Join Now  | 
Home About Contact Us Privacy & Security Advertise
Soccer America Daily Soccer World Daily Special Edition Around The Net Soccer Business Insider College Soccer Reporter Youth Soccer Reporter Soccer on TV Soccer America Classifieds Game Report
Paul Gardner: SoccerTalk Soccer America Confidential Youth Soccer Insider World Cup Watch
RSS Feeds Archives Manage Subscriptions Subscribe
Order Current Issue Subscribe Manage My Subscription Renew My Subscription Gift Subscription
My Account Join Now
Tournament Calendar Camps & Academies Soccer Glossary Classifieds
Comparison game between 2014 and 2010 (or 2002) is a bit premature
by Ridge Mahoney, June 30th, 2014 2:46AM
Subscribe to Soccer America Confidential

MOST READ
TAGS:  men's national team, world cup 2014

MOST COMMENTED

By Ridge Mahoney
(@ridgemax)

Has by surviving the “Group of Death” the U.S. national surpassed the feats of the 2010 team, which won its group and fell to Ghana, 2-1, in the round of 16 on an overtime goal?

One might think so, given the waves of relief and euphoria expelled when the final whistle sounded Thursday and the standings showed Germany atop Group G and the USA second, via the goal-difference tiebreaker, with Portugal third and Ghana last.

Belgium is next up Tuesday in the round of 16 and a victory in that match would equal the team’s showing in 2002, when it beat Mexico in the first knockout phase to reach the quarterfinals. So the 2014 team has yet to face the hurdles of its predecessors, and if to make proclamations at this stage is premature, well, perhaps that’s a backlash on all the gloom and doom that ensued once the draw was made in early December.

Still, the comparison game is fun to play -- if a bit premature -- as the players relish the unprecedented support back home and sees Americans fans everywhere in Brazil. So far, most of the moves made by head coach Jurgen Klinsmann have worked out well, and a few of the six players who return from the 2010 team believe this edition has more in the tank.

“I think we’re playing better,” said keeper Tim Howard when asked about the differences from 2010. “I see it from the back, our ability to open teams up, to possess the ball, to get at teams has been a big difference.

“Germany aside -- this was a tough game, they had a lot of possession and were always going to have a lot of possession -- I thought our passing movements have been good, I thought we’ve created chances, whether it’s been one or two today or a host of chances in other games. I really do think this team is better equipped to possess the ball and press teams.”

The Americans didn’t press Ghana much after they stunned their opponents by scoring in the first minute, then harried and harassed Portugal relentlessly after falling behind in the fifth minute. Against Germany, they faced a foe capable of pressing or falling back, so they should be tuned up  to handle or impose just about any tempo required against Belgium. Whether they have the talent and skill is another matter, yet the players realize this is an excellent chance to punctuate the progress they’ve seen.

“We showed a lot of character, in terms of how hard we’ve fought throughout the whole tournament really,” said forward Clint Dempsey after the 1-0 loss to Germany “We continued that even into the last game. We’re not happy with the result in terms of losing the game, but I think that we deserve to go through to the next round and I’m excited about the possibility of getting to knockout stages which we always wanted to do. The fact that we were able to get out of a very difficult group shows the belief that we had in ourselves.”

Much of the confidence expressed by Howard stems from Klinsmann, of course. He has mixed sunny optimism with stark statements of how unrealistic it would be to expect the USA to win the World Cup. Former head coach Bruce Arena did something of the sort in 2002; from the first day of the World Cup preparation camp, he told his players every day: "We can beat Portugal.” And that’s precisely what happened in the group opener that the Americans won, 3-2, after stunning the Portuguese with three first-half goals.

Arena also provided his players with the training and instruction and tactics to achieve that goal, and Klinsmann has steered his team through a tough group in similar fashion. There’s still a pervasive underpinning of being the underdog that the players have turned into motivation.

“Before this tournament started, no one was talking that America can come to the next round,” says Jermaine Jones in reference to dire predictions from journalists and pundits. “It was always Portugal and Germany. We showed people that we have a good team and we have a good atmosphere in the group. Everything that the coach did before the tournament, who he sent home and who he took for the team, I think was a good decision. The team showed heart and gave good feedback,”

Klinsmann has followed the game plan regarding Belgium: his mixed messages acknowledge the difficulty of advancing while putting it firmly in the past. “We still can do better,” he said after the Germany game. “We got through the group, but we have to do better in the round of 16 and we will do better.”


5 comments
  1. Scott O'connor
    commented on: June 30, 2014 at 10:28 a.m.
    The 2014 team beats the 2010 team in a match, no question. The 2002 team vs 2014 team would be an interesting match-up....
  1. Mark Hardt
    commented on: June 30, 2014 at 10:38 a.m.
    I don't think we can defend constantly and expect for Belgium not to score. We need to be proactive as Klinsman has talked about but not necessarily put into play. Towards that end I would recommend either start Yedlin or add a second striker choosing from Wondo or Johannssen.
  1. cisco martinez
    commented on: June 30, 2014 at 11:32 a.m.
    The 2014 is much stronger as a team than 2010, especially defensively, we are more compact, good shape and balance, our midfield is alot stronger defensively, Bradley played a traditional 4-4-2, Klinsmann's formations have shifted 4-2-3-1, 4-4-2 diamond, and to a absorb pressure and counter on a 4-3-2-1. The only criticism of Klinsmann is not having Donovan and what Klinsmann already acknowledged, lack of creativity.
  1. TK TK
    commented on: July 5, 2014 at 1:18 p.m.
    This world cup worst than last for us.
  1. TK TK
    commented on: July 5, 2014 at 1:18 p.m.
    Played better defense is all we can say. Not good.

Sign in to leave a comment. Don't have an account? Join Now




AUTHORS

ARCHIVES
FOLLOW SOCCERAMERICA

Recent Soccer America Confidential
If the song remains the same, how can it be rewritten?    
Thumped by Argentina in a Copa America Centenario semifinal, the U.S. will nonetheless take positives from ...
Stepping on toes? That's not the solution to improving U.S. soccer    
Do you wonder what kind of advice Jurgen Klinsmann was giving his players during their loss ...
USA reaps benefits of South American opposition    
Reaching a Copa America Centenario semifinal against Argentina to be played on Tuesday is being hailed ...
USA has reason to celebrate but suspensions sure take edge off big win    
First, the good news from Thursday night in Seattle. The USA's 2-1 victory over Ecuador, which ...
Centenario group phase serves up plenty of spectacle, drama, and controversy    
When big teams like Brazil and Uruguay fell prone to lapses, other nations took advantage to ...
Guzan seizes chance for No. 1 shirt    
Seven straight games including all three at the Centenario have featured Brad Guzan in goal; he ...
Berliner John Brooks takes charge of USA's defense    
Just three years ago, John Brooks, born and raised in Berlin but the son of a ...
USA's 'musts' for Paraguay game if it isn't 'must-win'    
The Copa America Centenario results to date are mirror images of what occurred in March, when ...
May Clint Dempsey long play for the USA    
Hard to believe, but as recently as January there was speculation about whether Clint Dempsey would ...
How Klinsmann can fix his midfield    
I'd suggest for Jurgen Klinsmann, after opening the Copa Centenario with a 2-0 loss to Colombia, ...
>> Soccer America Confidential Archives