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Rediff.com  » Sports » PHOTOS: Presidents Obama, Hollande struck by World Cup fever!

PHOTOS: Presidents Obama, Hollande struck by World Cup fever!

July 02, 2014 16:30 IST

PHOTOS: Presidents Obama, Hollande struck by World Cup fever!

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Even President Barack Obama could not escape the World Cup fever. He keenly watched the US take on Belgium in the Round of 16 match on Tuesday.

The Belgians scored twice in extra-time and looked to have the game put away when the underdog Americans scored a late goal. But time ran out and the US lost 1-2.

"Go Team USA." —President Obama #USMNT," Obama had written on Twitter before the start of the match.

Strong performances by the US team in Brazil had ignited passions in a country not known for its love of soccer, and free viewing parties were held from coast to coast while fans crammed into sports bars and restaurants.

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Image: US President Barack Obama (centre) watches the World Cup match, in an auditorium at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building in Washington.
Photographs: Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

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Belgium dominated normal time and were frustrated by an inspired US goalkeeper Tim Howard, who set a new World Cup record by making 15 saves in the match.

Belgium struck early in extra-time, when De Bruyne collected the ball before turning and firing home an angled shot from seven metres.

Substitute striker Lukaku powered home a second in the 105th minute after a clever De Bruyne pass before Julian Green's volley at the start of the second period set up a pulsating finale in which Clint Dempsey almost sneaked an equaliser.

The US could have sealed it at the end of normal time but substitute Chris Wondolowski skewed his effort horribly wide from five metres.

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Image: US President Barack Obama (2nd right) reacts to a missed chance
Photographs: Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

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Earlier, Obama had watched the match between the US and Germany.

The US were beaten 0-1 by Germany but advanced to the last 16 seeing off Portugal and Ghana. 

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Image: US President Barack Obama and his senior advisor Valerie Jarrett (left) the World Cup match between US and Germany while aboard Air Force One on their way to Minnesota
Photographs: Larry Downing/Reuters

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French President Francois Hollande was also glued to his television set as he watched Les Blues get the better of Nigeria to enter the quarter-finals.

France ended Nigeria’s hopes of a first World Cup quarter-final appearance when they scored two late goals to beat the Super Eagles 2-0 in a rough second-round match on Monday.

Paul Pogba put France ahead in the 79th minute, heading in at the far post after Nigeria goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama flapped at Mathieu Valbuena’s corner following a sustained spell of French pressure.

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Image: French President Francois Hollande (right) celebrates as France team scores a goal against Nigeria in their 2014 World Cup round of 16 game
Photographs: Philippe Wojazer/Reuters

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