ABC News’ Karen Travers reports:
Hey US Men’s National Team – no pressure, but Vice President Biden is expecting big things from you tomorrow.
The always-loquacious vice president put diplomacy on the back burner today when sizing up Saturday’s first round matchup between United States and England.
“In the spirit of a genuine Irishman, we are going to beat England,” the vice president said to loud applause at a gathering of diplomats and dignitaries at the US consulate near Johannesburg Friday according to wire reports.
Biden drew the lucky assignment of representing the United States at the World Cup in South Africa.
He and his wife Jill have been traveling through Africa this week, with stops in Egypt and Kenya, before arriving in South Africa for the kick-off of the soccer tournament.
The vice president said he was honored to be at the World Cup representing the U.S. and added that President Obama is “angry” that he was not there.
Obama said last year he was hoping to be able to go to the World Cup but it would depend on his schedule. The president of course was supposed to be traveling to Indonesia and Australia next week but the trip was postponed, for the second time.
Biden attended this morning’s opening ceremonies at the stadium in Soccer City and will be on hand for the kick-off match between host South Africa and Mexico.
He wished the host country good luck in staging the World Cup, noting that “no other sport in the world ever focused such attention on one country than the World Cup.”
"All eyes are on South Africa. This is truly historic, this is the first World Cup on the Africa soil," Biden said.