Jurgen Klinsmann is a realist. The U.S. Men’s National Team coach didn’t expect to win the World Cup this summer and he doesn’t expect to win it in 2018 either. That’s when Russia is scheduled to host the tournament. He told NBC Sports’ Arlo White (via USA Today):
“This is our goal going towards Russia, not to stop at the Round of 16, maybe not to stop at the quarterfinal. To say clearly, listen, we have four years to prepare this cycle. Our goal is going to a semifinal in a World Cup. And that means a lot of work, a lot of competition, a lot of grind.”
While some might complain that Klinsmann should aim to win, others who may be more familiar with the hard-nosed German’s temperament realize Klinsmann’s goal to get to the Final Four signifies the most optimistic he’s ever been about the U.S. men.
The feat could be very doable, too, with young stars such as Julian Green and DeAndre Yedlin, both of whom already caught the world’s attention this year with their clutch substitution play. With four more years to develop and grow, the two could signal a very bright future for U.S. soccer.
Meanwhile, Team USA players are focused on the here and now. The team met the Czech Republic on Wednesday for an international friendly. In the past, the Czech squad hasn’t always been so nice to face, however. The United States went into today’s match having lost three times in a row to the Czech team, according to MLSSoccer.com.
History did reflect today’s play, however, which saw the American’s pull out a 1-0 win with the help of a few Tim Howard-esque saves from Real Salt Lake’s Nick Rimando in the goal. If Rimando keeps it up he could be the United States’ next “Secretary of Defense.”