World Cup 2014: USA Preview - A huge test for Klinsmann

Jurgen Klinsmann USA

Jurgen Klinsmann’s United States side will head into the World Cup’s ‘Group of Death’ as the underdogs to escape.

The Perception

The USA are not considered one of the favourites when it comes to the World Cup. However, they pull big results out of the bag and fight hard, as they showed against England in the 2010 tournament in South Africa. Any American side always has a strong team spirit and they’ll be trying to use that to their advantage.

The Reality

It’s going to be an uphill struggle for the USA to qualify in a group, which contains Germany, Portugal and Ghana. Klinsmann’s experience having coached Germany at the 2006 World Cup in front of a home crowd will be vital, as it’ll enable him to prepare his players effectively for the challenges they face.

Strengths

That experience Klinsmann has of World Cups is important and he’ll play on the underdog tag which will be slapped on the Americans. Germany, Portugal and Ghana all have bags of individual talent but Klinsmann will try and level the playing field by encouraging a strong work ethic and team spirit.

Weaknesses

That lack of individual brilliance could cost the USA if any of their group games are tight affairs. Often tight games are decided by a moment of brilliance from a single player and the other three teams in the group all have more individuals who can turn a match in a split second. Klinsmann is also under pressure from the American media, who have got on his back after poor results and each time he’s made questionable team selections.

Key Player

Clint Dempsey has to be the USA’s key player if he’s fit to start the group games. He has experience of big tournaments and of playing top flight football in Europe. He can be Klinsmann’s leader and motivator out on the pitch, which will be important if the group games don’t start the way that Klinsmann will be hoping.

One to Watch

Keep a close eye on Bayern Munich star Julian Green. At 18-years-old, it’ll be interesting to see if Klinsmann gives him a chance to play in three very difficult and imposing group games. He didn’t get much game time under Pep Guardiola at Bayern last season, but he’s one of the few players in the American team capable of producing that moment of magic, which could help them cause a big upset.

Verdict

Expect to see plenty of gutsy and determined football from the Americans. Klinsmann will be challenged tactically as there are some world class players in the other three teams. How he keeps the likes of Germany’s Mesut Ozil and Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo quiet will be interesting to see. If the USA make it out of Group G, then it will be a remarkable achievement.

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