Postcard from... Brussels


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The Independent Online

It was a friendly wager at the height of World Cup: Belgium’s Prime Minister Elio Di Rupo tweeted President Barack Obama just as his team were about to take on Team USA for a spot in the quarter-finals.

“Hey @BarackObama, I am betting some great Belgian beers that our @BelRedDevils will make it to the quarter final!” His prediction turned out to be right, as both teams battled through a goalless but gripping 90 minutes, before Belgium eventually scored twice in extra time to win 2-1.

In a little post-match triumphalism, Mr Di Rupo tweeted his US counterpart: “I told you so @BarackObama :-)”, before ordering a case of Belgium’s famous beer to be sent to the US embassy in Brussels regardless.

Given various global crises, it is understandable that it took President Obama time to get back to him. But at the end of last week the Belgian embassy in Washington was sent two crates of American brew Samuel Adams.

The gift came with a letter from the US President, congratulating the Belgians and thanking Mr Di Rupo for the “excellent” beer – but with the promise of more rivalry to come. “As Americans, we’re always grateful for the partnership with our Belgian allies,” it read. “Except on the pitch. See you in 2018.”