SAN FRANCISCO -- When cameras captured Hunter Pence and Tim Lincecum wearing Team USA soccer jerseys on Wednesday while celebrating Lincecum's no-hitter in the clubhouse, the U.S. men's national team received some free publicity.
The personalized jerseys had arrived before the game, which Pence said put Lincecum in a good mood before what would prove to be a historic evening. Neither player wore the jerseys on Thursday, but the Giants' biggest soccer fans were content with the national team advancing out of the "group of death" despite its 1-0 loss to Germany.
"I wanted something better, but I'm glad they made it through," Lincecum said. "They've done a lot of hard work, and obviously, they were in the group of death, so to make it out is a feat in its own right."
Lincecum credited playing a FIFA video game with sparking his interest in soccer. His go-to team? Atletico Madrid.
Pence, who watched Thursday's match with his father, is looking forward to Team USA's round-of-16 match against Belgium being shown in the clubhouse prior to the game against the Cardinals on Tuesday.
As for a prediction?
"I'm going to enjoy watching it," Pence said, "that's my prediction."
Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Haft-Baked Ideas, and follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat. Ryan Hood is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.