Four years ago, the USA reached the knockout stage with a 1-0 win over Algeria. This time, it advanced through the back door with a 1-0
loss to Germany. Still, U.S. players feel the team has improved from four years ago.
“I think we’re playing better," said goalie Tim
, one of only three players who started in both games." 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.” Clint Dempsey
, another holdover from 2010, said the players have always believed in themselves even if most gave them little chance.
"I thought we put in
a lot of work, showed a lot of character, even at times when weren’t playing the best ball," he said of the Germany match. "I thought we played really well last game. This game they had most of
the possession. We were trying to keep shape, trying to do a better job when we got the ball to catch them on the counter and try to be a little bit better in the attacking third with our final
passes. We just weren’t as sharp as we needed to be to get a goal today.” Photo: Perry McIntyre/isiphotos.com Jermaine Jones
, one of the standouts in group play, said the USA's advancement demonstrated the quality of the team.
“Before this tournament
started," he said, "no one was talking that America can come to the next round. 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. Now for the next
game, it’s the same tough game like Germany. They have a lot of experienced players, good players from different good clubs. It’s a knockout game and we have to see it like final."
The match featured a collision in the second half between Alejandro Bedoya
“It was just a weird collision," said Bedoya. "I
had the ball and knew what I wanted to do next, but I didn’t really see him actually and we just collided. I guess it looks pretty bad on TV. I’m doing alright. I guess my head hit his
nose so I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s broke.”
Jones said he thought his nose was broken.
“I don’t remember very good what happened," he said,
"if we come head on head or head-on-shoulder. The feeling was I think it’s broken. We’ll have to see when we come back to Sao Paulo what is with my nose. If I try to breathe now, I have no
chance to breath. I feel that it’s broken, but we have to wait for what the doctor says.”