Tim Howard, Clint Dempsey receive phone call from US president Barack Obama

President Barack Obama speaks during a ceremony in observance of the terrorist attacks of 9/11 on September 11, 2013
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USA stars Tim Howard and Clint Dempsey receive a phone call from Barack Obama praising the team following their World Cup exit.

USA stars Tim Howard and Clint Dempsey received a personal phone call from president Barack Obama following their World Cup exit in Brazil.

Jurgen Klinsmann's side bowed out at the last-16 stage following a 2-1 defeat to Belgium on Tuesday.

However, Howard's record 15 saves and the team's performance earned the players plenty of plaudits, as well as huge interest from the States, despite football being one of the lesser-followed sports in the country.

During the phone call to the pair, Obama said: "Clint, Tim. Man I just wanted to call to say you did us proud. You guys did great. There's someone here who's first sport was soccer although I was never that good.

"To see the way you guys captured the hearts and imaginations of the whole country is unbelievable and obviously the way the sport has been growing steadily because kids have been playing it at a young age, but this is the first time you have had an entire country focused.

"Clint you were fantastic and Tim I don't know how you are going to survive the mobs when you come back home. You are going to have to shave your beard so they don't know who you are."

The USA scored five goals and conceded as many during their campaign in Brazil.

Russia's defender Vasily Berezutsky (R) heads wht ball past Belgium's midfielder Marouane Fellaini during the Group H football match on June 22, 2014
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