Klinsmann: "We don't see ourselves as outsiders"
Despite being drawn in a strong group for next year's World Cup in Brazil, Jürgen Klinsmann's confidence is undimmed. "We don't see ourselves as outsiders", says the USA coach in a recent interview with Sport Bild. The Americans will play their third and final group match in Recife against Germany on 26 June 2014.
The USA find themselves in one of the toughest World Cup groups alongside Ghana, Portugal and Germany, a fact Klinsmann acknowledges: "My initial reaction was 'It doesn't get any worse than that.'" Since then, however, the former striker has been looking forward to the World Cup with assurance, having also renewed his contract with the USA national team until 2018 a few days ago. "We won in Italy, played out a draw in Russia and won in Mexico for the first time in US footballing history. We know that on a good day, we can take on the best in the world. We're no longer a small footballing nation."
"Germany have matured brilliantly"
The California-based coach led Germany to third place at the 2006 World Cup and believes that his former side are now "among the leading favourites with Brazil and Spain". For the 49-year-old former world and European champion, the German team "has matured brilliantly". Klinsmann adds: "In addition, many of the young players such as Neuer, Özil, Müller and Götze have graduated from elite development centres and have enhanced the quality in the squad even further. A lot of good work has been done at club level too."
His reunion with Joachim Löw next summer will be no normal day. "It will certainly be extremely emotional", admits Klinsmann, who tells Sport Bild about his shock resignation as German national team coach back in 2006: "At that point, I needed a break after such a crazy period; those two years were extreme for me. I had to take the rap for every little thing. Straight after the World Cup, we were at the 'Hotel Engel' in Baiersbronn in the Black Forest with our families and I told Jogi [Löw] that I wanted to resign."
Klinsmann still interested in Green
Joachim Löw tried to persuade him to stay, but Klinsmann had already made up his mind. "I said to him, 'It won't work. I need a break, and I'm not leaving here until you tell me that you'll take over the team. We owe it to them. You've got to continue this journey we have started.'" Joachim Löw discussed the matter with his wife, Daniela. According to Klinsmann: "I was determined to keep delaying my flight until he agreed to take the reins. After three days, Jogi said 'I'll do it.'"
In the Sport Bild interview, Klinsmann also confirms his continued interest in talented young Bayern Munich winger Julian Green: "We're not pressuring him, but we're still in talks to convince him to play for the USA one day."