Thursday, December 12, 2013
Bravo to the U.S. soccer federation for acting fast before people are all down on the men's national team this summer at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. Today, they rightfully rewarded head coach Jurgen Klinsmann (27-10-7) with a contract extension through the 2018 World Cup in Russia. The key footnote to the deal is that he also becomes the team's technical director.
Odds are that his first World Cup with the U.S. next June will be a forgettable one as they face the formidable task of advancing out of Group G which features Ghana, Portugal and Germany-all unquestionably great squads. Even if the Americans get embarrassed, Klinsmann is still the best man for the job. I'm not saying he's the greatest coach in the world (that's so subjective anyway) but let's agree that the U.S. couldn't do any better.
Changing the culture around the team and youth programs take years and a few cycles of World Cups to see any progress in a sport that usually moves at a glacial pace (hello goal-line technology). Klinsmann is young, full of energy and his coaching and playing resume speaks for itself. So far his players seem to respond positively to him, they have to realize how lucky they are to have an outsider rather than some MLS or god forbid U.S. college coach.
With all the Americans have success around the Globe, we have plenty to be proud of when it comes to soccer these days. Still, I'll maintain that Klinsmann is the best thing to ever happen to the USMNT. He will have as good a chance as any to turn us from a middling team to a powerhouse more in line with our country's size (yes I realize we have a million sporting options unlike most other countries).
Friday, December 6, 2013
So who's looking forward to the 2018 World Cup in Russia? I can't remember being more depressed about a sporting event that is still seven months away than this afternoon when the 2014 World Cup draw was unveiled in Brazil. The three teams in your group are absolutely vital to the non-superpower teams so that's why the fact that the U.S. men drew Germany, Portugal and Ghana was a stroke of unbelievably bad luck.
I could care less about the method that shady FIFA came to this conclusion, I feel bad for U.S. fans that have already dropped thousands of dollars to book their trips to crime-infested Brazil. Haha stay safe guys! The U.S. meets Ghana (a team that in the 2006 group stage eliminated them and knocked them out in the 2010 round of 16) in a must-win to open play on June 16 in Natal.
There is no mystery to how the Americans will advance. They have to beat Ghana which has clearly proven to be a tough task then they somehow need to draw with either Portugal on June 22 in Manaus (a rain-forest city) or June 26 vs. Germany in Recife. Seeing Cristiano Ronaldo face the U.S.' clownshow backline should be good for some laughs. I won't say that Portugal is a tournament-favorite because as someone with Portuguese heritage, I can tell you that they always choke. For that reason, the U.S has a better chance to tie them. Germany is always a heavyweight so in this setting, I give Jurgen Klinsmann's team zero chance to do anything positive against his countrymen.
And this has been your 2014 World Cup update. I will still watch every game that I can since I maintain this is the best sporting event in the world and it only comes once every four summers. However, I have already come to the conclusion that it'll be a short stay for the U.S. Nevermind if they will get any points in Brazil, will they score any goals is a more relevant but super negative thought stuck in my mind.