Beckham: ‘I expected the U.S. to go even further’ in World Cup

Dirty Tackle

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England soccer icon David Beckham has singled out the U.S. men's national soccer team for praise at the 2014 World Cup, calling Team USA’s performance one of the highlights of the tournament.

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“I expected the U.S. to go even further because they were playing so well and they looked really strong,” said Beckham, speaking to the Guardian.

The USA managed to progress beyond a difficult group that also included Ghana, Portugal and eventual finalists, Germany, before falling to a talented Belgium side in the round of 16.

“I think they can be proud of their performance. I can see the growth, I can see that there’s a huge amount of interest there. And the fact that the U.S. had a great tournament where the fans got right behind the team, the players.”

[Related: Jurgen Klinsmann praised for rejuvenating Germany]

Having played for five seasons in MLS with the L.A. Galaxy, Beckham has an insider’s viewpoint on soccer in the U.S. and seemed to speak with some pride regarding the growth of the game here.

“It’s what the U.S. really do, they love big competitions,” Beckham said.  “They love their sports and the fact that there’s 25 million watching the Portugal game doesn’t surprise me, because I know this game is going to grow and get bigger in that country.”

Beckham also praised the likes of Colombia and Costa Rica, two teams that defied expectations to produce some of the best soccer seen at the 2014 World Cup.

“The fact that teams like Costa Rica teams, like Colombia come into this World Cup and had great World Cups, that’s a good thing .”

Costa Rica in particular, topped a tough group that included Uruguay, Italy and Beckham’s own England before making a surprise run to the quarterfinals.

The 38-year-old Beckham was nearly selected for England’s World Cup squad four years ago but a hamstring injury sustained while on loan to AC Milan saw him miss out. After winning back-to-back MLS titles with the Galaxy in 2011 and 2012, the former Manchester United man spent half a season with Paris Saint Germain, adding a French Ligue 1 title to his already formidable array of silverware before announcing his retirement from the game.

Currently, Beckham is working to bring an MLS franchise to Miami.

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