Jun 22, 2014, 8:35 AM EDT
U.S.A vs. Portugal is fast approaching, and supporters are likely experiencing a mix of equal parts nerves and excitement. A win, preferably a comfortable one, is obviously the desired result, as it will put the USMNT into the knockout stages for the second straight World Cup.
Despite Portugal’s capitulation against Germany, with Pepe’s sending off leading to an eventual 4-0 loss, any side possessing arguably the world’s best player is going to be tough to beat. Cristiano Ronaldo had 31 goals in 31 La Liga games this summer, and although he’s still carrying a knock, the Real Madrid forward remains dangerous.
But Jürgen Klinsmann remains confident that his side will be able to seize the moment, using the match against Portugal as a chance to really showcase U.S. soccer.
“This is now the moment where you can prove yourself,” Klinsmann said. “This is now the moment that you can step up and play those guys and put them in place. We want to put Cristiano [Ronaldo] and his team in place.”
However, while fans may be dwelling on Sunday’s match, pouring over articles on tactics and arguing on social media over the starting lineup, Klinsmann and his players will be spending the day trying not to over-analyze their opponents. Instead, they will be focusing inward, on the team’s own talents and capabilities.
Tim Howard said that, after Saturday morning, Klinsmann would be refusing to talk about Portugal any more. The goalkeeper said, “That gives us a long time to really just focus on ourselves. All of today with training, all of tomorrow, we won’t speak about Portugal or look at video anymore. It’s done.”
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