Condi Rice tells US team to raise their game

19th June 2006, Comments 0 comments

19 June 2006, WASHINGTON - US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice had some direct advice for the US football team as it headed into a crucial match against Italy on Saturday.

19 June 2006

WASHINGTON - US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice had some direct advice for the US football team as it headed into a crucial match against Italy on Saturday.

Standing with Italian Foreign Minister Massimo D'Alema in Washington, Rice acknowledged she is not an expert on football but recognizes when a team is not playing up to its potential.

"I would like to see the United States do well," she said. "But even I, a pure novice in watching soccer, know that they will have to play a lot better than they did (Monday) in order to avoid a very early exit from the World Cup."

D'Alema joked that they agreed to meet a day ahead of the match to avoid a diplomatic spat.

"We were quite cautious and prudently decided that it would be better to meet before that match so that nobody would be in a bad mood, no bad feelings, no shadow looming over relations between our two countries," he said through a translator.

The United States was soundly defeated (3-0) by the favoured Czech Republic on Monday even though there were high expectations on the US team leading up to this summer's World Cup in Germany.

However the US managed to hold powerful Italy to a 1-1 draw on Saturday in Kaiserslautern.

Rice's diplomatic skills played a greater role in not wanting to predict an outcome than her knowledge of football.

"I learned a long time ago not to hold strong opinions or predictions about something about which I have so little expertise, as soccer - or European football," she said.

Rice, rather, is an adamant fan of American football and has said she would like someday to be commissioner of the National Football League in the United States.

DPA with Expatica

Subject: German news

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