June 24, 2014
By Michael Lewis
NO COLLUSION HERE
Klinsmann: We are going to try to win, not play for a tie
Big Apple Soccer Editor
SAO PAULO, Brazil -- It's no secret that U.S. national coach Jurgen Klinsmann and his German counterpart Joachim Low are good friends.
After all, Low was Klinsmann's assistant when he guided his native Germany to third place at the 2006 World Cup.
But Klinsmann was adamant when asked if there were going to be any strategy to help both teams to clinch a spot in the World Cup's second round when the sides meet in Recife on Thursday.
If fact, Klinsmann has no plans to talk to his friend before kickoff.
"There's no such call. Jogi's doing his job," Klinsmann said after the USA tied Portugal in Manaus on Sunday night. “We're such good friends. I'm going my job. There is no time to have friendship calls. It's about business right now."
Later, Klinsmann addressed that scenario again.
"Our goal is to go to the next round, so we will do everything in our capabilities to go into the next round," he said. "I’m not thinking about what goes on in other people's minds and situations. It’s about what’s important to us, so we’re going to take our game to Germany and give everything we have, give them a real fight.”
The upcoming USA-Germany confrontation brought back memories of what transpired at the 1982 World Cup. West Germany played Austria in a controversial match and a "disgraceful" result. West Germany needed a win and Austria needed to lose by only a goal for both teams to advance. The West Germans recorded a 1-0 victory over Austria that denied Algeria, which had recorded two wins, a spot in the second round.
"It is a draw that is decades away, only a part of Germany history," Klinsmann said, dismissing the possibility.
Klinsmann said the American mentality was not to play for a draw.
"I don't think we are made for draws, unless it happens like tonight," he said. "Both teams want to win the group. We want to … win the game, get seven points and be in the driver’s seat for the Round of 16. That's our goal."
When a reporter brought up the possibility of collusion, U.S. Soccer president Sunil Gualti sounded quite insulted.
"That might have been the mentality in 1982, but that is not the mentality of the U.S. team," he said.
He said that in the last two World Cup qualifying competitions, the USA scored deep into stoppage time in the final game to deny two teams shots at the World Cup. That was Costa Rica in 2010 (when Jonathan Bornstein scored) and Panama for the 2014 World Cup (when Graham Zusi tallied).
"We changed who qualified in the last two World Cups," Gulati said. "We're going into that (Germany) game to try to win."