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Obama Watches US vs. Germany World Cup Match on Air Force One

MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- On his way to Minnesota Thursday, President Obama took a break from his day job to watch one of the most anticipated World Cup matches so far -- the U.S. vs. Germany.

The president told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos that the international sporting event has even affected U.S. foreign policy in subtle ways.

“We had elements -- which I won’t detail -- of our foreign policy that have been shaped around the World Cup,” Obama told Stephanopoulos. “Phone calls, meetings, initiatives we had to think about.”

During the conversation, Obama called the last World Cup “a breakthrough moment.”

“The U.S. exceeded expectations,” Obama said. “This year you get a sense it has captured popular imagination.”

Obama said the American team had advanced from being a “non-factor” to being a “middle of the pack team.”

“We’re not Germany yet or Italy or France or Argentina or Brazil,” he said. “But we’re now in the mix.”

More of the interview will air on ABC's Good Morning America Friday and on This Week Sunday morning.

On Thursday, the U.S. took on Germany in Recife, Brazil, and despite the United States’ 1-0 loss to the Germans, the Americans will still advance to the knockout round.

As Obama watched the World Cup, the president was also joined by aides Valerie Jarrett, Dan Pfeiffer, Josh Earnest and other senior staff members.

Obama will spend the day in Minneapolis, holding a town hall meeting Thursday afternoon and speaking at a political fundraiser Thursday night.

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