Capitol Hill stunned by World Cup loss

 Capitol Hill was all but deserted Tuesday afternoon except for the bars, where crowds jammed in to watch the U.S. World Cup match, chanted for their team through overtime, then walked out defeated after a 2-1 loss to Belgium.The U.S. match captivated Washington, the region that has watched the World Cup more than anywhere else in the country, according to ESPN.

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President Obama headed over to the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on the White House grounds to join staffers watching the game on a big screen in an auditorium. The only hiccup came when he led the room in a slightly incorrect chant, “I believe that we can win,” which the room transformed into “I believe that we will win.”Congress was out of town, but members tweeted their support from across the country. A particular source of pride was goalie Tim Howard, who made save after save until the onslaught finally got through with two Belgian goals in overtime.Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.) seemed prepared to honor Howard by putting him on currency:

Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) shook up 2016 presidential speculation by floating Howard:

Inside the office of Rep. Rush Holt (D), who represents North Brunswick, N.J., where Howard grew up, staffers gathered around a television mounted on the wall. “He’s one of our constituents, that’s why we’re watching,” one said.With Congress out of session, the Capitol had its usual quiet, perhaps increased by the further exodus to bars along Pennsylvania Avenue.U.S. Capitol Police officers guarding the mostly-abandoned tunnel from the Cannon building to the Capitol glanced up at a television playing the game silently on the wall.“I would love for them to make the World Cup a national holiday,” an officer said.A U.S. soccer scarf hung silently on the American flag outside Rep. Steve Stockman’s (R-Texas) office.At the cafeteria in the Dirksen Senate Office Building, one television on the wall showed the match, while another showed more typical Capitol Hill programming: an event on “Robotics and Jurisprudence” on C-SPAN 2.The scene was entirely different at the bars a few blocks away. The Capitol Lounge was packed shoulder to shoulder to the extent that some people squeezed outside to talk to each other.At the Hawk ‘n’ Dove a few doors down, Discover America Partnership, a travel industry group, held a pre-game event in favor of expanding the visa waiver program to more countries. A sign touting the economic benefits of more travelers from Poland was jostled as fans cheered for the U.S. offense to show more life.After the final chance to score failed, the masses poured onto the street and joined the river of quiet fans, who were also probably not looking forward to work on Wednesday.Isaac Freeth contributed.

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