United States coach Jurgen Klinsmann believes anything is possible for his side in next year’s World Cup, while insisting that the minimum requirement is to get out of the group stages.
Klinsmann’s men booked their place in Brazil with a 2-0 victory over rivals Mexico in Columbus, Ohio, earlier this month.
And the German has high hopes for a nation that will be playing in its seventh straight World Cup.
“We want to make it out of the group in Brazil,” he told FAZ. “Everything else would be a disappointment. And then it will be down to how big our belief to beat the big nations is. This belief and our confidence is growing. That is also expected of me.”
Klinsmann, who led United States to Gold Cup glory this summer, said his team needed to have a thirst for success and must strive to develop further.
“Sometimes you have to do without certain players,” he said. “I have got a few players on my team, I can’t really do without because they have so much quality. But I have told them: ‘Stay at home,’ and they replied: ‘What’s happening here? I am such-and-such and play here and there,’ and I just told them: ‘And? I want to get further at the World Cup than last time. And if you don’t get that, then just go on holiday.’”
The 1990 World Cup winner added that with all of today’s modern media and hype that surrounds young players, it is not easy for them to keep their focus on the pitch.
“It’s very difficult for the young lads to stay focused and down to earth,” he said. “And at the same time have the same hunger that [Lionel] Messi and [Cristiano] Ronaldo have shown for years.”
Klinsmann went on to praise the recent developments in United States football.
“The sport is on an upswing; football is inexorable in America. The pillars might still be American football and basketball, but [soccer] is attacking ice hockey and baseball with a strong force,” Klinsmann said.
He explained that the quality in the youth academies has gotten better and better in recent years, just like it has in MLS.
“The fresh talents, not only from the U.S. but also players with dual citizenships from abroad, have put pressure on the established U.S. internationals,” he said. “That’s some competition for them -- and that is nice.”