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When the US national football team manager, Jurgen Klinsmann, came to address the press ahead of his team’s group match against Portugal, the happiness was clear on his face and the reason behind that happiness was quite obvious. The match between Ghana and Germany had just ended in the form of a draw which put the Yanks in a very good position in Group G. Now, they just need to win against Portugal and they would be through to the next round.
Speaking in the press conference, Klinsmann said, “We had the idea that it was one of the toughest groups in the tournament. Just now we saw a match between Ghana and Germany. That was a draw which shows how tough the competition is in this group. So, having 3 points in the bag with two games to go, it’s really good. We are very happy with where we stand at the moment.”
“Now, it’s the opportunity for us to prove ourselves at a big stage. It’s the occasion and we have got to rise to it. We would try and take the attack to the opposition tomorrow. Three points against Portugal would get us into the knockouts and that would be an achievement.”
“Obviously, there is excitement in our camp. The boys want to have it started already.”
In their first game against Ghana, the Yanks had secured a 2-1 victory. If they beat Portugal tomorrow and qualify for the knockouts, it would be the third occasion in the last 4 FIFA World Cups that they would be able to get past the group stage.
However, Portugal would also be coming hard at them after having lost to Germany quite badly the other day. So, the encounter is going to be interesting.
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The US national team manager Jurgen Klinsmann will be preparing his team to face Nigeria in a friendly match just before the World Cup 2014. This match could be a great preparatory tool for the Americans since it occurs just a few weeks before the World Cup, while Nigeria are also one of the teams to have qualified for this tournament. Nigeria do not have a tough draw on their hands since they will be up against teams like Iran and Bosnia in the group stages. The same cannot be said of the Americans, who will be up against Germany, Portugal, and Ghana.
This is widely perceived as the group of death since all teams have the capability to qualify for the knockout stages of the tournament. Klinsmann has already achieved a lot of success with the US national team at previous major tournaments. The US were especially good at the recent Confederation Cup. However, they do not come into the World Cup in the best of form, as they have managed just two victories out of the last five matches. Still, friendlies against Mexico, Azerbaijan, Turkey, and Nigeria provide the US with enough opportunities to recover their form.
Klinsmann also recently suggested that he has not close to the door on any player looking to get into the national team at the last moment.
“We are absolutely thrilled with the schedule we have put together for the Send-Off Series. We have some fantastic opponents that will help us get prepared for the teams we will meet in the World Cup,” said Klinsmann. The nation will be opening their World Cup with a match against Ghana, which will be again of great importance given that the remaining two are against slightly tougher opposition in the form of Portugal and Germany.
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The US national team striker Aron Johannsson says that he hopes to sign for the team in 2014. He is competing for a starting spot along with Sunderland striker Jozy Altidore. Altidore has been leading the line for the US national team under Jurgen Klinsmann for more than a year, but his poor form since moving to Sunderland should be a cause of concern. Klinsmann, though, need not worry since he has Johannsson on a good run of form. The AZ Alkmaar striker has bagged 22 goals in just 35 matches for his club. Even though AZ are only mid-table right now, Johannsson has reasons to believe that he will start ahead of Altidore.
Altidore has for long been seen as the main striker in the national team, but there are fears that he may not have been as good as people thought after his move to Sunderland. The 24-year-old has managed just two goals in 31 appearances for the Premier league outfit. Prior to the move, he managed 38 goals in 67 matches for the Dutch club. Johannsson only has six appearances at national level, but he is hoping to add to it before the World Cup starts. The US are in a tough group containing the likes of Germany, Portugal, and Ghana.
“I try to focus on my game every day at training and at every game for my team AZ and that’s all I can do. I try my hardest to make the decision as hard as I can for Jürgen. Obviously it would be a great honor to be on the airplane to Brazil and to get any minutes at the biggest stage in the world would be amazing. If everything goes the right way 2014 can be the most important year of my career so far,” said Johannsson.
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US national team manager Jurgen Klinsmann has stated that he is worried at the prospect of his players not getting top-level experience by staying in the MLS. The MLS is nowhere near enough in comparison with the European leagues in terms of the quality. In the past, American players managed to secure a loan or permanent moves to European clubs, which helped them compete against the best in the world. It is simply not happening in recent years according to Klinsmann, who fears that this may have recuperations for the national team.
Klinsmann has so far done well after being appointed as the national team manager. This has helped him earn a new contract that he signed only recently. The US is expected to make an impact at the World Cup, but Klinsmann is remaining tight-lipped about the chances of doing well at this major tournament. To add to the problem, the US have been given a very tough draw in the group stages where they will be playing the likes of Germany, Portugal, and Ghana. All teams are capable of aspiring for promotion and Klinsmann reckons that it will be difficult period for the national team.
Players like Landon Donovan and Clint Dempsey have had successful careers in Europe, but it is simply not translating into the current crop of youngsters.
“There is no demand for USA players in Europe. It is just a sign of reality. The demand is not there. It is a very, very tricky situation that players face right now. You want them to play in the best clubs in best leagues in the world and obviously MLS is not there yet,” said Klinsmann, who became one of the best midfielders in the world during his time at Tottenham. He has been the national team manager of USA since 2011.