Jun 6, 2014, 8:38 PM EDT
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Much has been made of how the United States is going to line up in Brazil with the players Jurgen Klinsmann has selected.
Will they play a 4-2-3-1 or a 4-4-2? Will he use a diamond or a flat midfield? How far will the outside backs venture? Will there be cover?
Jurgen hears plenty of this noise in the background, and to him, it’s all just that – noise.
“All these discussions about the systems are actually not up to speed anymore,” Klinsmann told reporters at a press conference at EverBank Field Friday. “The systems are not the key like they were 10 or 15 years ago.”
Parading Spain’s charge to Euro success two years ago as an example, Klinsmann argued that every system on the field now-a-days is meant not only to have strengths and weaknesses, but to cover up said weaknesses by being flexible enough to adapt minute by minute during a match, and the players must now have the ability to play in multiple areas.
“It changed with the best teams in the world, led by Spain,” Klinsmann said. “They made every system look stupid because they came up with a 4-6-0 and everybody said ‘how can you do that? Not even Torres is out there!’ Well, they beat everybody because three or four midfielders became strikers, and then they go back and the other ones became strikers, and it confused everybody. So I think the trend is definitely going to go away from the system discussion, and you have a whole team that knows how to support each other and how to create going forward.”
Focusing back on the United States, there has been plenty of speculation about which players will start in Brazil, and much of the discussion for or against individuals has been backed by how well they play in certain formations. But as Klinsmann puts it, the formation isn’t as important as the teamwork the players display.
“There are pro and cons [to the diamond midfield] like with every system. It doesn’t really matter what shape we have or what system we have, it matters how we connect with each other on the field.”
And in that department, the team has a long way to go, despite how close we’ve come to the start of the World Cup.
“We’re still in the building phase. We still have 10 days to go [until the US opens with Ghana], so we’re not done now with all the work we have to put into their legs, and into their minds…and it will still go on until after our little Belgium scrimmage in São Paolo. And the players know that, and they know we still have to work work work until they are ready to go.”
Part of that teamwork Klinsmann wants to see involves defending. The back line was suspect against Turkey a week ago, and had the Turks taken advantage (which they didn’t), the scoreline could have been a lot worse.
But instead of saying the defensive unit must improve, or the center backs need to communicate more, he pointed the finger at everyone – literally – saying the communication and the coordination must be there, not just on the attacking end.
“We are still in the middle of the process to defend as a whole team. That’s the whole team, starting with Jozy up front, and then the next one in line, and that’s what we’re trying to do tomorrow.”
Midfielder Kyle Beckerman echoed that sentiment without being prompted, saying a formation is more for what happens at the back than working forward.
“When you’re in a formation, it’s mainly a defensive starting point,” Beckerman said. “It’s just a point of reference for when you need to get back into a shape and back on the ball. But obviously you have to be able to adapt on the field.”
So whether you prefer Beckerman or Jermaine Jones in the midfield, whether you prefer Alejandro Bedoya or Brad Davis on the wing, whether you prefer Fabian Johnson in the midfield or defense…all of these are based on formation. And if you take what the US coach said to heart, throw all that out the window, because he’ll take on-the-field chemistry over a good formation any day.
And while that’s definitely an over-simplification of the journey the US faces in Brazil, there’s certainly something to be made of that. With a mountain ahead of the Stars and Stripes, a mountain fraught with danger in the shape of Ghana, Portugal, and Germany, chemistry is something we’ve seen over the last two weeks as something that without a doubt needs improvement.
Let’s hope all the tinkering Klinsmann has done with the squad just weeks ahead of the big dance won’t prove him a hypocrite.
Jul 22, 2014, 5:30 PM EDT
Hand on shoulder, hair-coiffed, warm smile… next! Becks makes the rounds on the United’s U.S. tour.
Jul 22, 2014, 5:00 PM EDT
There have been reports of where the 32-year-old American left sider will not be going, but little as to where he will.
Jul 22, 2014, 3:56 PM EDT
For every “stars… they’re just like us” moment a player gives you, there are moments like this, which will not happen to 99.9999% of us at work in our lives
Jul 22, 2014, 2:22 PM EDT
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Jul 22, 2014, 2:04 PM EDT
Yeah. This is actually happened… as Stoke pull off a major coup.
Jul 22, 2014, 1:34 PM EDT
Guardiola: “He trains well, he’s a good guy and my first idea is that he’s going to stay for the rest of the season.”
Jul 22, 2014, 12:56 PM EDT
Will Lovren become the third Saints player to join Liverpool this summer? If the price is right, it sure looks that way.
Jul 22, 2014, 11:51 AM EDT
Where will Rodriguez line up next season for Real? Here’s an in-depth look at the options.
Jul 22, 2014, 10:56 AM EDT
Second time around, Dunga will lead Brazil’s new era.
Jul 22, 2014, 10:05 AM EDT
What do you get for $107 million in today’s world? A red-hot 23-year-old Colombian striker, that’s what.
Jul 22, 2014, 9:25 AM EDT
Klopp says Hummels is not for sale… not at the price reported anyway.
Jul 22, 2014, 8:51 AM EDT
James is officially a Real Madrid player.
Jul 22, 2014, 8:42 AM EDT
Douglas Costa: “We all run a deadly risk if we are in the region.”
Jul 22, 2014, 7:49 AM EDT
Will the Colombian winger be heading to Old Trafford this summer?
Jul 22, 2014, 12:10 AM EDT
23-year-old will complete his $107 million move and be introduced at the Santiago Bernabéu.
Jul 21, 2014, 11:09 PM EDT
A Davies-for-Sigurdsson swap and the purchase of the Ecudorian winger will give Garry Monk a glut of options in attacking midfield.
Jul 21, 2014, 10:04 PM EDT
While six World Cup stars will miss the tour, the Citizens still bring a talented squad to the U.S.
Jul 21, 2014, 9:25 PM EDT
The Spanish midfielder is expected to return to Spain this week to finalize his departure from the club.
Jul 21, 2014, 7:58 PM EDT
Honduran midfielder will miss six to eight months.
Jul 21, 2014, 6:51 PM EDT
Group is pushing for a $160-$200 million venue, claiming to be on MLS’s “short list.”
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