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By ESPN Staff

President Dubya is up for the World Cup

BERLIN, May 7 (Reuters) - U.S. President George W. Bush said in a newspaper interview on Sunday he did not even know what a soccer ball looked like when he was young but a new generation of Americans was catching up with the rest of the world.

'As a boy I never even saw a soccer ball,' Bush said in an interview with the Bild am Sonntag newspaper. 'Where I'm from soccer wasn't played. The sport just didn't exist. So there is a generation of Americans who really aren't soccer fans.'

Bush said a lot of Americans did not even realise until recently how important the World Cup is. Germany is hosting the tournament from June 9 to July 9.

'A lot of us grew up without any connection to soccer -- me, for example,' Bush said. 'But there is a new generation that has grown up with soccer. They obviously have a great interest in the World Cup.

'And some of us older fellas are starting to understand how important the World Cup is for the whole world.'

Bush said he had also learned the United States have a good team that qualified for the World Cup finals this year after reaching the quarter-finals in 2002.

'Of course the U.S. is my team,' he said. 'I've been told that we have a good team. But who knows whether it's good enough to win.'