USA captain Clint Dempsey has reiterated that their recent friendly results count for nothing as the side arrive in Brazil ahead of the World Cup.
The US managed wins over Azerbaijan, Turkey and Nigeria in their final three warm-up games, but the former Tottenham Hotspur and Fulham man has stressed that the tournament will be on an entirely different level.
‘We were able to get three wins in the send-off series but it’s different when you come down to the World Cup and play in these games,’ Dempsey said. ‘We’ve got to make sure we’re ready and now I think we are.’
The USA face a tough task progressing from their group, having been drawn alongside Germany, Portugal and Ghana, the latter knocking the side out of the last 16 at South Africa 2010.
With star forward Landon Donovan controversially left out of the squad by manager Jurgen Klinsmann, Dempsey stands out as one of the team’s most experienced players and, along with Michael Bradley, arguably their most important.
Set to play in his third World Cup, the then-MLS forward arrived in England in December 2006 to sign with Fulham, where he would go on to become the first American player ever to reach 50 Premier League goals during his five-and-a-half seasons at the club.
After scoring 17 times over the course of the 2011-12 campaign, Dempsey was hotly pursued by Liverpool's American owners that summer, before eventually earning a £6 million move to Tottenham on transfer deadline day.
The 31-year-old would have just one underwhelming season at White Hart Lane before surprisingly returning to the States for a lucrative deal with the Seattle Sounders.
Briefly re-joining Fulham on a two-month loan last December in order to maintain his fitness during Seattle’s off-season, Dempsey has been one of the stars of the 2014 MLS season so far and will be hoping to carry that form into Brazil with the US men’s national team.
Should he inspire the side to an upset in daunting Group G, many may be left wondering whether the veteran playmaker in fact left the Premier League too soon.