Jurgen Klinsmann keeps focus
U.S. men’s team coach Jurgen Klinsmann said Panama's 3-2 loss to the United States in the final match of the CONCACAF Hexagonal qualifier was a lesson in perseverance for his players, according to a report.
"I think that Panama simply got carried away emotionally after they scored their second goal," Klinsmann said Tuesday in an interview on USSoccer.com. "They emotionally thought, 'OK, we are there now.' They almost switched off, they almost thought, 'OK, these couple minutes, it doesn't really matter anymore.'
"Looking at Mexico now, I think there’s a lot of lessons to be learned in how fast it can go in the other direction," Klinsmann said.
According to USA Soccer, the United States has two friendlies on the horizon to close out 2013, matches vs. Scotland (Nov. 15) and Austria (Nov. 19). Klinsmann said he is wary of the Dec. 6 draw.
"Nobody will be happy with everything," he told USSoccer.com. "But, when you have a pot No. 1, you expect countries in there that really proved it in World Cups, in the history of the World Cup. Now you see teams that haven’t really done that much in previous World Cups and you wonder 'Why is it that way now?'"
"The consequence is that you will have a couple of groups getting drawn on Dec. 6 in Brazil that are 'groups of death' that will be killer groups; there’s not even one easy team or whatever," he said in the interview. "Then you will find maybe two or three groups that are much easier, at least on paper easier.
"It will cause a lot of question marks, a lot of discussion and debate once the groups are finalized. It is what it is, but I’m not very happy with it."
As the United States turns its focus toward Brazil, Klinsmann said the 2014 World Cup will be "packed with quality," and added that he anticipates few surprises with what remains for qualifying.
"In Europe, it's going to be a tough playoff situation, but you expect Uruguay to go through, you expect Mexico to go through," he told USSoccer.com. "I think it went according to plan in a certain way for many people."
A challenging schedule of friendlies will help prepare the U.S. team for Brazil and be a "learning lesson," Klinsmann said.
"If we can get good teams to play against, let's get them and let’s get the experience. Hopefully we’re going to beat them once in a while, but if we lose those matches like what happened with Belgium or in France then so be it," he said.
He said Scotland and Austria would be good tests.
"You’re playing two countries that just missed it to go to the World Cup. They're really good," he said in the interview. "Scotland beat Croatia and sent them into second spot [in Group A], into the playoffs, and Austria just by very little finished off third in a group with Germany and Sweden there. It will help us to see our players and where we’re at against very good teams."