SALVADOR, Brazil — Injured striker Jozy Altidore will be available for the United States’ match Tuesday against Belgium, but the team’s coach, Jurgen Klinsmann, won’t say how many minutes — if any at all — Altidore will actually play.
“Just having him with us is good. How many minutes, we’ll see that in the game,” Klinsmann said at a press conference Monday.
Altidore injured his hamstring in the United States’ opening World Cup match against Ghana. He missed the team’s next two matches, against Portugal and against Germany, but recently started jogging and testing the hamstring. Klinsmann was asked how much Altidore has been able to practice in the days leading up to Tuesday’s match, but he did not offer a clear answer.
“This is what we want. This is what we hope for. This is what the medical staff was working (on) since the injury on him. They’ve done a tremendous job,” Klinsmann said. “It’s day and night for Jozy.”
While Altidore will be in uniform against Belgium, it’s very possible he’ll be relegated to a cheerleading role. But by declaring him available, Klinsmann has forced Belgium to prepare for anything. With Altidore in the lineup, the United States used four defenders, four midfielders and two strikers against Ghana. Without Altidore, though, Klinsmann went with an extra midfielder and just one striker against Portugal and Germany, forgoing some offensive punch up-front.
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