On the other line was President Joe Biden, who encouraged head coach Gregg Berhalter’s squad to “shock ‘em all” in Qatar.
“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.”
The youthful USMNT are drawn into Group B with England, one of the tournament’s favorites, plus Iran and Wales. They open against LAFC forward Gareth Bale-led Wales on Monday at Ahmad bin Ali Stadium (2 pm ET | FOX, Telemundo).
“Keep trusting in one another, play as hard as you can and, you know, for you and your families, your teammates,” Biden said. “The whole country is rooting for you.”
In 2014, Biden, then the US vice president, traveled to Brazil to watch the USMNT take on Ghana. After the group-stage match, a 2-1 win for the US thanks to John Brooks’ goal four minutes from full time, Biden joined the locker room celebration.
This time, Biden will watch from afar.
“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.”