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Mar 6, 2014

Mourinho 'U.S. can create problems'

FC's Craig Burley explains why the fringe players had more at stake today while Alexi Lalas gives some player performance reviews.

Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho said he sees the potential for the U.S. team to "create problems" at the World Cup, according to a report. •McIntyre: The great U.S. debate
Carlisle: U.S. wastes warmup | McIntyre: Tough night in Cyprus

Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho said he sees the U.S. being a problematic rival in Brazil.

"I see the American team, obviously not with incredible talent, but they have some good players playing in Europe and in MLS so I think they are ready to create problems like they create problems to Portugal because they beat us in another World Cup before (2002)," Mourinho said Thursday in his new role as World Cup analyst for Yahoo!.

Mourinho has said in the past he would be interested in coaching his own national team, Portugal. At the 2002 tournament, the U.S. opened with a 3-2 upset of Portugal after taking a shocking three-goal lead in the first 36 minutes.

Mourinho said he felt Jurgen Klinsmann was the right successor to former U.S. coach Bob Bradley.

"I think between them they made a good team," Mourinho told Yahoo!. "As a national coach I feel Jurgen is very good, very organized, great motivator. Is important for a club player to go the national team and feel happy there. The players like to train and play with him."

In Brazil, the United States will play Portugal in the second match of their group stage on June 22 in Manaus, in a group that also includes Ghana and Germany.

Wednesday match against Ukraine marked the last chance for Klinsmann to evaluate his Europe-based players before he chooses his 23-man World Cup roster in mid-May. He will use a squad mostly from Major League Soccer for an April 2 exhibition against Mexico at Glendale, Ariz.

"It's understandable that collectively, it's not clicking. It would be half a miracle if we would click," Klinsmann said. "It was difficult for a lot of players to get into a rhythm."

On Thursday the United States set its final home exhibition games against Azerbaijan, Turkey and Nigeria.

The U.S. Soccer Federation said the 13th-ranked Americans will host No. 93 Azerbaijan at San Francisco's Candlestick Park on May 27, then play No. 42 Turkey at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, N.J., on June 1. The U.S. faces No. 47 Nigeria at EverBank Field in Jacksonville, Fla., on June 7 before heading to Brazil and the American base camp in Sao Paulo.

Of the three opponents, only Nigeria is headed to the World Cup. The U.S. played Turkey four years ago in its final home game before going to South Africa.

The Americans have the longest first-round travel schedule of the 32 nations. They open against Ghana on June 16 at Recife, face Cristiano Ronaldo's Portugal six days later in the Amazon rain forest city of Manaus and close the group stage against Germany on June 26 at Recife. They will return to Sao Paulo between games.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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