A best of a 3rd place finish in the FIFA World Cup in 1930 is all that the United States of America have to show in their football history. However, the last couple of decades has seen football or soccer as the Americans prefer to call it; has been on the rise. Having qualified for every World Cup since Italia, 1990; the USA have been consistently appearing at World Football’s biggest stage. A quarter-final finish in Korea-Japan 2002 has been the American’s best finish. In a group comprising of the likes of Germany, Ghana and Portugal; a quarter-final finish seems a bit far-fetched this time around.
‘We won’t win the Cup, because we can’t.’ says Klinsmann
US National Team coach and World Cup-winning German striker Jurgen Klinsmann is a realist. Squashing all unrealistic ambitions, Klinsmann quite simply told the press that his team won’t win the World Cup. The media in America have made it pretty clear that Kilnzmann’s statement riled up the few soccer enthusiasts in the country. USA boss Jurgen Klinsmann, to his credit has admitted the same earlier too; both in December to the New York Times Magazine and in his preliminary press conference ahead of Brazil 2014 that the United States team simply wont win the World Cup because it cannot. Prior to the opening fixtures in Brazil, Klinsmann kept to his word and didn’t backtrack off his comments when asked about his team’s chances of winning the tournament, saying that the team needs to keep its collective feet on the ground and firstly, keep focus on getting out of the group and from then on in; then “the sky is the limit.” The Americans having to face Ghana, Portugal and Germany in the group; and then on possibly Belgium, Argentina, Spain or Uruguay then Brazil or Germany on route to the final in the World Cup, face the toughest road any nations faces this year. Add to those fixtures the 9,000 miles of travelling between fixtures in the heat of Brazil; Klinzmann does have a point.
One of the best players of his generations Jurgen Klinsmann was part of the World Cup winning West German side in 1990. Having already tasted the pressures of the World Cup during his stint as German boss during Germany 2006; Klinsmann has named a very exciting American side for the World Cup.
In goal, The experience of Tim Howard of Everton who Klinsmann regards as one of the top 5 goalkeepers around is backed up by the likes of Brad Guzan of Aston Villa and Nick Rimando of Real Salt Lake of the MLS.
A comparatively inexperienced defence led by the 116 capped Da Marcus Beasley of Puebia FC (Mexico) and Geoff Cameroon of Stoke City. Alejandro Bedoya of FC Nantes of the French Ligue 1, Matt Besler of Sporting Kansas City and Fabian Johnson of 1899 Hoffenheim in the Bundesliga are the experienced campaigners in the squad. Timmy Chandler of FC Nurenberg, John Brooks of Hertha BSC both of whom ply their trade in the German Bundesliga and the 20 year-old De Andre Yedlin complete the American defensive contingent.
20 year-old former AS Roma midfielder Michael Bradley will man the American midfield with support from the likes of Jermain Jones of Besiktas of the Turkish Superliga and Mix Diskerud of Norweigan giants Rosenborg. Experience in the midfield is provided by the likes of Kyle Beckerman of Real Salt Lake and Graham Zusi of Sporting Kansas City playing in the MLS. Teenager Julian Green of FC Bayern Munich of the Bundesliga and 23 year-old Aron Johannsson of AZ Alkmaar of the Eredivise provide the creaitivity and fearlessness of youth in the National Squad.
American superstars Clint Dempsey now playing for the Seattle Sounders and Jozy Altidore of Sunderland in the Premier League will lead he line for USA with support from the likes of the experienced 31 year-old Chris Wondolowksi of San Jose Earthquakes.
‘Landon Donovan was just not good enough.’ – Klinsmann
The largest shock in selection was the omission of American all-time top-scorer Landon Donovan. The 32-year old was part of the probables at the national team camp but was left out by Klinsmann when he announced the 23-man squad. All-time USA goal-scoring leader Landon Donovan spoke out to the press about his snub from the FIFA World Cup squad, saying he “absolutely deserved” to be going to Brazil. “I’m disappointed. I’m sad,” Donovan said. “I’m human and I wanted to go. I really wanted to go. I respect the decision, but I just feel in my heart that I deserve to be there and that’s the pill that’s hardest to swallow.”
The former Everton man was a key component of the previous USA squads for the previous World Cups. USA boss Jurgen Klinsmann defended his decision to keep the all-time American top scorer Landon Donovan out of his squad, saying the 32-year-old striker simply was not good enough. “The other strikers we see that inch ahead of him,” Klinsmann said. “We feel those guys are a little step ahead of Landon in certain areas. That’s why we made that decision.” The experience of the prolific scorer might just be what the US lack in a group with the likes of Ghana, Germany and Portugal.