President Barack Obama phoned members of the U.S. National Soccer Team Wednesday to congratulate them on their performance in the FIFA World Cup in Brazil.
Team USA was edged by Belgium in extra time, 2-1 after a hard-fought Round of 16 match, Tuesday. Belgium advanced to the quarterfinals and will face Argentina on July 5.
"You guys all did us proud," Obama said in a phone call to U.S. team captain Clint Dempsey and goalkeeper Tim Howard, adding "You guys captured the hearts and imaginations of the whole country, it was unbelievable.''
Many critics were doubtful that the Americans would survive and advance in the dreaded "Group of Death" Group G.
Over 22 million people in the U.S. watched the U.S.-Belgium game on Tuesday surpassing the number of viewers -- some 19 million -- who tuned in to see the Boston Red Sox win the baseball World Series last year.