June 24, 2014
By Michael Lewis
NO FRIENDS FOR 90 MINUTES
Jones ready to give blood, sweat and tears for USA vs. his native Germany
Big Apple Soccer Editor
SAO PAULO, Brazil -- When the United States lines up against Germany in its vital World Cup match in Recife on Thursday, midfielder Jermaine Jones will see some of his friends on the other side of the pitch.
For the next 90 or so minutes, however, the hard-nosed American defensive midfielder will have no friends from the country where he was born.
Not with so much at stake for the USA (1-0-1, four points, plus-one goal), which needs at least a draw against Germany (1-0-1, four, plus-four) to get out of the Group of Death (Group G) and into the knockout round.
ďItís not the point to be their friend, the point is to get to the next round," Jones said at Sao Paulo FC on Tuesday. "That is the important stuff. We will try everything to win this game. We donít go into this game and say maybe a draw happens, it will be enough. We want to go there and show people that we can battle and we can beat the German team.Ē
Jones, 32, and his four teammates who were born and play in Germany certainly will enjoy some unique moments at Arena Pernambuco. That's defenders John Brooks, Fabian Johnson and Timmy Chandler and midfielder Juilian Green.
Jones, who has an American father and German mother, has played most of his career in the Bundesliga. So when the national anthems of both countries are played, Jones will be emotional.
"Iím always saying that Iím proud of both countries," he said. "I grew up in Germany. They give me a lot. There was my first step and I played my first games and first leagues. I played for Germany so I canít say some bad stuff. Iím still proud when I hear the anthem from the United States. I will close my eyes and let everything go through and then after I try to make the game."
Jones said that he had no hard feelings against German coach Joachim Low, who had left him off the German team that participated at Euro 2008. Two years later, then-U.S. national team coach Bob Bradley approached Jones about playing for the USA. He said yes.
"Itís always hard, when you are so close to go to a big tournament and you feel that you in on that team," Jones said. "The coach already told me that I will be a part of the team and then he skipped back. Of course I was upset but I have a nice family and they (picked) me up. I canít say bad stuff about Germany. I have a lot of friends. Everything happens for a reason."
That reason could very well come Thursday between the two Group G rivals.
Jones has become amused by the fan reaction via social media.
ďItís always funny when, if you go on the pitch and do your work, sometimes not the right feedback comes back so you feel a little bit bad," he said. "But always people talk, 'Kick the guys' or 'Youíre the bad boy' or you know, sometimes itís crazy.
"For me it was always the point, I was saying 'You have to work, I have to work and I will show the people.' Now itís the point that you play the World Cup, you play against the best players and you can show your best. I think Iíve shown the people that I can play against them - itís Cristiano (Ronaldo), itís (Lionel) Messi, I donít care.
"I want to have fun on the pitch and the last two games gave me back the fun. I gave an assist for Clint (Dempsey), I think the first game was okay. Second game, I scored. So everything is good and I hope the people support that. I can say that right now they give me happiness. They tweet a lot. They text me.Ē