USA coach Jurgen Klinsmann said to not expect the United States to win the World Cup in Brazil.
“You have to be realistic. Every year we are getting stronger,” Klinsmann told reporters in Brazil. “We don’t look at ourselves as underdogs. We are not. We are going to take the game to Ghana and they will take it to us and it will be an exciting game and then we go from there. For us now talking about winning a World Cup, it is just not realistic. If it is American or not, you can correct me.”
Klinsmann also told reporters countries like Germany and Brazil expect a title, but the sentiment doesn’t pervade the United States, where few Americans care about soccer as fans do elsewhere.
Klinsmann faces backlash. Landon Donovan, cut from Klinsmann’s roster, points out America beat Germany 4-3 in a friendly in 2013.
“This will come as a surprise to nobody, but I disagree with Jurgen,” said Donovan. “I believe it and I think all of America believes we can do it. In my opinion, Germany’s one of the best teams in the world, and if we can beat Germany, why can’t we [advance from the group]?”
The US plays their first game on Monday against Ghana, a team that knocked out America in the last two World Cup tournaments. The game airs at 6PM ET on ESPN. The World Cup begins on Thursday with Brazil vs. Croatia at 4PM ET on ESPN.