Klinsmann says USMNT goal should be getting out of group, not winning World Cup

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Photo by Don Feria/ISIphotos.com

By FRANCO PANIZO

SAO PAULO — Contrary to popular belief, Jurgen Klinsmann does not think that the U.S. Men’s National Team has no chance of winning the World Cup this summer.

He just does not believe that pre-tournament expectations should be placed so high on a team that is still establishing itself in world soccer.

Touching on the comments he made back in December for a New York Times article that was recently published, Klinsmann once again reiterated on Wednesday that the idea that the U.S. should go into Brazil thinking of winning the competition is a misguided one. Instead, he believes the focus should be on making it out of an extremely difficult Group G that includes Ghana, Portugal and Germany and then taking things from there.

“I think for us now talking about winning a World Cup is just not realistic,” said the U.S. head coach before the Americans’ open training session at Sao Paulo FC’s training facility. “If you do it like Greece in 2004, I think that nobody from Greece would have said, ‘We’re going to win the European Championship,’ but they did. At the end of the day, soccer, the beautiful thing is it’s unpredictable. You don’t know what happens. Every game is another step towards the next bigger goal. Once we make it through the group that we’re in, we’re not shying away from anybody.

“But first we’ve got to make it through the group, so let’s stay with our feet on the ground and say, ‘Let’s get that group first done,’ and then the sky is the limit. But before and half-a-year before and even now (a day) before the World Cup starts, to say that we should win the World Cup is just not realistic.”

Klinsmann was also asked about the lack of players on the U.S. roster who played in the UEFA Champions League this past season. Only two players on the Americans’ 23-man World Cup squad – Jermaine Jones and Julian Green – saw time in the prestigious competition, which is a minuscule number when compared to the amount of players that Ghana, Portugal and Germany each had partaking.

Klinsmann did not directly link that fact with why expectations for the U.S. should be lower than perennial World Cup favorites like Germany or Brazil, but admitted that he would like to see more American players playing in the Champions League on a consistent basis so as to further improve the U.S. player pool.

“We’ve talked about that since a couple of years that our wish, our goal is to get as many players as possible one day into the Champions League because that’s on the club level the creme de la creme,” said Klinsmann. “That’s where you want to be so that they have kind of that confidence, that they have that experience to face these players in the biggest clubs in the world. I think we have very special players and now a team that can play there, players that can make it to that level. But right now, the statistics prove that we’re not there yet.

“Hopefully, this is now the stage for our players to prove that they are ready for the next level or another two levels in their careers. There’s no better showcase than a World Cup, so whoever steps on the field, this is now you’re opportunity. Embrace it, give it a smile and give it a go. Then, hopefully we have a lot more experience in our backpockets after the World Cup.”

While Klinsmann may have tried to temper expectations in terms of where the U.S. stands in the world of soccer right now, he also dispelled the popular belief that the Americans are a long shot to make it out of a difficult group-stage campaign that begins with a June 16 clash with Ghana.

Klinsmann may not be thinking about World Cup glory at the moment, but that is because he is focused on the short-term.

“We’re not (underdogs),” said Klinsmann. “We’re going to go in there and take the game to Ghana and they will take it to us and then we go back and forth and hopefully the people see an exciting game and us as a winner at the end of the day. Then we go from there.”

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145 Responses to Klinsmann says USMNT goal should be getting out of group, not winning World Cup

  1. Raymon says:

    When German pragmatism bumps up against American confidence and optimism

    • Zocklo says:

      There is a point where confidence and optimism are simply delusional. THE USA probably as more delusional fans than any other country. Getting to the knockout round will be a major success.

      • Bradley's Missing Mop says:

        Not true, Zocklo.

        See England.

        • espada says:

          The English actually lost hope in their team a while ago. But saying that US fans are delusional is wrong, too. Though, we can agree that the majority of US citizens are uninfomed/uncaring.

          • Kelso says:

            Agreed espada, in my experience the English are the most cynical of national team fans

            • Ali Dia says:

              Yeah. It’s pretty bad. It’s pretty much the reason I stopped bothering with them

              It is worth noting that from a gambling perspective, England fans actually bet far and a way the most money on England winning — though this is mostly a function of having first-world wealth and legalized sports betting.

              In most every World Cup with data, the bookmakers have been able to create a near-arbitrage situation… the only chance they have of losing money is an England win. If any of the other 31 teams win, the bookmakers will profit.

              Just an interesting sidenote to the point.

              • The Garrincha says:

                A.D. nice,
                that’s some optimistic hooliganism.
                Just imagine if the Irish were in it.
                They will bet on anything?.
                like which centenarian would get across the street first?,…anything.
                but anyway the Mantra,
                “one game at a time baby”.

          • sammysounder says:

            We will be lucky to get out of the group, but so will England. Neither of us will win this world cup, but the US will win one before England.

        • Maykol says:

          No, the English always talk crap about their team

      • Tru Dat says:

        What country is second?

      • Ian says:

        Some call it delusion, others call it faith in our national team. It’s irrational, maybe, but who said sports need to be rational. That’s what taxes and sh*t are for.

        • RB says:

          These are not descriptions of the same thing. Being at least somewhat rational and objective about the level of the USMNT, the level of the competition, the challenges of the draw, the exceedingly high difficulty level of winning the World Cup in general, and so on, does not mean one lacks faith in one’s national team. I think “delusional” does describe fairly and accurately the view of a considerable number of people, lately. I wonder what the reaction from them will be if the US does not advance from the group…

      • eric says:

        I think there’s a difference between believing your going to win the whole damn thing and believing you’re screwed from the get go. There is a happy medium. I think you don’t go into a tournament like this with the frame of mind that 4 games is suffice. You take each game one at a time and focus on that. Head coach coming out and saying you can’t win it creates doubt in the players mind and they don’t need that IMHO.

        • Kosh says:

          Meh, the doubt arguement doesn’t work for me. What JK says to us, how he manages us and the press is comepletely different than how he talks to, works with and morivates his team.

          These guys are pros. At this point if “coach speak” causes you the jitters then you are one sly fox to have made it this far in the selection process.

          • MisterJC says:

            Exactly. It’s all a matter of putting first things first. Let’s take care of the group first, then aim for greater things. I mean Klinsmann even referenced 2004 Greece. You’re kidding yourself if you believe that Klinsmann doesn’t have just as much, if not more, desire for our team to win it all than our fans and media…

        • Maykol says:

          Why are people so shocked at what Klinsy is saying? Dosent every coach tell their team from the get-go, to focus on getting out of the group first, and not worry about anything else. And these are adults and pros, i doubt their feelings will be hurt

          • eric says:

            My whole thing is why do they both have to be mutually exclusive? You can tell your team to focus on getting out of the group without putting caps on their potential success rate. He just talks to damn much. Shut up and coach!

      • Kosh says:

        I belive our cousins, the English, are the undisputed heavyweights in this arena. That said, we’ve modeled our soccer consumption, habits and rituals after theirs, thus making us a close second?

        • Maykol says:

          No way, the English know they arent likely to win the cup. Theyre always talking crap about their team. US fans are pretty damn delusional. Ive seen plenty of people actually thinking the US is a top 15-10 team, guys think howard is a top 5 goalie, and people that say bradley, dempsey and LD are world class.

          • Jack says:

            The only person I’ve seen say Howard is top 5 is Klinsmann

            • Maykol says:

              Nah whenever there is an article pn SBI, tgrres always at least one other person that agrees with him

              • solles says:

                ahh yeah the one other guy who agrees with him, makes us all delusional

              • Maykol says:

                Dont be stupid, obviously i dont mean everysingle fan is delusional

              • Maykol says:

                And no, its not just “one other guy”

              • ronniet says:

                Who is to say that T Howard is not a top 5 goal keeper? Who judges these things and it’s impossible to monitor the performances of every goalie in the world to make a definitive determination! These thing are all opinions with no spine to them so if someone says he’s top 5 then to them he’s top 5 and you should leave it at that! According to FIFA we are ranked 13th and I know people will say who cares what FIFA thinks and that their rankings mean nothing and in doing so you would be proving my point that these rakings and titles placed on players and teams are all opinions and hold no weight! It’s as if an American can’t be world class or the team can’t be in the top 15 because they’re, well American! Nonsense is what it is!

            • Willy says:

              And you’re surprised? He calls Altador’s goal “world class.”

              He better hope we get or the cry for his head will be very loud.

              • Maykol says:

                Saying one’s goal is world class is pretty damn different from actually calling the player world class

      • solles says:

        youre so 1998 zocklo

    • Jamie Z. says:

      All in the same person.

    • dcpohl says:

      Actually pragmatism is an American school of philosophy.

  2. dude says:

    So your saying we still have a chance….

    Lets Greece it up lol.

  3. Tru Dat says:

    The outrage over JK saying we could not win the world cup was such a made-up story. It’s shockingly ironic that ESPN felt comfortable running with it.

    For days they are debating whether we can even make it out of the group: the idea of winning was never even countenanced. Then JK makes his statement, the full version including the idea the team would have to play the best seven games of their lives. Then comes the shrill outrage, wondering if he should even be coach, with one hihg-profile ESPN analyst demanding “get him OUT OF HERE!”

    • James says:

      Agree 100%. Frankly, I’m a little disappointed SBI is even mentioning it. It is a non-story. Did Bob Bradley or Bruce Arena ever say we could win the world cup? If they did, they’re fools pandering to the media. Assuming they didn’t, the only reason this is receiving attention is because he’s German.

      • That_Guy says:

        Did they ever say we couldn’t while coaching? And then set the lowest possible bench mark for a successful world cup?

        • James says:

          I’m really not sure on this, but I’m guessing, at some point, they both said we couldn’t win it. If they didn’t say it, they knew it, along with the rest of the players and staff, and anyone else with an ounce of knowledge.

          And considering that getting out of this group would (arguably) be among the top 3 achievements in USMNT history, I don’t think that’s a terribly low benchmark.

          • Kosh says:

            + 1.

            Getting out of THIS group is a “low benchmark”? WOW! I want me some of that Kool-Aide.

            • That_Guy says:

              If we do not get out of the group the World Cup is a success? Read what I said carefully. I said the lowest possible benchmark. If you are ok with the USA not advancing, then fine set a lower bench mark and be happy. But for this to be a SUCCESSFUL world cup, the very least the USA has to do is advance. If not then the USA was not succesful.

        • bryan says:

          Arena said it in 2002!!!!!!!!!!!!!! jesus christ people!

          • beachbum says:

            I hear you but it’s a little different in that we came in DEAD LAST in the previous World Cup ’98 under Sampson, including the defeat to Iran, and our player pool was, well, not like today’s

            make it out of the group and then if accomplished, see what happens…pragmatic AND hopefully confident…what’s wrong with that?

            • Bac says:

              Insertion of too much logic in your statement!!!

            • bryan says:

              what?! you guys are all up in arms that a coach would say that, period. Arena said the SAME thing in 2002 and said there is no reason for anyone to be upset about that.

              double standard.

        • Mike Caramba says:

          “We’re not going to win [the World Cup] because we’re not a good enough team…I don’t think anyone is going to be damaged by us saying that. I mean, how many countries have won it?”

          ~Bruce Arena, 2002

      • bryan says:

        agreed. Arena said we weren’t winning the Cup in 2002 and look at how well we did.

      • Mr_A says:

        No, but neither Bob nor Bruce ever rtesponded to the question by saying “We can’t win” which is basically what JK said in the NYT article. And he shouldn’t have said that. He should’ve said what he is quoted here as saying: “one step at a time” “if we get out of the group, the sky’s the limit” and stuff like that.

        If people want to dream, at least give them a pillow instead of a brick.

      • JJ says:

        Not sure how people have a hard time understanding why people have a problem with this. And he still doesn’t get it. It’s NOT that the expectation should be winning the World Cup, that you should be talking with that expectation, etc. — it’s the sense of DEFEATISM before the competition starts, which is un-American.

        It has nothing to do with (what we all realize) are realistic expectations (though anything can happen; e.g. with a few bounces who’s to say we couldn’t win the whole thing in 02?) The point is you don’t say you “can’t win” something before it starts, otherwise why show up?

        I actually like the way he’s been talking (mostly) about prioritizing, and if we get out of the group, then hey, we can beat anybody. Stick with that message.

        • KingGoogleyEye says:

          JJ: “The point is you don’t say you “can’t win” something before it starts, otherwise why show up?”

          Because competing can still be entertaining. Because you can still win some matches. Because the experience is worth it for player development. Because only showing up if you think you can win is “safe”—which is another way of saying “cowardly.”

          Those are just a few reasons.

          I understand why people have a hard time with Klinsmann’s statements—which were, as you say, “un-American.” But just as you want commenters here to try to understand boo-yah Americans’ national pride and reality-check sensitivities, I want them (and you) to understand the difference between sober conversation and defeatism.

          I don’t think you and I are really that much in disagreement. Klinsmann has never said “we can’t win against X team.” Just that we can’t win the Cup. I don’t have a problem with that. “You’re not here to win the Cup; you’re here to crush Ghana. And after that, to beat Portugal. And after that…well, we’ll see.”

        • RB says:

          But it is mistaken to categorize JK’s comments as defeatism.

          Or that is to say that in labeling a rational and completely unsurprising view as defeatism, you are making your argument circular from the start. You’re simply defining the comments as bad in that way and then proceeding to say that you don’t understand why people cannot understand the negative reaction to them. But people who cannot understand the negative reaction to them don’t see them as defeatist in nature.

    • HoboMike says:

      Then, you remember that ESPN felt comfortable running a story that say a Ghanaian witch doctor was responsible for Ronaldo’s thigh injury and you realize they’ll say anything for a dollar.

    • Marden8 says:

      Agree. Absurd charge as are other charges. Jorgen has lived in the United States for 16 years. There is no one more committed to making America a soccer power and to doing well in this World Cup. We are very fortunate to have him.

      • Gary Page says:

        Even though I vehemently disagree with his decision to not take Donovan, he is 100% right on this thing and we are lucky to have him. I doubt there is anyone outside of US fans who believe that the US will finish ahead of both Germany and Portugal. I think we have a chance to edge out Portugal, but that will be highly difficult. Assume we do get out of the group, then we likely will face Belgium. Hazard is better than any US player, Kompany is better than any US defender, and Lukaku is better than Altidore. If we were to get past Belgium, in all likelihood we would then face Argentina. Does anyone actually we would have a chance to beat all these teams? Even getting out of this group might be the greatest accomplishment in the history of modern US soccer, better than even 2002.

        • Dirk McQuigley says:

          Without a doubt the Group of Death is much tougher than the draw in 2002. Portugal was really highly ranked (2?) and Korea was going to be tough no matter what. Poland, if I remember, had a decent ranking but was eliminated by the time they beat us 3-1 in our last game. Portugal. Germany. and our tormentor Ghana. Major achievement getting out of this group unlike 2010 when we were expected to and it took injury time in the third game against impotent Algeria to do it.

    • Ryan says:

      ESPN is nothing short of genius when it comes to literally making up stories and turning them into the main talking point on 30 different shows a day. They have one expert say something stupid on the first episode of sportscenter then spend the rest of the day having their other nonsensical analyst debating it. It shocks me the people still watch that network for anything other than live sports and the few well done documentaries.

  4. bryan says:

    i’m getting so anxious!

  5. Tru Dat says:

    BTW, this Champions League imperative needs to be clairified a bit. Sacha Klejstein has been playing Champions League football and didn’t get an invite to camp. What JK is saying is he wants his players on the top ten or so teams in the UEFA.

    Play for the top clubs in Europe and Champions Leage takes care of itself. Play Champions League football for a lesser team in Europe and look forward to watching the WC on TV.

    • KingGoogleyEye says:

      It’s funny: people hear Klinsmann say something he looks for in a player and they latch on to it like it’s The One Thing he looks for.

      It’s like a guy saying what he looks for in a girlfriend, and then all his friends can’t understand why he doesn’t want to go out with Susie, because “Susie is a brunette and he said he likes brunettes.” Or they’re beside themselves when he decides to go out with smart, talented, and beautiful Becky “even though Becky is a blonde, not a brunette like Susie.”

      A coach looks for a hundred different qualities and even the best player available will probably match up to only 60-70% of them.

    • HoboMike says:

      Play Champions League football for a lesser team in Europe, and not be especially good at football and look forward to watching the WC on TV.

      There, fixed it for you.

    • Wood Chip Zip says:

      What JK is saying is that none of the US players have done sh*! compared to what he did as a player. He needs to remind us all of that every time he speaks

      • foooo says:

        and he’s right. We don’t have any players who have come close to what he accomplished as a player, so nobody should be satisfied with what American players have done so far in Europe. It’s still not enough.

        • beachbum says:

          who is satisfied? But what’s the problem celebrating the accomplishments along the way?

          • foooo says:

            Of course it’s good to celebrate accomplishments, I certainly agree with that, but do we celebrate to a fault? We hear his comments about how someone hasn’t done sh*t and we naturally bristle in response. What are you smoking, Klinsy? Deuce scored a beautiful chip against Juve!
            I think JK is saying that U.S. soccer culture needs to be more cut throat and demanding, even of its star players.
            I’d say Dempsey is the closest thing we’ve gotten to that edginess he wants from players: a guy with a chip on his shoulder and a devil may care attitude who dares to be brilliant.
            I’m sure Deuce’s move back to MLS pissed off JK more than we’ll ever know. I totally get how Deuce couldn’t afford to pass up the money, but in JK’s mind, he’s good enough, and still young enough, to be pushing for a starting spot on a big club in Europe.
            It’s an interesting conundrum: MLS wants the best American players and will throw cash at them, but U.S. soccer needs its players fighting to be starters at the highest (CL) club level.
            It’s going to be interesting to see how things evolve over the next ten years.

            • foooo says:

              Apologize for the length and rambling nature of my post.

              • beachbum says:

                it’s alright man. I dig your passion

                I’m sticking with my position tho.

                on he whole European thing, easier said than done to uproot one’s family and move there, or if you’re a teenager, much more things to consider than simply playing soccer in Europe. much more difficult an equation than many seem to give it imo.
                also, Clint’s family wanted to come home right? that stuff matters in the final analysis seems to me
                cheers

      • Gary Page says:

        For those who can’t figure it out, what he means is a US player good enough to start for a top team in a top 5 league. Had B Bradley stayed at Roma and if they trade Pajnic and/or Strootman, he might have qualified. A lot of ifs there, though. Probably the only US player to reach that level is Beasley when he played for PSV when they reached the semi-finals of the CL with Beasley a starter. I think Kirovski was on the team, but not a starter for his German side when they played either in the finals or semi-finals. Can’t remember the details.

  6. KingGoogleyEye says:

    The USMNT goal should be to beat, destroy, and humiliate Ghana.

    After that, everything is icing.

    • Ian says:

      Sounds like the Ghanians are ready to do their best to beat, destroy, and humiliate us (again). After they whooped South Korea, Ghana fans were chanting “Bring on the US!” Game on! Can’t wait.

    • beachbum says:

      disagree. I’m 100% with Jurgen on this. the goal is get out of the group, as it should be, and then one game at a time IF we can. your attitude is defeatist imo, not pragmatic.

  7. Tru Dat says:

    LD is the best soccer player in the history of the US and an incredibly boaring, uninteresting person in an interview.

    His adenoidal voice makes his perdictable answers to uninteresting questions even wose.

    Ruud van Nistelrooy is off to a great start. Bounce LD and get Michael Ballack back there and see if finally takes a swing at Lalas.

    • KingGoogleyEye says:

      I want to hear EJ’s commentary.

    • Zocklo says:

      Agreed, LD is a lousy interview. Get the sense he wants interview to be over with ASAP.

      BTW, Donovan saying his 32 yo body could not take intense training was to some degree an cop-out. At 32 you lose a little anerobic recovery time etc, but at 32 unless you have had major injuries you still should be at 95% of what you were at 22.

    • GW says:

      Ballack is worth every penny because he so clearly rubs Lalas the wrong way and Ballack , just as clearly, couldn’t care less.

  8. That_Guy says:

    It’s fantastic when you national team coach understands that he cannot get out of the group, so makes a scene with this poo.

    • byrdman says:

      Sorry to be so blunt, but I think you are clueless.

      • That_Guy says:

        What other reason is there to say this? The only people who expect the USA to win the World Cup are buffoons who watch a game every 4 years. A newborn child knows that the USA isnt a real threat to win the world cup. So Klinsy is either a buffoon addressing the 100 people in the world clueless enough to think the USA should win the united states or is saying this for some strategic reason. And I am gonna give Klinsy the benefit of the doubt and assume he is not silly enough to cater to those 100 people.

        • foooo says:

          There’s nothing there that says JK thinks we can’t make it out of the group. He’s a pragmatist, taking it one step at a time. Fans (short for fanatics), by definition, tend to have extreme points of view. It’s all or nothing. We either can’t make it out of the group or we’re going to win the world cup.
          He’s in the rational middle ground. The U.S. has a chance to make it out of the group, so let’s focus on that before we start talking about winning the whole thing.

          • beachbum says:

            or before we start talking about NOT winning the whole thing

          • That_Guy says:

            Of course the USA has a chance to get out of the group. Every team in the World Cup has a chance of advancing. Klinsmann set himself up so if they get out he looks fantastic, but if they don’t its like “eh, I told you so”. That attitude pisses me off.

            “The U.S. has a chance to make it out of the group, so let’s focus on that before we start talking about winning the whole thing”

            I agree with that 100%. That is exactly what Klinsmann should have said. Yet he did not, so I am confused as to why yo uare putting those words in his mouth. He explicitly said we cannot win the world cup.

            Please do not change what Klinsmann said to better support you reasoning. Use the facts and what he said, not a paraphrase that makes your point look better.

  9. matt says:

    The belgium friendly has been cancelled.

    • bryan says:

      just saw that. i guess Belgium is concerned about traffic given the local strikes going on.

      • KingGoogleyEye says:

        Ridiculous! Silly Belgians, relying on standard transportation.

        Looks like our strategy of “total transportation” is paying off. No strike is going to tie up our zeppelin, jet pack, hovercraft, tandem bike peleton, Flying Elvises parachutes, and camel caravan fleet of options!

  10. Steve says:

    The problem with these comments: We undisputably have two top teams in our group. Nobody can really say which of the top teams is head and shoulders above the rest–i.e. there are many top teams, but none of which are far, far superior to the others. After the group stage, you have to beat top teams in one-offs in order to continue to progress. If you draw a team, then you have a penalty shootout that is 50/50. If we cannot beat and/or draw a top team, then we cannot get out of our group. If we CAN beat and/or draw a top team, then certainly we have a chance to continue to progress.

    Therefore, you cannot make the argument that we can get out of our group but we cannot win the cup.

    You either believe you can compete with the top teams and beat and/or draw them, or you don’t.

    • Bitman says:

      The distance between Germany and Portugal is greater than the distance between Portugal and the US (and Ghana). Portugal is not winning the World Cup. Germany well may.

      The US can beat Portugal. Ghana can beat Portugal. I don’t think either can beat Germany in a meaningful match (which makes me hope our game with Germany isn’t truly meaningful for them).

      • foooo says:

        Germany is capable of having a bad match, even at the world cup.

      • Maykol says:

        What makes you think that? Germany is full of world class players, Portugal has a few. Did you watch the last time these two played at the Euros? It was a pretty damn good game. Portugal was really unlucky not to get aresult in that game. Not to mention barely losing to Spain by penalties. What makes you think US is closet to Portugal than Germany to Portugal?

        • Dirk McQuigley says:

          Conditioning and tolerance for heat and humidity will be a factor. In Japan/Korea 2002, there were lots of goals scored in the last 15 minutes of matches. Germany may have a better team on paper than virtually anyone, but Portugal has CRonaldo #7. Look how he single-handedly beat Sweden in the WC playoffs last fall. Didn’t Germany lose to Serbia last WC? They are a very good team but they are beatable. Portugal is a very good team but they are beatable too. Same with Ghana. Look if we don’t make mistakes passing out of the back or defending markers (cough Gonzalez and to a lesser extent Beckerman), we should be alright. Much more pressure on everyone else in our group than us. Ghana is expected to beat us. Germany and Portugal too.

    • KingGoogleyEye says:

      Steve, it doesn’t work like that. This isn’t like flipping a coin, where one toss is not affected by the previous toss and it is possible to land seven tails in a row.

      In this tournament, the USMNT could beat any team—some of which ONLY IF the USMNT plays its hearts and guts and minds out. Unfortunately, the next match comes just a few days later, which is too early for our players to recover and do it all over again.

  11. Wood Chip Zip says:

    I remember Klinsmann’s first day on the job. In his introductory press conference he talked about how Mexico’s team was on a different level from the US. He’s been lowering expectations since day one. It’s easier to be a success that way. Sorry but if you can make it out of a group with Germany, Ghana and Portugal, you can win the World Cup. It’s all just words. No real US fan older than 10, thinks the US can win the world cup, but the American way is we don’t care. We are going in there with confidence that if we give it everything we have, if we work harder than the other team, you never know what will happen. Klinsmann shows he doesn’t get America which is why he shouldn’t be defining who we are as a soccer culture.

    • BookNerd says:

      Well, he said we would have to play seven games of our lives to win the grouo , which is possible. Did you watch the march to Brazil episode last night? Klinsmann has a pretty good idea about America, and he talks about how he is trying to implement it in our playing style.

      • Wood Chip Zip says:

        What I saw last night was a damage control piece by ESPN. After cutting Donovan and the things Klinsmann has said in the media, they need to think about their World Cup TV ratings.

        • BookNerd says:

          I find it absolutely pathetic that one person getting cut makes a person not want to watch the USMNT. I’m sorry, but the team is much more important than one player. He is gone, and bowbits time to focus on the team.

          Also, Klinsmann knows what he is doing. We finished first in qualifying, won the gold cup, record amount of consecutive wins, and has created completion which is great. There is always something behind what people say and I don’t think this is any different. The guy is definitely a master motivator. But, you just doing like am angsty teenager who needs a tin foil hat.

          • Wood Chip Zip says:

            People who don’t otherwise follow soccer are the one’s ESPN would be worried about losing. The ones who have only ever heard of Landon Donovan

          • Fredo says:

            Thanks to Landon we won the Gold Cup. Thanks to Landon we had that winning streak.

            I’m not convinced that Klinsi us a “master motivator” who “knows what he’s doing.” There are still too many questions regarding player selection, formation, tactics, substitutions, and interview comments to settle this right now.

          • Sean says:

            When you say it’s pathetic, I sort of stop and get angry, then stop and think you’re an idiot, then I stop and say “let it go”.

            Landon Donovan has been the shining image of US Soccer for years and he is still killing it, has proven he belongs on the world stage, and deserved this World Cup. We, fans, deserved it also. Collectors of LD trading cards deserved it also. The networks deserved it also.

            What is pathetic is LD not in this World Cup. And, yeah, that makes me far less interested in this time.

            Landon Donovan’s time was coming to an end but it was not yet. And, to have Jurgen Klinsmann be responsible for it is an utter disgrace. Yes, Landon Donovan means that much to me as a fan that I am less excited about this World Cup now. He was, and is, far more exciting (for a hundred reasons) than any other player on the team. And, this is a slight to US fans and after the World Cup, I’m not sure I’m going to tune into the US team until this coach is jettisoned.

            As far as JK’s record, it’s impressive, sure. But, it would be foolish to say that the US pool (regardless of Klinsmann’s additions) is stronger than it used to be and so it’s not foolish to think that the US might be here anyway – rather likely. To unequivocally give JK credit for it is unwise.

            • Sean says:

              “… foolish to say that the US pool ISN’T strong than it used to be…” – correction

  12. Quit whining about soccer in the US says:

    It is just so stup id. The goal is to win the World Cup.

    Do we take it one step at a time ? Sure.

    But after they achieve the first step…goal achieved…but stay motivated, for your non-goals, something you didn’t want to achieve.

    Man, JK went from great choice to terrible very quickly. Maybe that is why they didn’t take Landon, the goal is round of 16. Achieved, let’s go home now.

  13. slowleftarm says:

    I don’t understand why we need to establish a goal in the first place. We want to go as far as we can. First step is get out of the group. Why do we have to decide in advance what is and isn’t possible?

    • beachbum says:

      +1

    • Adam M. says:

      The Group Stage is the tournament within the tournament. You strategize to acheive maximum points while keeping an eye on goal differential. It may be possible to beat Germany, for example, but it may be more likley that trying to hard to defeat Germany will result in us giving up too many goals and getting knocked out. That’s why there needs to be a goal for each game (taking into account prior results, of course), and for the 3 games. That’s what JK means. Get out of the Group, because after the Group Stage, anything is possible.

    • Khaim says:

      Well said!

  14. JakeTheSnake says:

    I have no problem with anything JK has said. The focus SHOULD be on getting out of the group stage.

    One game at a time….

    • Ryan says:

      To take it even further the ONLY focus right now should be beating Ghana. Worry about Portugal and Germany when we get to them.

  15. Nandez says:

    2002, 2009, 2010, The US was born to surprise. #IBELIEVE

  16. bryan says:

    yikes, the Manaus field looks awful:

    link to twitter.com

  17. Chuck says:

    Whether you think you or you think you can’t, you’re right.

  18. DCUPedro says:

    So, this is a much better way of wording it than he was quoted in the NYT.

    In the NYT He said:

    “We cannot win this World Cup, because we are not at that level yet,” Klinsmann told me over lunch in December. “For us, we have to play the game of our lives seven times to win the tournament.”

    I have a huge problem with that statement on a number of levels. To start with, the word “cannot” is stupid for any competitive enterprise, and technically untrue. And of course, the idea that we would have to play 7 “games of our lives” is also pretty ignorant. I mean, hell, we could lose a first round game playing poorly and still be alive. Beating Ghana would not take the “game of our life” and neither would taking a point from Portugal.

    His more recent wording, I’m ok with. Yes, our “goal” is to make it out of the group and then see what happens. Fair enough. Entirely agree.

    He seems to have learned how to handle this question better in the last 6 months. I’m ready to move on. But I’d still love to know what Michael Bradley thinks of this guy deep down.

    • Maykol says:

      Bradley is always defending him and seems that he likes him. Remember when some players were interviewed anonymously? Michael Bradley was disgusted that hos teammates would do that and heavily criticized whoever would make statements like that about their coach

  19. solles says:

    to me its not what JK said thats the issue, we all know it would take a minor miracle for the US to get to the round of 16, you really dont need to say it. to me it would be better for the team as a whole to be saying stuff like “we know it will be hard but we’re going to give it everything” or “no matter how long the odds our goal is to progress as far as possible”. Something that engenders a little confidence. But I suppose that would be very un-German of him.

  20. TrogDor says:

    Delusion and Religion has led to many spectacular failures and the loss of life for man through the eons …

    I know we are in a fever pitch for news and quotes due to the outrageous levels of anticipation for the World Cup, however it takes a steady hand, mind, and plan to shape a successful national program …

    It’s a good thing none of us as fans are in charge, as we would have tanked the US Men’s team and would have lost out of a WC spot in CONCACAF qualifying …

    • Fredo says:

      Please, most of us here could qualify the US out of CONCACAF. I’d venture the USMNT could qualify without a coach.

  21. Nate Dollars says:

    “Contrary to popular belief, Jurgen Klinsmann does not think that the U.S. Men’s National Team has no chance of winning the World Cup this summer.”

    klinsmann from an nyt article a couple months ago: “We cannot win this World Cup”

    franco, your post shouldn’t say ‘contrary to popular belief’. it should say ‘contrary to prior statements’.

    i don’t think this whole thing is that important, but with that lede, it seems that you’re putting the blame (if any) on the media/fans’ public perception, as opposed to klinsmann’s previous statements.

  22. OH NO! says:

    Roberto Martinez as the next USMNT Head Coach!

  23. KingGoogleyEye says:

    Speaking of winning (or not) the World Cup, Kyle Beckerman must hope that Klinsmann never sees this video:
    link to mlssoccer.com

  24. Bac says:

    Poll released by USA Today says fans of 30 of the 32 countries don’t believe their country’s team will win the World Cup…
    Obviously Jurgen must be rubbing off on everyone… let’s burn him at the Stake…

  25. dennis says:

    4 points for every team in group G. Goals will matter!

  26. Joe A. says:

    For once I actually agree with Klinsmann. High hopes alone won’t help this program progress.

  27. Betty Ford says:

    If the USA goes all the way to the final I won’t be getting any work done.

  28. Brett says:

    Set a reasonable goal and challenge the team to defy your expectations in a positive way. Good coaching.

  29. sammysounder says:

    Klinsmann’s great. He draws the media attention and draws the attention away from the team. The media’s going to whine about something, so Klinsmann offers himself up to draw the fire. Its genius.

    Mourinho does the same thing at Chelsea.

  30. Coach says:

    You guys should be realistic, there is no way your team can qualify, you should lower your expectations because your team is made up of mediocre players who cannot stand the test of time

  31. Chris says:

    We need games to start so we can stop debating this crap.

  32. Glenn says:

    There is no reason to keep saying we won’t win the World Cup, tell me something I don’t know. However, IF we get out of the group and IF we pass the round of 16 the anything can happen. A bounce or two and a missed call and we could have been in the semis in 2002. No reason to keep saying we can’t win the world cup.

  33. EA1 says:

    The very best Klinsmann can do for the USMNT is to SHUT UP!