Washington’s World Cup Game Face

US Vice President Joe Biden (L) and US Secretary of State John Kerry (R) unveiled the FIFA World Cup Trophy on April 14, 2014 during a ceremony at the US Department of State in Washington, DC.

Photograph by Paul J. Richards/AFP via Getty Images

US Vice President Joe Biden (L) and US Secretary of State John Kerry (R) unveiled the FIFA World Cup Trophy on April 14, 2014 during a ceremony at the US Department of State in Washington, DC.

Updated at 12:41, 1:44 and 2:14 pm EDT

Washington had its game face on today

The U.S. House of Representatives tried, and failed, to wrap up its work today at noon ahead of a week-long recess — yet, more strategically, in time for the start of the World Cup match between the U.S. and Germany. Members started streaming out after their last votes at 12:18 pm Washington time, 18 minutes into a score-less game in Brazil.

President Barack Obama, airborne for a town-hall appearance in Minneapolis, carved out some game-viewing time aboard Air Force One to watch the U.S. team advance to the next round of the tournament. The commander-in-chief ditched the policy manuals and briefing materials to watch the game in the conference room of the presidential aircraft as he made a two-hour and 10-minute flight from Washington to Minneapolis.

White House photographers caught pictures of Obama, senior advisers Valerie Jarrett, Dan Pfeiffer and others watching the TV screen mounted on the paneled wall of the room amid bowls of snacks and soft drinks.

Presidents are at risk of missing significant televised events when they’re in the air, spokesman Josh Earnest said, yet Air Force One has ESPN. “If you’re the president of the United States, it gives you a better opportunity to spend some time in front of the television,” Earnest said.

U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann effectively wrote every employee in the country a get-out-of-work excuse note today, and Congress took him up on it. The governor of New York gave everyone a long lunch.

Capitol press conferences were starting no later than 11:30 a.m. EDT. The Senate moved up a vote on a judicial confirmation to 11:45 a.m. from Noon. The House’s delayed recess set off grumbles in many offices where staff already had written press releases hailing or damning a vote on an energy bill almost no one is paying attention to.

A tie or win against Germany would advance the unlikely U.S. contenders to the next round. Even the 1-0 loss to Germany was survivable, with a concurrent match in which Portugal, which the U.S. had tied, defeating Ghana, which the U.S. also defeated.

Soccer — make that futbol — is growing in the U.S. and no place more than in Washington D.C., home to more than 100 foreign embassies, the most successful professional team in Major League Soccer history and the highest ratings of any city for the 2014 World Cup so far.

In the spirit of bipartisanship, the biggest viewing party for USA-Germany was hosted by the German Embassy in Dupont Circle, a park a couple miles northwest of the White House.

Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight, which perhaps presciently has advanced its own position to ESPN, had put the U.S. chances of advancing at 75.8 percent.

And the odds were even stronger today in who the U.S. would face next:

President Barack Obama was en route to Minneapolis today for a fundraiser and a “town hall” styled event with invited guests.

The presidential town hall was starting at 2 pm., Minneapolis time. That’s 3 Eastern, plenty of time to finish the game.

As in 2010, the best place to watch the World Cup in the Capitol was actually one floor above the Senate floor, in the Senate’s Press Gallery. There, flat-screen televisions that usually show the mumbling senator from somewhere far away will be trained on a patch of grass in Recife and the media’s eyes will be glued.

At the Securities and Exchange Commission, the regulators set up a television in a large conference room for staff to watch. There had also been some concern that the commissioners’ regular closed enforcement meeting would be delayed if the game went long. The conference was set to start at 2 p.m.

At Foggy Bottom, the State Department was showing the USA-Germany match in the Press Briefing Room following today’s daily press briefing.

Vice President Joe Biden was watching from Washington. Biden was in Brazil for the U.S. debut — a 2-1 defeat of Ghana — and joined the American team in the locker room after the game.

Obama today announced who’s going to Brazil next:

The White House, after the U.S.-Germany game, announced a presidential delegation to Brazil to attend the final match of the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Rio de Janeiro on July 13.

Heather Higginbottom, deputy secretary of state for management and resources, will lead the delegation., which includes Liliana Ayalde, U.S. ambassador to Brazil, Jonathan McBride, director of presidential personnel, John P. Bilbrey, president and CEO of The Hershey Co. and Cobi Jones, three-time U.S. men’s World Cup player, former Major League Soccer player and sports broadcaster.

– Mark Silva, Roger Runningen  and Robert Schmidt contributed to this report

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