“We have absolutely no fear at all. We feel like we are in a position now to challenge it. We believe we have built a foundation in our team that we are able to beat them."
- USMNT Coach Jurgen Klinsmann on next World Cup round against Belgium
The United States men's national soccer team has made quite the impression on the international football world with their performance in the World Cup thus far. Last week the US battled through the “Group of Death” to advance to the knockout stage. For Coach Jurgen Klinsmann, it’s been a roller coaster type ride through group play; beating rival team Ghana and losing a close battle to his old national team, Germany. So far a lot of experts credit Klinsmann for the US’s success in the tournament, as the USMNT Coach has made key substitutions, adjustments and alignments to his team when needed. Klinsmann’s every coaching move has been nearly flawless and has propelled his team in a positive way.
Strangely enough, the success that the US team is having might come as a surprise to their coach. Before the World Cup, Jurgen Klinsmann had a pessimistic outlook on his team’s chances at winning the tournament. Klinsmann stated, "We cannot win this World Cup, because we are not at that level yet. For us, we have to play the game of our lives seven times to win the tournament." The US coach took a lot of heat from the sports community back here in the States for his comment. Nobody understood why a coach would be so negative towards his team’s chances at bringing home the title. Klinsmann stood by his statement, telling reporters that winning the World Cup is not a realistic goal for his team. Klinsmann believed that just getting out of the "Group of Death” would be a huge accomplishment for his club. Now that Klinsmann’s team has accomplished its main goal of advancing to the knockout stage, spirits are starting to change for the coaching staff and players.
Most recently Klinsmann was quoted telling his players, “Don’t be content. This is what you work so long and so hard for. Make it happen. Is it doable? Absolutely. We got out of this group. Now anything is doable.” A drastic change in mindset for the US Coach. Now that his team has proven that they can compete with the world’s best, Jurgen Klinsmann not only has his team believing they can win the World Cup, but has himself believing they can do it too. Long-standing and new USMNT fans have emerged to show their support and faith for the team, evidenced by the trending hashtag #IBelieveWeCanWin on social media during last week's Germany game.
The US will need all the support they can muster from their coach and fans to get through Tuesday afternoon's elimination game against Belgium. Belgium has become the dark horse team in this year’s tournament having gone undefeated with three wins in group play. However with the steady progression in Jozy Altidore’s health, the United States' best forward and the newly found confidence of Jurgen Klinsmann, the US is a team that could continue to turn heads as the World Cup progresses. We'll be rooting especially hard for USMNT defender, Matt Besler, who partnered up with CoachUp last summer to auction off a soccer coaching session to benefit the Child Protection Center in Kansas City . Where will you be watching Tuesday's 4 PM game?