Unrealistic to expect U.S. to win World Cup

  • By Ronald Blum Associated Press
  • Wednesday, June 11, 2014 11:18pm
  • SportsSports

SAO PAULO — American fans decked out in red, white and blue watched their team’s lone public training session in Brazil, cheering and seeking autographs.

Jurgen Klinsmann maintains they shouldn’t expect the U.S. to lift soccer’s top trophy for the first time July 13, even if that stance upsets some.

“I think for us now, talking about winning a World Cup is just not realistic,” the American coach said Wednesday during his first news conference in Brazil before the tournament. “First, we’ve got to make it through the group. So let’s stay with our feet on the ground and say let’s get that group first done, and then the sky is the limit.”

The Americans open Monday against Ghana, the team that eliminated them from the past two World Cups, then play No. 4 Portugal and FIFA Player of the Year Cristiano Ronaldo. They close group play against three-time champion Germany, the world’s second-ranked team.

Odds makers peg the U.S. chances of winning the title at 250-1.

Klinsmann won the 1990 World Cup as a player for West Germany and coached Germany to the 2006 semifinals. He caused a stir last weekend when he was quoted by The New York Times Magazine as saying in a December interview “we cannot win this World Cup, because we are not at that level yet.”

Klinsmann, who has lived in Orange Country, California, for most of the past 16 years, was accused by some commentators of having an un-American mentality.

Mix Diskerud, the 23-year-old midfielder with a Norwegian father and Arizonan mother, took Klinsmann’s remarks as a challenge.

“That’s an opportunity for us to prove him wrong,” he said.

Midfielder Alejandro Bedoya said Klinsmann has been “optimistic with us since Day 1, and there’s nothing short of confidence in him and his belief in us.”

Just eight nations have won the World Cup, all from Europe and South America. Brazil has a record five titles, followed by Italy (four), Germany (three), Argentina and Uruguay (two each), and England, France and Spain (one apiece).

“Look, we haven’t won a World Cup before, so you can’t go into the World Cup saying, ‘Oh, we have to do what we’ve done in the past,”’ forward Jozy Altidore said. “You come here obviously with that dream in the back of your mind.

“(But) let’s not be silly. At the same time you have to be realistic and understand there are some teams that maybe are a bit more favored than we are obviously to win the tournament.”

The Americans enter ranked 13th, nine below their record high in April 2006. Their best World Cup finish was at the first tournament, when they reached the semifinals in 1930.

This is the seventh straight World Cup appearance for the Americans, who failed to qualify from 1950-90.

“I think we are every year making another step forward,” Klinsmann said. “We don’t look at ourselves as an underdog, even if a lot of people want to put us as the underdog. In this very difficult group, we’re not. We’re going to go in there and take the game to Ghana … Hopefully the people see an exciting game and us as a winner at the end of the day. And then we go from there.”

Midfielder Jermaine Jones, one of five German-Americans on the 23-man roster, isn’t focusing on the public debate.

“It’s not important what the people outside say. It’s important what is inside of the group,” he explained.

More in Sports

Hall-of-Fame voter says Edgar Martinez worthy of induction

The Mariner great is one of 10 players ex-Herald baseball writer Kirby Arnold voted for this year

Jr. Silvertips try to nail down league title

Everett’s 16U midget team can clinch the crown this weekend in Minnesota.

‘Braveheart’ helps UW men’s basketball salvage road trip

The film rejuvenated the Huskies, who beat Colorado on Saturday after Thursday’s loss at Utah.

Monroe High’s Monique Fierke looks for the basket during drills at practice on Thursday, Jan. 18, 2018 in Monroe, Wa. Fierke is the leading scorer for the Bearcats. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
Q&A with Monroe’s Monique Fierke

It didn’t take long for Monique Fierke to make a good impression… Continue reading

Monday’s prep stars of the night

Paris Smith, Cascade bowling Smith, a junior, rolled a 383 series with… Continue reading

BLOG: Fonteyne, Hart feted while Sutter and Wylie earn recognition

The Everett Silvertips didn’t skate Monday. But the organization still turned in… Continue reading

Everett Jr. Silvertips 16U standings, stats and schedule

Here’s the details about the team in first place heading into the NAPHL’s final weekend.

POLL: Evaluating the Seahawks’ assistant coaching changes

Which change — offensive coordinator, offensive line coach, defensive coordinator — is biggest?

Monday’s prep results

Here are Monday’s prep results, with links to recaps: BOYS BASKETBALL Wesco… Continue reading

Most Read