The group stages for the 2016 Copa Centenario were completed a few days ago with all the nations being drawn in different groups, some of these nations had a fairly better draw as they were pitted against teams that have a less competitive squad but there are others that had things much more difficult and one of these was the United States team who will have to face off against Colombia, Costa Rica and Paraguay in Group A.
Group A is considered to be one of the harder ones out of the entire bunch. United States are the hosts for the 2016 Copa Centenario and this gives the American squad the privilege of being able to avoid nations such as: Mexico, Argentina and Brazil but even though Jurgen Klinsmann and his team were able to dodge these teams, they were still placed in a tough group.
Colombia and Costa Rica both managed to reach the quarter-finals of the 2014 World Cup while Paraguay is another squad that won’t be so easy to defeat either.
This isn’t the first time that United States has been placed in a difficult group as they experienced something similar during the 2014 World Cup where the American team had to play against Germany, Portugal and Ghana and managed to secure the 2nd spot which was enough to advance into the round of 16.
Jurgen Klinsmann is aware that his team was drawn against tough opponents but the German coach remains optimistic that his squad will be able to advance through the next rounds, especially after their latest team-building Man Utd Stadium Tour, as he said: “Obviously it’s a difficult group, no doubt about it, but qualification out of the group is doable. We had a similar scenario in Brazil and we went through. Now we start with Colombia right away instead of Ghana. Would we like an easier group on paper? Maybe, but no group is easy either. We’ll take it the way it is. We’ve done the same with Brazil, and we’re doing it now too. We'll go out there and give it a go."
The first match of United States for the Copa Centenario is scheduled to take place on June 3 as they face off with Colombia in American soil at the Levi’s Stadium.
The United States national football team routinely sets up a winter training camp where players from the national team are taken to a specific place and work together for around 1 month or so.
Taking into consideration the time in which this training camp is scheduled to take place, it’s always incredibly difficult for the coach of the American national side to put high profile players or performers of big European clubs in this training session and Jurgen Klinsmann has instead opted to go for some of his younger players.
This period of time is an ideal moment for the players who don’t usually get called up for the first team of the national team to step it up and prove their worth.
Jurgen Klinsmann named a group of 23 players which have an average age of 24; these are the younger performers that the German coach included while some of the more veteran and experienced players include: Michael Bradley, Matt Besler and Jozy Altidore, all of which are U.S regulars.
The U.S national team has friendly matches against Iceland and Canada which are scheduled to take place on January 31st and February 6th respectively. The Under-23 side of the American team also has an important match to play against Colombia and this training camp will help them in this upcoming Olympic playoff game.
When Jurgen Klinsmann was asked about his team selection for the winter training camp, the German coach replied by saying: "This will be more of an identification camp and a development camp. We want to give those players a head start into their very busy year 2016, but we also want to make it clear to them that it's a huge opportunity that you have here to understand what it takes to step it up and to become an international-level player."
The U.S national side managed to make it past the group stages of the 2014 FIFA World Cup which was a fairly difficult group that had Germany, Portugal and Ghana but were ultimately knocked out in the Round of 16 after losing 1-2 against Belgium. Klinsmann is hoping that he can do better with his team in their upcoming competitions.
Don Garber, the MLS chief, says he does not provide any directions to Klinsmann as to whom he should be selecting and whom not, but, being a supporter of the American team, as anyone else, he also has the right to put forward his views.
In one of his interviews, Garber had expressed his disappointment about the fact that most of the players who had made it to the MLS XI of the season this year had not been considered for selection by Klinsmann at all.
But, according to him, he did not make that statement in his capacity as the chief of the League.
Clarifying his point, the 59-year old said, “I am a supporter of the national side and I believe the likes of Dax, Benny and a few others, they have been really consistent playing in MLS for past some time and it would be really exciting if they get a look in at the international level.
“But, having said that, I would like to make it clear that there are no influences whatsoever on the national manager in the selection matters. We all are entitled to our views, but, at the end of the day, it’s his decision only and nobody has a say in that.”
“As far as my relationship with him is concerned, there are no issues. It’s alright for two individuals to disagree on certain topics. Everyone’s point of view can’t be the same. But, what’s important for you is to fulfil your responsibility and we both are trying to fulfil our responsibilities as well as we can.”
“Our job profiles are different. He is working in the best interests of the American national side, while, I am looking to make regular improvements in the League.”
Jurgen Klinsmann was a disappointed man after his USA team were sent crashing out of the Gold Cup on penalties against Panama.
USA were seen as one of the favourites to win the competition after having recently excelled in major competitions like the World Cup 2014. However, the team has been displaying inconsistencies in form at this tournament. After starting out with a narrow victories over the likes of Honduras and Haiti, a 1-1 draw against Panama in the earlier rounds do not inspire a lot of confidence. This aspect has been confirmed by the defeat on penalties following a 1-1 draw.
The team finished top of the group with seven points from the three games. However, a 2-1 defeat against Jamaica ended their aspirations of lifting the title. Still, Klinsmann was feeling confident due to the possibility of finishing as the third placed team. Even those hopes have evaporated after this defeat against Panama. Mexico have gone on to win the tournament. This is undoubtedly a major setback for Klinsmann, who appeared to be heading on the right path only a few months ago. He will now have to work on re-energising the team for the future tournaments.
USA managed only two shots on target throughout the game.
This game today had a weird feeling for both sides. We wanted to just to make sure nothing bad really happens there and let’s just get it done. I’m not blaming any players if mistakes were made. That took the wind out.
That’s normal. That’s fine. There was always a sense of being uncertain what would happen next. … There was kind of this feeling that was there from the beginning in this tournament that you always wonder what would happen,” said the manager after the defeat. USA next take on Peru in a friendly in September.
European football has always been considered to be the place where the best players and clubs are located and competing in. The Premier League, Serie A, Bundesliga and La Liga are the top ranked football leagues.
The American League, Major League Soccer on the other hand is not known to have this same type of quality compared to their European counterparts. MLS is a much younger league and it is certainly growing at a quick pace but it’s still very far away from being categorized in the same level as European leagues.
One of the main reasons of why Major League Soccer is still not considered to be at the same level as the European clubs and leagues is due to the world class players that are competing in America compared to those who are in Europe.
All the best players have dreams of competing and getting into a top class club such as: Real Madrid, Barcelona, Bayern Munich or any of this nature and a trend that is increasing is that when a player reaches a certain age, they opt to make a move to the MLS and even at a fairly elevated age, those players are still regarded to be at a higher level than the ones who are homegrown in USA.
Jurgen Klinsmann is the head coach of the United States national soccer team but the German coach has also been in charge of Germany and Bayern Munich. The 50 year old manager has unveiled his opinion in what are the main weaknesses and strengths in American players and what limits them from not being world class.
When Jurgen Klinsmann was asked about the main limitations in American football, he replied by saying: “Reading the game ahead is something we still need to work on.
Tactically understanding certain elements like playing a high line and shifting quickly from defense to attack and back again. Staying always connected with each other. The mental alertness, to not switch off this still needs work. But this comes with experience and competition. So the more experience and competition they get, the faster it will come. The more they will become consistent.’’
Jurgen Klinsmann again found himself on the receiving end the other night versus Denmark.
It was the same sort of situation when he had to explain things to the journalists why his team fell short.
And, the journalists had actually every right to demand an explanation from Klinsmann because it was a game which was well and truly in the pocket of the Yanks.
To throw it away from the position that they were in, they needed to display some very, very poor skills which they did.
If you are leading 2-1 when the game reaches its last 10 minutes, you can’t be losing that game. It’s as simple as that.
This has actually become a bit of a habit as far as the USA side is concerned. They give away their advantage rather too easily.
In the last 5 games that they have played, they have been beaten 4 times. It’s not that they have been outplayed in those games. It’s just the consistency which they have failed to show for the entire length of the game.
There was no way that Nicklas Bendtner should have been allowed to find the net twice in a span of 8 minutes to change the whole scenario at the end. It was just loose, pretty loose from USA.
Speaking in the press conference later on, Klinsmann said, “Late goals always hurt a lot. When you have a grip on the match, you have to keep it till the very end and it’s all about concentration you know. You can’t be taking it lightly at any point. If you drop your concentration a little bit and get slow, all of a sudden you will find you are in trouble as happened tonight. We lost it from a winning position.”
The United States had some tricky encounters during the recent January training camp held by manager Jurgen Klinsmann. The former Germany manager has dismissed concerns that his players have not been performing well since the World Cup.
He says that this was something natural given that most of them having given more than 100% during the tournament. Since the exit from the World Cup after extra time defeat by Belgium, the US has been able to get only two victories in the friendly matches against Czech Republic and Panama. The rest of the friendly matches have ended in disappointing defeats.
It does not bode well for the upcoming friendlies against Denmark and Switzerland. In fact, the US have lined up a number of friendlies between now and the start of the next major tournament. Klinsmann says that he is not worried about his team being unable to recapture the form that they showed during the World Cup. Klinsmann is confident that the team will be able to get back to their best ones the competitive matches come round the corner. The German has been criticised for introducing a number of German-American players into the team, but it has definitely been showing an effect with improved results when it matters the most.
“There was a natural drop by a lot of players because the World Cup, this biggest thing you can play in your career. So for whatever reason we had a drop in many areas and paid some results for that. I think we’re going to kind of come out of that little valley and pick it back up because obviously now we have another goal on the horizon with winning the Gold Cup, qualifying for the Confederations Cup in Russia in 2017 this is huge. And with the fact that we’re going to host Copa America in 2016,” said Klinsmann.
Jurgen Klinsmann feels that United States midfielder Michael Bradley is a perfect fit for the attacking midfield position.
The US international has been playing as a defensive midfielder or as a central midfielder for much of his career. This switch to an attacking position at a time when many feel that Bradley is at the peak of his powers could fail to get the best out of him.
Klinsmann, though, sees the ideal qualities of an attacking midfielder within Bradley. Since making his debut for the US team in 2006, Bradley has featured in 91 international matches.
Yet, he has never been regarded as a renowned goal scorer. Players like Landon Donovan and Clint Dempsey have been seen as the main goal scorers for this US team. The 27-year-old played in 27 league matches for Toronto FC last season. He managed only two goals from these matches. Yet, it appears that Klinsmann is choosing Bradley is the attacking midfielder not for his goal scoring ability, but for his ability to make a decisive pass. After the retirement of Landon Donovan, it is expected that Klinsmann may promote Dempsey into more of a striker role. This will free up space in the midfield that is expected to be occupied by Bradley.
“The role that he ideally plays for me as a coach is an advanced role on the field, where he gets close the opponents’ 18-yard-box, gets into the 18 yards — maybe scores the goals, maybe plays the decisive ball — and has these building moments and connects the dots higher up the field.I think we had a extremely good World Cup. In a group of death that everybody said ‘You had no chance’ we made it out of that group, leaving Portugal with the best player in the world behind, and Ghana,” said Klinsmann.
Brazil defender Thiago Silva has admitted that he is still haunted by the memories of the World Cup 2014 in which his team capitulated in extraordinary circumstances in front of their own supporters.
Brazil had dominated the way to the semifinals of the tournament. However, they took on Germany without two of their best players – Neymar and Thiago Silva. It clearly showed after they had ripped apart 7-1 by the impressive German team who went on to lift the title. Apart from this setback, Brazil also suffered more embarrassment in the third-place play-off after losing by a heavy score against Netherlands.
The unimaginable defeats immediately prompted the Brazilian football Federation to act. This led to manager Luiz Felipe Scolari losing his job. They have gone back to their former coach Dunga, who led them during the 2010 World Cup.
Results in the last few friendly matches have been extremely good under Dunga. Neymar is playing an ever increasing important role within the team. Silva is reportedly on the verge of losing his captaincy, but the Paris St Germain defender is largely haunted by the demoralising defeat. Silva has not played for Brazil in the last four matches, but this absence has been due to an injury.
"It's a scar. It's hard to forget.Many people say that they do not think about it, but I do not know if that's true.I think about it. It's inevitable. But the important thing is to have tranquillity.Football is exciting because one minute you lose and the next you win.But the way we lost [during the World Cup] was not right.Neymar is a great friend.My friendship with him will not change at all because of this situation," said Silva. Brazil are preparing to face Turkey in a friendly match.
The head of Major League Soccer, Mr. Don Garber, is very upset with the things said by the USA national team manager Jurgen Klinsmann in the press of late.
In one of his press conferences recently, Klinsmann had said that the American footballers should continue playing for the European clubs rather than making their way towards their homeland to play in MLS.
According to Klinsmann, playing in MLS is not helping the players at all in terms of form and fitness and he, as a manager, is also finding it difficult to put together a high quality team.
Garber seemed to be absolutely furious with Klinsmann. He reckons that by making all these statements, the national boss has not only damaged the reputation of the league in America, but, has also sent a negative signal to the players.
Speaking to a television channel correspondent last evening, Garber said, “I just don’t agree to what he has said. We have all seen that the game standard in MLS over the recent times has been pretty high and if a player is a part of this league, it doesn’t mean his form would get affected in an adverse way. It’s completely wrong to say that.”
“As chief, it’s my responsibility not to let the reputation of the league fall down at any cost. I would condemn any unfair statement made against MLS, no matter who has made that statement.”
“Jurgen has to learn what to say and what not to say when being in public. This kind of situation is not good for anybody, be it the league organizers or the national federation.”
Klinsmann has been the USA manager for the last 3 years. The Yanks have played more than 50 games under him.