BRASILIA (Reuters) – U.S. Vice President Joe Biden might not have resolved a diplomatic spat with Brazil over American espionage, but he got a kick out of seeing the United States soccer team win their first World Cup game.
“Watching the United States win last night was a great thrill for us,” Biden told reporters on Tuesday hours after seeing the Americans defeat Ghana 2-1.
Biden brought his soccer-playing granddaughter and a nephew with him to Monday’s game. “I’m the favorite grandfather in the family right now,” he joked.
Biden met with Brazil President Dilma Rousseff to try to reboot U.S.-Brazilian relations that have been on hold since documents leaked last year by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden revealed that Washington had spied on Rousseff and other world leaders.
Host Brazil has taken a lot of heat for the late delivery of unfinished stadiums for the World Cup, but Biden praised the Dunes arena in the north-eastern city of Natal.
“The stadium is absolutely beautiful and it met every expectation,” he said.
Biden visited the locker-room after the game and congratulated the U.S. team, praising goalkeeper Tim Howard in particular.
“He played an incredible game last night,” he said.
Biden knows Howard from the last World Cup in South Africa and they agreed to meet again in 2018 in Russia.
“He will probably have the same job,” Biden said. “I’m not sure I will have the same one.”
(Reporting by Anthony Boadle, editing by Ed Osmond)