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U.S. players told to change their families’ flights home from Brazil

Jun 29, 2014, 7:47 AM EST

United States' Gonzalez celebrates their victory over Mexico in their FIFA World Cup qualifying soccer match in Columbus Reuters

Jürgen Klinsmann was blasted by U.S. media – and by more than a few fans – for saying it was “unrealistic” to expect the United States to win the World Cup. But has the coach changed his tune? It seems he’s now much more upbeat, and has even told his players to change their families’ return flights from Brazil, believing the USMNT will make it beyond the Round of 16.

Defender Omar Gonzalez spoke about Klinsmann’s attitude toward the rest of the tournament:

Jürgen has been nothing but positive. He’s telling us, he’s telling our families to change our flights to July 14th, 15th, because we’re going to be here until the very end. So that just speaks volumes to how positive he is, how much he believes in this team, and obviously it trickles down to all of us. That means that we’re all as confident as he is, and that we all believe in this team. We plan on being here a few more weeks.

The United States plays Belgium on Tuesday. Should they advance, they will meet the winner of Argentina vs. Switzerland. With Argentina expected to challenge for the cup, it says a lot about Klinsmann that he’s putting so much faith behind his side.

Then again, this tournament could have more to do with preparation and less to do with true talent levels. At least, that’s what midfielder Michael Bradley seems to believe:

You get to this part in the tournament and it’s clear that [it is about] whoever prepares better, whoever’s more committed on the day, whoever makes more plays over the course of 90 minutes, whoever’s willing to have a group of guys on the field who fight and are so determined to come off the field a winner…Those are the things that count.

The USMNT will have had a full four days rest after losing to Germany in their final group stage game. Will that lead to better preparation? Is Klinsmann right to have encouraged families to change their tickets? Will the optimism exhibited by the team be what lifts them to the next round?

  1. nottinghamforest12 - Jun 29, 2014 at 9:06 AM

    It’s nice to see Bradley is inventing reasons why we should excuse the fact he has been awful this tournament.

  2. mfmaxpower - Jun 29, 2014 at 10:06 AM

    And when exactly were their flights booked prior to this?

  3. rmccleary97 - Jun 29, 2014 at 12:26 PM

    I am so tired of hearing the “Klinsman said it was unrealistic … did he change his tune?” thing. Klinsman was absolutely right – expecting the U.S. to win in 2014 was (and still is) unrealistic. The path is potentially Belgium, Argentina, Netherlands, and Brazil/Germany, and the Germany game showed exactly how far we are behind the top teams in the world at this point in time. Beating Belgium is doable; after that, things start getting dramatically harder. It’s like asking last year’s Stanford to go through Missouri, Oklahoma, Michigan State, and Florida State in a 16-team tournament to win a national title.

    • reformed2012 - Jun 29, 2014 at 4:38 PM

      Put that in perspective, you are only FOUR wins away from the biggest trophy in sports.

  4. txbearmeat - Jun 29, 2014 at 2:47 PM

    IF (and I don’t think they will) the US manages to beat Belgium, there’s very little chance of getting by Argentina or the Netherlands. Now is the time that the top European teams (and usually Brazil) take over.

    Sigh… Hope the US can join the ranks of the truly elite in 2018.

  5. handsofsweed - Jun 29, 2014 at 9:02 PM

    I love it. It’s the Soccer version of “Burn the ships, Bjern. We’re either going home with our shields high or entering Valhalla on them.”

  6. cbooker927 - Jun 30, 2014 at 8:42 AM

    Reblogged this on bookedtilllater and commented:
    That’s the attitude we need from a head coach!! Time to make our run.

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