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.
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.