World Cup 2014

Former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton hails "shrewd" Jurgen Klinsmann's influence on US soccer

Still looking for signs of soccer's increasing permeation into mainstream American life?

Hillary Clinton was interviewed by leading German publication Der Spiegel this week, and the former US Senator, Secretary of State, First Lady and presidential candidate was asked about major news figures like George W. Bush, Angela Merkel, Edward Snowden...and Neymar, and Jurgen Klinsmann.

Yes, the beautiful game was prominently included in range of topics covered in the magazine's hard-hitting Q&A with Clinton, who is widely expected to run for President again in 2016 after her unsuccessful 2008 race against current Commander-in-Chief Barack Obama.

Clearly the NSA spying controversy and other pressing matters on the American political landscape are competing with the World Cup for Germany's attention. Joachim Low's team don't have to face the injured Neymar in their semifinal battle with the host nation, but he was still named in a sort of word-association game with Clinton.

“How tragic that he'd be out when Brazil will be playing Germany,” noted Clinton, showing her well-honed diplomatic skills. “I watched some of the replay to try to see exactly what happened. It is a serious injury. I hope he comes back full speed. He's a great player.”

She also offered glowing praise for Klinsmann, the goalscoring hero of Germany's 1990 World Cup triumph who led the US national team to newfound levels of attention during this summer's main event.

“I think he made some very shrewd decisions in his choice of who is on the team,” said Clinton. “But I think he proved to be a very effective coach, and his coaching brought out the best in the players that he chose, and it helped to finally, I think, put what we call soccer and you call football on the map in the United States. So I give him a lot of credit for that.”