Jul 1, 2014, 12:56 PM EDT
Jurgen Klinsmann made headlines last week when US defender Omar Gonzalez admitted that the coach told his players to switch their families flights home to a time after the World Cup final on July 13, a marked change from his much-ballyhooed and ultimately meaningless comments on the States’ “not realistic” tournament chances.
And his comments seem to be growing in confidence as the tournament moves toward today’s 4pm ET kickoff with Belgium in the Round of 16.
“We’re not thinking at all about the future right now,” Klinsmann said. “We’re thinking purely about the present and we want to go far. We know it’s difficult. This is the hurdle you want to take.
“What comes after the World Cup, we’ll have time to discuss that and looking forward, obviously, you’re always looking at the next generation coming through, but right now it’s all about Brazil.”
The former German national was part of the team that won the 1990 World Cup. He understands what sacrifices his players need to make.
“This is what these guys want to prove and especially as we said the other day, the more experienced players, like Clint, Tim Howard, DaMarcus Beasley, Jermaine Jones, this is the moment,” he said. “You have to embrace that moment and just squeeze everything out of yourself.”
Easy to say when the nation is winning and prospects for a longer run are alive, but Jurgen Klinsmann is conducting his orchestra well in this tournament. The German is making Sunil Gulati and the US Soccer hierarchy looking golden, as he looks for the world’s soccer pinnacle.
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