Jurgen Klinsmann's World Cup Realism Could Work Against the USMNT

Tre' AtkinsonFeatured ColumnistJune 13, 2014

United States' head coach Juergen Klinsmann attends a news conference before a training session at the Sao Paulo FC training center in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Wednesday, June 11, 2014. The U.S. will play in group G of the 2014 soccer World Cup. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
Julio Cortez/Associated Press

The United States have absolutely no chance at winning this World Cup. At least, that is what manager Jurgen Klinsmann has said on multiple occasions at this point.

In a recent interview with ESPN, the coach reiterated his statements saying: "For us now talking about winning a World Cup, it is just not realistic. If it is American or not, you can correct me".

On the surface, what Klinsmann is saying is basically the truth. Despite the U.S. having significantly improved over the last few years, they still are not at the level that would lead anyone to believe that will actually win the World Cup.

Truth be told, anything can happen in the game of football. America can win the tournament, because everyone has a chance. Just, realistically, it isn't very likely at all.

Julio Cortez/Associated Press

The problem is that isn't something that the manager should be saying right as the biggest tournament on the planet kicks off.

In the culture of football, honesty is a common thing. Managers will always admit when an upcoming game should be extremely difficult or claim that their side are massive underdogs, but that isn't what Klinsmann said.

No, the U.S. manager claimed that America cannot win the tournament and left it at that. 

He didn't go on to say that they will fight anyway, or even that they will look to prove the doubters wrong. Klinsmann simply stated that his side are not ready to win and that was that.

Understandably, many Americans were highly upset with the German coach for showing such negativity. One of the greatest American players in history, Landon Donovan, even discussed the statements on ESPN and made it clear that he disagrees completely with Klinsmann:

This will come as a surprise to nobody, but I don't agree with Jurgen. As someone who's been in that locker room, and has sat next to the players, we agree with the American Outlaws — 'We believe that we will win.' I think that's the way Americans think. I think that's the sentiment.

Going into this World Cup, everyone is aware that the USMNT don't have much of a chance of winning. To put it lightly, the entire planet would be in shock if the U.S. left Brazil with the trophy.

In all honesty, Klinsmann is a very smart man. This is likely a tactic that he is using to set a fire under his players and get the country to rally around the Yanks in Brazil. But it may not work that way.

Richard Drew/Associated Press

American fans always believe that nothing is impossible and normally like to see positivity. Though what Klinsmann said was true, fans didn't want to hear that from the coach.

Klinsmann's motivational tool may have just backfired. 

The beloved manager who has overseen such a great era of U.S. soccer is now being questioned. The fans are unsure of his aspirations heading into this tournament, and some are wondering if he was given a contract extension too soon.

In truth, unless these statements put a fire under the players, which spurs them on to great performances in the group stage, Klinsmann has done nothing but given up before the World Cup could even begin.

In football, one of the biggest jobs of the manager is to motivate players. Either Klinsmann just did that with what he said, or he's killed any chance of a wonderful showing in Brazil.

When it all comes down to it, no team can give up without a fight. Even in the most unfair contests, positivity and the will to fight back is what makes miracles. Maybe Klinsmann doesn't know how Americans generally respond to negativity, or maybe he's purposefully chosen his words very carefully.


Is Klinsmann just being honest, or is he trying to motivate? Do you have a problem with his statements at this point? Leave your thoughts and comments below!