Previous
SC Freiburg
Hertha Berlin
2
2
FT
Game Details
Elche
Eibar
0
2
FT
Game Details
Bordeaux
Evian Thonon Gaillard
2
1
FT
Game Details
Real Salt Lake
Colorado Rapids
2:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Tijuana
Santos
2:30 AM GMT
Game Details
FC Arsenal Tula
Mordovia Saransk
0
1
FT
Game Details
Elche
Eibar
0
2
FT
Game Details
SC Freiburg
Hertha Berlin
2
2
FT
Game Details
Bordeaux
Evian Thonon Gaillard
2
1
FT
Game Details
Partick Thistle
St Mirren
1
2
FT
Game Details
Carpi
Trapani
2
2
FT
Game Details
Spezia
Virtus Entella
1
0
FT
Game Details
FC Erzgebirge Aue
St Pauli
3
0
FT
Game Details
TSV Eintracht Braunschweig
SV Darmstadt 98
2
0
FT
Game Details
VfR Aalen
SV Sandhausen
0
1
FT
Game Details
AJ Auxerre
AC Ajaccio
1
1
FT
Game Details
Ajaccio GFCO
Dijon FCO
2
0
FT
Game Details
Brest
Arles
1
0
FT
Game Details
Chateauroux
AS Nancy Lorraine
2
5
FT
Game Details
Créteil
Clermont Foot
2
2
FT
Game Details
Niort
Valenciennes
3
0
FT
Game Details
Sochaux
Nimes
2
0
FT
Game Details
Stade Laval
Angers
3
2
FT
Game Details
Tours
Orléans
4
3
FT
Game Details
Willem II Tilburg
NAC Breda
2
1
FT
Game Details
Achilles '29
FC Oss
2
2
FT
Game Details
FC Den Bosch
Helmond Sport
3
0
FT
Game Details
Fortuna Sittard
FC Eindhoven
0
2
FT
Game Details
Jong PSV
Sparta Rotterdam
0
2
FT
Game Details
MVV Maastricht
De Graafschap
0
1
FT
Game Details
SC Stormvogels Telstar
Jong FC Twente
1
1
FT
Game Details
VVV Venlo
Almere City
3
2
FT
Game Details
Guimaraes
Paços de Ferreira
1
1
FT
Game Details
FC Arsenal Tula
Mordovia Saransk
0
1
FT
Game Details
Eskisehirspor K
Genclerbirligi
0
2
FT
Game Details
Royal Charleroi SC
Zulte-Waregem
2
1
FT
Game Details
Randers FC
Silkeborg IF
1
0
FT
Game Details
IFK
Gefle IF
4
0
FT
Game Details
SK Brann
Sandnes Ulf
1
1
FT
Game Details
Athlone Town FC
Bohemians
0
0
FT
Game Details
Bray
St Patricks
2
4
FT
Game Details
Dundalk
Derry City
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Real Salt Lake
Colorado Rapids
2:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Morelia
UNAM
ESPNDeportes 2:30 AM GMT
Game Details
Tijuana
Santos
2:30 AM GMT
Game Details
Quilmes
Lanús
11:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Colón de Santa Fe
San Martín de San Juan
12:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Atlante
Mineros de Zacatecas
12:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Coras Tepic
Dorados de Sinaloa
1:30 AM GMT
Game Details
América RN
Portuguesa de Desportos
10:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Joinville
Goianiense
10:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Ceará
Avaí
12:50 AM GMT
Game Details
General Díaz
Guaraní
11:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Nagoya Grampus Eight
Vantforet Kofu
6:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Atlético Nacional
Deportivo Cali
12:45 AM GMT
Leg 2Aggregate: 2 - 1
Game Details
Next
Jeff Carls Posted by Jeff Carlisle
Jun 17, 2014

Klinsmann the gambler ups the ante

ESPN FC's Alexi Lalas and Kasey Keller discuss the United States' victory over Ghana and look ahead to their next Group G matches.

FORTALEZA, Brazil -- It wasn't long after December's World Cup draw that U.S. manager Jurgen Klinsmann channeled his inner Phil Hellmuth.

With Ghana slated to be the first of the American side's three group stage opponents, Klinsmann didn't hesitate to shove every last poker chip into the pot. Over the next six months, he called the match a "six-pointer" and a "must-win," reminding his side often of what was at stake.

"We basically start with a World Cup final against Ghana," he said in an online chat with fans in February. "We need badly these three points. If we get three points against Ghana, I think then that the confidence will rise, the guys will be pumped up, and they will be ready for Portugal and give them a real fight."

On the surface, it seemed like an impractical, almost reckless approach. How would Klinsmann and the senior players rally the team if the U.S. tied the match or even lost? Granted, the odds facing first-game losers at the World Cup are long indeed. Since 1998, just four of 46 teams that lost their first game have reached the second round, but there would still be 180 minutes of soccer left to play. Even a draw, while no doubt complicating matters, wouldn't have been fatal, especially in light of Portugal's 4-0 implosion against Germany.

- McIntyre: Dream come true for Brooks, USA
- Bennett: The best of American soccer
- Jones: Bloody and battered, the U.S. prevail
- Watch: Donovan's reaction to U.S. win
- Social: Crowd goes wild for U.S. win
- Up next: Portugal, 6 p.m. ET, Sunday

Certainly after 82 minutes of Monday's match, once Ghanaian midfielder Andre Ayew slotted home the Black Stars' equalizer, that's where it looked like the U.S. was headed. But the Americans' never-say-die attitude, a trait that predates Klinsmann's arrival in 2011, revealed itself once again.

Jurgen Klinsmann's decision to hang the entire World Cup on beating Ghana paid off. Now the real work begins.
Jurgen Klinsmann's decision to hang the entire World Cup on beating Ghana paid off. Now the real work begins.

"At 1-1, they had the momentum, so you're just trying to make sure they don't nick a second one," said U.S. goalkeeper Tim Howard in the postmatch mixed zone. "I thought we composed ourselves well, and then we got at them and attacked them because they were flying forward."

The rest has already become legend: Graham Zusi's inviting delivery from a corner kick and John Brooks' perfectly timed run and authoritative finish. As the U.S. celebrated just its eighth win ever at a World Cup, Klinsmann -- and by extension, the U.S. team -- had doubled his money. No rallying of the players would be necessary.

Klinsmann has always had the aura of a gambler about him, even dating back to his first managerial job as Germany's national team coach from 2004 to 2006. Back then, he took risks and confounded observers at times with personnel and tactical decisions. He has done the same at the helm of the U.S,, with Landon Donovan's omission from the World Cup roster the most noteworthy. So far, his choices have paid off, revealing a more deliberative calculus in terms of how he arrives at his decisions.

The question now is how he approaches Sunday's match against Portugal. Ghana and Germany will square off the day before that crucial game, so the Americans will have a clear idea of what's needed. Given that the U.S. carries a five-goal edge over the Portuguese in terms of goal difference, a tie would likely be sufficient to all but eliminate Portugal. If Germany beats Ghana as expected, then the Americans' place in the second round would be all but assured.

GhanaGhana
United StatesUnited States
1
2
FT
Match 14
Game Details

That said, the U.S. historically performs best when its back is against the wall; prosperity is something the Americans haven't always handled well. In 2002, the U.S. entered its final group stage match against Poland with its fate in its own hands. Instead of seizing the moment, the Americans lost 3-1. The U.S. side's progression to the knockout rounds occurred thanks to a South Korean gift, as the host nation beat Portugal when a tie would have been sufficient to reach the second round.

For that reason, it seems unlikely Klinsmann will put all his chips in once again, but he will no doubt add a considerable amount to prevent any complacency from creeping into his side. His postmatch news conference seemed to be just the beginning.

"For us it's a great but difficult start," he said about Monday's victory. "Now we have to work even harder to show Portugal how good we are. This is an even more dangerous team than before. They're going to come to Manaus even angrier. We are looking forward to it. We have a lot of energy to give Portugal and Germany, real games. From now on, it's a grind from one game to another."

And there remain plenty of chips at stake.