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Obama on U.S. World Cup chances: 'I think we'll do well'

President Barack Obama is betting on a strong World Cup performance from the U.S. men’s team in Brazil later this year — and he’s already putting his money where his mouth is with a possible tequila wager.

Appearing on the Univision Deportes program "Locura Deportiva" to promote the Affordable Care Act Monday evening, the president predicted a solid showing from the national team, even though the squad will face powerhouses such as Germany, Portugal and Ghana early in the so-called Group of Death.

"The U.S. National Team has gotten so much better. Each World Cup, you see improvements," he said. "We did quite well in South Africa (during the 2010 World Cup). I think we'll do well in Brazil. ... The U.S. is in a really tough group, though."

Host José Luis López Salido asked Obama — a well-known soccer dad — if he would be interested making a good-natured wager with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto when the U.S. team plays a friendly match with Mexico next month in Arizona. Obama declined but said he would be willing to bet if the two countries faced each other during the World Cup.

"Friendly matches aren't worth betting on," Obama said. "But if we see Mexico in the World Cup, then I’ll definitely make the bet."

"What would you bet: Beer or tequila?" Lopez Salido asked.

"Tequila would be even better," Obama said.

Perhaps the president should know better than to bet on international sporting events. He and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper wagered a case of beer on both the men's and women's Olympics hockey teams — and that didn't turn out so great for the American side.

"Unfortunately we lost both the women's and the men's, so I owe him two cases of beer," Obama said on "Locura Deportiva."

"We make some beer here at the White House in the basement. Some of the cooks make some excellent beer, but we don't make that much, so two cases is a lot of beer to lose. It's not like we just go to the grocery store and buy two cases of, you know, Budweiser or Dos Equis. We're going to make sure we pay our bets, though."

sstclair@tribune.com | Twitter: @StacyStClair

 

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