Swedish defender Olof Mellberg recently announced his retirement from football after a career spanning more than a decade of top-level football. Since making his debut in 1996 with Degerfors IF, Mellberg had gone on to represent the likes of Aston Villa, Juventus, and Villarreal. After one year spell at Copenhagen, he has decided to hang up his boots. The 36-year-old retired from Swedish international duty in 2012 after 12 years of service. During this period, he made 117 appearances for the national team.
Paris St Germain superstar Zlatan Ibrahimovic says that Mellberg is the greatest defender to come from Sweden. Ibrahimovic is widely regarded as one of the best players in the world. Mellberg will be extremely delighted to hear of such a glowing praise from Ibrahimovic. The Sweden national team has a number of ageing players and the retirement of Mellberg once again things this into concern. Ibrahimovic recently stated that he was extremely worried about the future of the national team considering that a number of their important players are above the age of 30.
Ibrahimovic himself is at the latter end of his career at 32 years of age. The former Juventus striker has 98 appearances for the Swedish National team and he is close to reaching the tally set by Mellberg.
"The day Olof Mellberg decided to quit the national team it was a great loss to Swedish football and the team. But to me personally it was an even greater loss. When I had him on the team I never had to look back because I knew he was behind me and I could concentrate on what was going on up ahead. Olof was the person that trigged and challenged me. This drove me to want to do more on the pitch,” said Ibrahimovic about the former Aston Villa man.
The United States go to the World Cup 2014 after having done extremely well in the recent major tournaments. Hence, expectations of US at the World Cup 2014 are higher than what they were a few years ago. Despite this, manager Jurgen Klinsmann has suggested that the US will not be able to lift the World Cup title in the Brazil edition. Currently, bookmakers do not have much close odds on the US winning the title. After having dropped star players like Landon Donovan, Klinsmann is adopting a new approach for the national team.
This also includes a new 4-4-2 formation with a diamond in the middle. Due to such aspects, Brazil will be tough for the national team according to Klinsmann. He has also recalled that the group stage draw is not exactly kind to them, as they will face former world champions Germany along with heavyweights like Portugal and Ghana. The US reached the last 16 at the World Cup 2010. An achievement of this result would be considered as a success by Klinsmann, although deep down, he would be wanting to reach the latter stages of the competition.
United States also did extremely well at the recent Confederations Cup 2013. They also have players in a much better physical condition than those European counterparts. “We cannot win this World Cup, because we are not at that level yet. For us, we have to play the game of our lives seven times to win the tournament,” said the former German national team manager. He surprised everyone by leaving out LA Galaxy star Landon Donovan, who has been part of the last three world cups. His experience could have been vital, but it seems that Klinsmann is now looking at younger players and is working towards the future of the team.
Jurgen Klinsmann has provided a couple of surprises after he has announced his preliminary squad for the World Cup 2014. The US national team manager has left out a couple of names like Eddie Johnson, who were expected to be part of the squad. Johnson will now miss out on the World Cup like he did in the 2010 edition. He came to prominence during the 2006 World Cup when he was just a 22-year-old. Many expected him to become the face of the US football for the next decade, but it looks like he will have to settle with just one World Cup experience.
Klinsmann has left the DC United midfielder, who has scored no goals in the 8 appearances he has made this season. However, his form has been a major reason behind DC United moving up the table in the last few months. The omission is surprising considering that Klinsmann praised several aspects of the midfielder like athleticism only after the friendly matches against Panama and Mexico. The move from Seattle Sounders, though, appears to have gone against him in terms of World Cup qualification. Johnson is believed to be the fifth the choice midfielder behind the likes of Clint Dempsey and Michael Bradley.
“The way I want to build the puzzle for the 23-man roster, I see those players competing ahead of the curve. But I always recognize Eddie’s value and strengths overall. Not only by scoring very important goals and getting us to Brazil, but he’s a player who can make a difference within a second of being on the field. It was a very difficult decision based on what he’s done with me the whole time, and now not getting that chance at the last moment, it’s a tough one on him,” said Klinsmann.
England have been dealt a major blow with the news that Southampton’s Jay Rodriguez will not be fit for the World Cup 2014 after suffering a serious injury, which will see him remain on the sidelines for at least the next six months.
The 24-year-old has been spoken of as a potential contender for the World Cup squad, which will be announced by manager Roy Hodgson shortly. He has done exceedingly well in the friendly matches that he has taken part over the last few months, while he has been an integral part of the Southampton team that has been doing exceedingly well under Mauricio Pochettino.
Rodriguez has already scored 17 goals for Southampton and he was recently handed his debut against Chile, which ended in a win for England. This latest injury news is not good for Hodgson, who is already struggling without a number of key players. The likes of Theo Walcott will not be available for the World Cup while some candidates are seriously out of form right now. England need all the best players available in order to have any chance of progressing to the knockout stages of the tournament.
This is primarily because they have a tough group in which they will be coming against Italy and Uruguay.
“Southampton Football Club can confirm that, following his injury on Saturday against Manchester City, Jay Rodriguez has been diagnosed as having suffered a rupture to his anterior cruciate ligament. This will keep him out of action for six months and regrettably means he will not be fit for selection by the English national team at this summer’s World Cup in Brazil,” read a statement on Southampton’s official website.
Southampton director Les Reed claimed that the player was extremely disappointed with this news, but he is looking to get back as soon as possible.
Aside from his managerial duties, Jurgen Klinsmann has been promoted to become the technical director of US soccer. This role will allow the former Bayern Munich man to shape up the entire system starting from the youth academy.
He is also working extremely hard to prepare the team for the upcoming World Cup 2014. United States were expected to be a major force at this tournament, but such dreams have taken a step back after a tough draw in the group stages. The US will not only be up against former world champions Germany, but Portugal and Ghana will also be their group opponents.
There is a lot of possibility that the US may not even reach the knockout stages of the competition, but Klinsmann has already come up with excuses if the national team fails to do so. He says that the players should also be held responsible if they failed to reach the knockout stages.
Klinsmann is aware of the competition and threat posed by other sports like basketball and baseball for the huge population of youngsters in the country. He says that not reaching the quarter-finals of the World Cup will be a huge opportunity missed for the nation, as it would mean the loss of a whole generation.
“If you miss an easy shot in a game, you want the player to go to the supermarket or the butcher shop the next day and have a fan ask them why they missed that shot. We’re not there yet. But in the big leagues in Europe and South America, if you miss a shot, you’re held accountable for it. Then you don’t miss it anymore. This is something that will grow over time. The more it grows, the more often fans see (players) in the street and tell them, ‘You were crap yesterday.’ And this is important,” said Klinsmann.
The US national team manager Jurgen Klinsmann says that winning is all that matters when it comes to the World Cup. His team are expected to be one of the dark horses for progression to the latter stages of the competition.
However, they have been given a tough draw at the World Cup after being grouped along with Germany, Portugal, and Ghana. All three teams have the chance to finish in the knockout stages, which makes it difficult for Klinsmann. As a result, he has adopted a 'win at all costs' policy ahead of World Cup.
After going through a difficult period under his regime a few years ago, Klinsmann appears to have found the perfect combination in order to get the results. The US team will be coming into the World Cup after having suffered just one defeat in the last five matches. Their recent friendly match against one of the World Cup qualified teams – South Korea – ended in a 2-0 victory for the Americans. They have two friendlies scheduled between now and the start of the World Cup. It will be against Ukraine and Mexico.
Ghana will be the first opponents at the World Cup and they will be followed by matches against Portugal and Germany.
"We started to work on it as soon as I took the job on and we went into the final phase of qualifying for Brazil 2014 convinced that we’d have to score late goals to get results and away from home too. In football you need to have special players to get special results and if you don’t have those players, like Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo, then you have to look for a way of compensating, by working as a team and having a winning mentality," said Klinsmann to FIFA's official site.
The United States national team recently returned back to the country after a short training camp in Brazil, which has offered a lot of insight into the challenges that lay ahead of them according to manager Jurgen Klinsmann.
The US will be one of the teams participating in the World Cup 2014. They have been given a tough group in the form of opponents like Germany and Portugal.
Despite this, Klinsmann has been sounding confident of progressing to the knockout stages. The US have done well in major tournaments and Klinsmann says that it will hold them in good stead.
He has also revealed that he took numerous trips to cities hosting the World Cup where he had a look at the various facilities. Brazil have been criticised for lacking in the preparation for the World Cup. Klinsmann has acknowledged that the competition is going to be far from ideal for the players, but has said that it should not mean that they should get anger at the facilities. Heat and humidity will be a major test for the players in the location where the US team will be based for their matches.
Klinsmann has selected Manaus as the base for the camp and he says that apart from the heat, it is absolutely gorgeous place. He also said that the stadium was also equally good.
“It was really helpful these two weeks for the team, but also for everybody involved with U.S. Soccer to experience our team base hotel in Sao Paulo, to train at the Sao Paulo FC facility, to meet the people, to get around the city and get a feel for it. I personally went up to Natal, to Recife. I went on the way back to Manaus to check the facilities there. We have a much better picture now of what to expect and what will challenge us," said Klinsmann.
Former German star Jurgen Klinsmann has said that the England national team should at least reach the quarter-final stage of the World Cup 2014 in order to live up to the status of being one of football's top teams.
England are regarded as the founders of the game and they have won the World Cup once in their history. However, the last few decades have been very difficult for the England national team, as they have not managed to win any major trophy. They have also failed to get past the quarter-final stage in the last few major tournaments.
As a result, expectations are low about England doing well in Brazil. Klinsmann reckons that if England do not do well at the World Cup 2014, then they may not be regarded as one of the top teams in the coming years. Klinsmann is currently the manager of the US national team, who have qualified for the World Cup under his guidance. He also had a very successful spell as the national team manager of Germany during the 2006 World Cup. Klinsmann was speaking ahead of the friendly match with Scotland.
"It's a must to go in to at least the quarter-final. It's as simple as that. They are definitely one of the powerhouses still in the world of football but they've got to prove it. The way you put expectations on the German team is 'at least the final'. That's the expectations now because of that golden generation they're bringing through," said the former Tottenham striker to the BBC.
Klinsmann is widely known for his spell in England with Tottenham. His German international team are regarded as one of the strongest in the world right now.
England were recently defeated in the friendly match with Germany 1-0 to follow with the 2-0 defeat against Chile a few days ago.
At the start of the campaign, Mexico were expected to comfortably qualify for the 2014 World Cup, but it has proven to be a nightmare for the nation after losses against lower level opposition. Mexico are in danger of missing the World Cup following the latest defeat at the hands of Honduras.
They will be taking on the United States in another key match. Rather than take advantage of the poor form shown by Mexico, Klinsmann has said that he expects Mexico to qualify for the World Cup at the end. This is likely to be the start of crucial mind games between the two managers.
Klinsmann will be hoping to come out on top after the end of the mind games. Mexico come into the match in the fourth position behind the likes of Honduras and United States.
The US themselves are not in a great position because they only second in the table behind Costa Rica. The trailer leaders by one point and will be hoping to take the leaders or at least maintain the gap after the end of this round of fixtures. Mexico have managed just one victory in the last five World Cup qualifying encounters. Thus came an end to the managerial reign of de la Torre, who was retained after much displeasure following the Confederations cup.
“I said it already in the summer, just stay calm and Mexico will get their points. Hopefully not obviously tomorrow night. But in general they will get their points and also if things go wrong for them tomorrow night, they will still get their points. Even if they have to go through the fourth place theoretically, they will qualify for this World Cup. Mexico will go to the World Cup," said the former Bayern Munich midfielder ahead of the match.
The United States midfielder Stuart Holden has suffered a number of serious knee injuries in the past few years, and manager Jurgen Klinsmann has said that there could be a repeat of the same.
The United States recently managed to lift the 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup. However, this success was not fully celebrated by the manager, who took off Holden after just 23 min on the clock in the final. After the match, he said that the player had to be taken off because he appeared to have suffered an injury that could be very serious.
Even though Holden left the pitch on his feet, Klinsmann has said that the initial prognosis is not looking good for the player. The 27-year-old is regarded as one of the best players for the national team, but he has not been available for the manager to choose since taking over the national team a few years ago. This is due to a succession of injuries that have limited his ability on the pitch. Holden had a collision with Panama midfielder Alberto Quintero after just 20 min on the clock. This collision proved to be more than just another incident in the match, as it resulted in the player being replaced.
Holden suffered his first major injury back in 2011 and since then he has played just five matches for his club. He has been with the US national team without any major injuries only for the last two months. His club Bolton Wanderers have been relegated to the second division of English football without a player of his stature in the squad. He will not be returning to his club in order to undergo treatment and it is further bad news for Bolton manager Dougie Freedman, who is expected to get the club challenging for a promotion spot.