International Football

Why Jurgen Klinsmann Is Wrong to Doubt USA's World Cup Chances

CLEVELAND, OH - MAY 29:  Head coach Jurgen Klinsmann of the U.S. Mens National Team smiles after their International Friendly match against Belgium at FirstEnergy Stadium on May 29, 2013 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Matt Sullivan/Getty Images)
Matt Sullivan/Getty Images
Joe TanseyFeatured ColumnistSeptember 30, 2013

The United States men's national team has gone under a brilliant resurgence during the two-year coaching reign of Jurgen Klinsmann

Klinsmann has the American soccer-viewing public believing that this is the team that can bring joy and ecstasy to the nation during the 2014 FIFA World Cup instead of the usual disappointment and heartbreak. 

However, United States fans were thrown for a loop last weekend during halftime of the Seattle Sounders vs. Los Angeles Galaxy matchup on the NBC Sports Network, when Klinsmann made some rather interesting remarks.

When asked by NBC Sports Network anchor Russ Thaler about his team's chances of winning the World Cup in Brazil next summer, Klinsmann was brutally honest. 

Some, including this soccer scribe, believe that this statement was a rallying tactic used by Klinsmann to further motivate his side as they push ahead toward Brazil. 

Others took the comments as a sign that American soccer still has a ways to go despite being in the middle of the best era of American soccer ever. 

Klinsmann has plenty of world-class players at his disposal now with Michael Bradley, Clint Dempsey and Landon Donovan leading the charge. 

Michael Bradley is the player who drives the United States midfield with his consistent play.
Michael Bradley is the player who drives the United States midfield with his consistent play.Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Some of the players that Klinsmann will take to Brazil with him will have played at the 2010 FIFA World Cup, where the Yanks crashed and burned in the round of 16 against Ghana, just days after one of the most celebrated goals in United States history was scored by Donovan against Algeria. 

Not only does Klinsmann have the firepower to work with, but he also has instilled a winning mentality in the American camp. 

Instead of sitting back and holding a one or two goal lead in matches, the United States now has a mentality that no amount of goals is good enough. This attacking impetus drilled into the Yanks by Klinsmann has added a new dimension to the squad that was not seen under the previous tenures of Bob Bradley and Bruce Arena. 

Klinsmann's United States team has also won against major European sides on a consistent basis, a trend that can be credited to an aggressive schedule-making process that would make a major Division I college football coach cringe. 

By beating the likes of Germany—albeit it was their "B" team—Italy and Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Americans have also gained a sense of confidence in matches against major sides from the power continent of the sport. 

The first goal of the United States at the World Cup will be to accomplish qualification for the knockout round, something that is expected every four years now, but after that, the possibilities are limitless. 

As we have seen from the last few World Cups, a team that is not favored to make it past the round of 16 can go on a miracle run to surprise the world. 

However, for the likes of South Korea and Turkey in 2002 and Uruguay in 2010, they fell short of reaching the final and their Cinderella stories were quickly forgotten once the Jules Rimet Trophy was handed out to one of the globe's top soccer powers. 

Based on the way they have been playing over the last calendar year, the United States have the potential to do one better than all three of those teams mentioned above and reach the final. 

And, as we all know from previous finals in major competitions, once you reach the final, anything can happen, including proving your manager wrong and winning the 2014 World Cup. 

 

Follow me on Twitter, @JTansey90.

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