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The World Cup of multinationals
by Paul Kennedy, June 12th, 2014 10:25PM
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TAGS:  americans abroad, germany, ghana, men's national team, mexico, portugal, world cup 2014

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[BRAZIL 2014]Jermaine Jones says he won't celebrate if he scores against Germany, but he is happy to be part of the U.S. national team that includes seven players who were born or raised abroad. They are not alone. Dozens of players represent countries other than those in which they were born or raised, making this the most multinational World Cup in history,

Group G Multinationals:
USA
John Brooks, born and raised in Germany
Timmy Chandler, born and raised in Germany
Mix Diskerud, born and raised in Norway
Julian Green, raised in Germany
Aron Johannsson, raised in Iceland
Fabian Johnson, born and raised in Germany
Jermaine Jones, born and raised in Germany

GERMANY
Miroslav Klose
, born in Poland
Lukas Podolski, born in Poland

GHANA
Albert Adomah, born and raised in England
Andre Ayew, born and raised in France
Jordan Ayew, born and raised in France
Kevin-Prince Boateng, born and raised in Germany
Adam Larsen Kwarasey, born and raised in Norway

PORTUGAL
Eder, born and raised Guinea-Bissau
Nani, born in Cape Verde Islands
Pepe, born and raised in Brazil
William Carvalho, born in Angola

Jones is the elder statesman of the group of five German-Americans on the U.S. World Cup, the first to play for the USA, in October 2010, 10 months before Jurgen Klinsmann was named national team coach. He says the increasing representation of players raised abroad hasn't changed the dynamic in the national team.

“I would say before it is the same way it is now," he told reporters. "I don’t think it’s important if it’s five German-American or only two German-American. We are part of the group and we have a good group and everything is good. Everybody’s happy to play this World Cup. It’s not a big deal if you are German-American or Icelandic-American or Norwegian-American. You are American and you try to make the best on the field.”

Jones is the only one of the players to have played for Germany at the senior national level, so he is thankful for the opportunity he got from Coach Joachim Loew.

“If I score against Germany, I will not celebrate," he said. "I think it’s in respect, and I grew up in this country. It gave me a lot. I had my first caps for the national team in Germany. And I’m really happy that [Loew] gave me this chance, so I will not celebrate if I score. If somebody else scores, they can celebrate.”

He said the German-American players have been assimilated into team.

"Sometimes you can feel it from outside," he said. "The 100 percent American guys get more focus than the German-Americans, but we know how to handle that and sometimes it’s funny. It’s no problem for us.”



Not all teams have been able to easily assimilate players from other backgrounds. At the 2010 World Cup, Algeria, which the USA played and beat in its final group match, included 17 players who were born and bred in France. Players were given the national anthem on an iPod so they could learn the song and look like they knew what they were singing when cameras panned them in the pre-game ceremonies.

In 2014, 16 of Algeria's 23 players were born in France not just to Algerian or French parents, but also parents from Congo, Italy and Tunisia. The African teams at the World Cup all have strong European influences. Ghana, which the USA faces Monday, has players born and raised in England, France, Germany and Norway. Cameroon has players born in France and Germany, and Ivory Coast has players from France and Norway. Nigeria star Peter Odemwingie was born in Uzbekistan to a Nigerian father and two other Nigerians were raised in England.

Mexico, which opens against Cameroon Friday, has two players -- Isaac Brizuelaand Miguel Ponce-- born in California. Both moved to Mexico as infants. Bosnia-Herzegovina (Vedad Ibisevic), Honduras (Roger Espinoza and Andy Najar), Iran (Steven Beitashour) and Japan (Gotoku Sakai) all have players either born in the United States or attended U.S. high schools.

Injuries robbed three other players with U.S. ties -- Costa Rica's Rodney Wallace, Italy's Giuseppe Rossi and Nigeria's Bright Dike -- the chance of playing in the World Cup.

One of the keys to Spain's hopes of defending its title is Brazilian-born Diego Costa.


7 comments
  1. Karl Schreiber
    commented on: June 12, 2014 at 11:37 p.m.
    Good to see our 'hyphenated American' players pay respect to our flag and even try to sing along for the National Anthem. BUT: What about Altidore???????
  1. Mark Hardt
    commented on: June 13, 2014 at 8:56 a.m.
    Chandler looks like ARnold Schwarzenegger who is the ultimate immigrant rising to Governor.
  1. Errol Young
    commented on: June 13, 2014 at 9:26 a.m.
    You missed most of the Brazilians who play for other countries... Most notable are Diego Costa ("traitor" born and raised in Brazil playing for Spain), Eduardo and Sammir (both born and raised in Brazil playing for Croatia), et al... see the following: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/worldviews/wp/2014/06/13/world-cup-group-b-traitor-diego-costa-returns-to-brazil/
  1. Thomas Brannan
    commented on: June 13, 2014 at 10:32 a.m.
    Everyone in the 23, and the coaches, should know the words the Star Bangled Banner. Let's see if they do.
  1. ROBERT BOND
    commented on: June 13, 2014 at 2:04 p.m.
    out of character for Green to be nice....Miroslav & Lucas had fathers with German fathers, can be German citizens under Germany's Napoleonic Code(not an option for me, my Opa was through my mom)...Messi had much more excuse than Costa to play for Spain, played for the country he only spent the first 3rd of his life........
  1. ROBERT BOND
    commented on: June 13, 2014 at 2:05 p.m.
    Khedira & Oezel never sing......
  1. John Hofmann
    commented on: June 13, 2014 at 2:14 p.m.
    This is actually somewhat, listening to this 'debate' about national anthems (among other things). For years, whenever I've watched the pre-game ceremonies before USMNT games, I've been amazed at the number of players, on both sides, who have not appeared to be singing their respective national anthem. Another 'manufactured' issue...

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