Obama, US mourn painful extra-time loss to Ghana
US President Barack Obama was on the edge of his seat as he tried to catch the final minutes of extra time in Saturday's World Cup match against Ghana, in between meetings with world leaders at a summit in Toronto, dpa reported.
"How much time is left?" White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel asked as he walked into the room at Obama's hotel in Toronto.
"Five minutes," Obama replied, according to a pool report of the summit. "It's nerve-wracking."
Ghana was ahead 2-1 at the time. The United States would not score another last-gasp goal to equalize and is out of the tournament.
Back home in the United States, an anchor on sports channel ESPN declared the 2-1 loss by the United States to Ghana as "extra painful in extra time."
But for a country still catching up to the rest of the world's enthusiasm for football, the disappointment was tempered.
Janet Pohl, watching the game from a picnic in the Maryland suburbs outside the capital Washington, said: "I wish that the US had won but am happy an African team is in the next round."
Ghana, now the only African squad left in the first World Cup on the continent, becomes only the third African team ever to reach the quarterfinals.
Grace McBride, a native Kenyan who has been teaching in the United States for 20 years, attending the same suburban picnic on a sweltering summer day, noted how Africans struggle just to be able to compete.
"When you look at resources, most African countries struggle for playing fields, nutrition, uniforms, even balls," she said. "Here in the US we have all the blessings with everything. If the US had won, it would have been a blow to the Ghanaians, who would have said it's because (the US players) have everything.
"Now Ghana can say, 'We can show the world we love the game, and we are focussed.'"