close range in the dying moments of regulation from beating the Belgians.
Dempsey, meanwhile, scored the fifth-fastest goal in World Cup history, tallying 29 seconds into the Group G opener against Ghana, and became the first American to score in three World Cups. He nearly played hero in the waning seconds of extra time against Belgium, only to have Thibaut Courtois save his close-range shot off a well-designed and executed set piece with the Americans needing a goal to force penalties.
Obama praised both players and the U.S. for captivating the country, even offering advice for Tim Howard to shave his beard so people wouldn't recognize him, because he's going to be mobbed upon his return to the States.
Watch the call below: