OT: Klinsmann: We Can't Win this World Cup
That sounds like something taken out of context. I can't imagine a coach saying that.
It is slightly out of context. OP should link the whole article, it's a great read.
The cool thing about the Internet is that anyone can post links! Even commenters (sometimes).
The full quote:
“We cannot win this World Cup, because we are not at that level yet,” Klinsmann told me over lunch in December. “For us, we have to play the game of our lives seven times to win the tournament.”
He leaned back in his chair on the terrace at a Newport Beach restaurant, not far from where he lives in Southern California. Then he shrugged and said, “Realistically, it is not possible.”
Yeah, outside of head-in-the-sand homers I don't see the problem with that.
Less leaning back in chairs on Newport Beach terraces, more winning.
That is an awesome article. Thanks for posting the link. +1 to you.
At least not directly.
I think the majority of the national team should come out of Major League Soccer.
The US national program was once run by a man that thinks the national team should mostly feature players that have never played a game of high-level club soccer in their lives. That's how we're going to reach the pinnacle of the sport.
Can you imagine a Belgian coach criticizing Wilmots for including players from Real and Barcelona and Man City and saying that the team should mostly come from the Belgian domestic league? Or somebody telling the Gasols "Don't go play in America, the NBA's got nothing to offer you. The future of Spanish basketball is right here in the Spanish league."
I don't think I realized quite how badly Klinsmann was needed until now.
He's German, so he probably said "We'll win the World Cup" but it sounded angry, aggressive, and like "We can't win the World Cup". Germans could read James Joyce and it'd sound like they were in the planning stages for messing up the Schlieffen Plan again (not that that's a bad thing, mind you).*
*By normal convention of harmless insults against a language and nationality, I'm allowed to say this, because I'm mostly German, or something.
The OP said nobody cares about soccer, so I'm sure nobody cares about your link. Except me. So, you know, thanks.
More optimism than I've heard from most. I've barely heard anyone suggest that we'll get out of the group stage. He's being asked about winning the whole thing.
You can applaud his honesty. The US won't win the World Cup. I'd be curious to see what context that quote was made in though.
The media will run with this and try to make a story out of nothing, thats their job. I don't think anyone actually cares much, and I'm sure in context the comment was reasonable.
and this isn't going over well. But to the people who care enough to have actually followed this team through qualifying and who watch international soccer on the regular, this is not a big deal, but an honest assessment made at the time.
Unfortunately, honest opinions are not what fair weather fans like to hear, so this will not go away as quickly as it should. All this being said, if anyone thinks that Klinsmann is giving anything less than his full effort with this team, they know nothing of his career or his style.
I don't think the US will win this World Cup either, but that doesn't mean I will not watch every game shouting at my tv with my heart in my chest. In the immortal words of Ian Darke, "Go! Go! USA!"
but fair weather fans are the best kind!
Last time I heard somebody say that someone couldn't win, it was Adrian Balboa. What happened? Oh, nothing. Just that Rocky won the Cold War.
... coaches always make comments like this.
Which honestly, I'd be very surpised if that happened. I think the odds are way below 50% of us getting out.
We definitely got hosed on the group seeding; they apparently outsourced the process to the same people that do the NBA draft lottery...
Honestly I think it'll be us vs. Portugal duking it out for second. Lose (or probably even draw) Ghana and we're done; beat Ghana and it'll all come down to the Portugal game.
The interesting thing is looking at the bracket as a whole. We got what was in my opinion by far the hardest group, but looking at the other groups and their bracket slots should we get that #2 spot it looks like a fairly easy (comparitively) route to the quarters. Even looking farther, Germany/Portugal looks like a much harder set of games than Argentina/Belgium(?!?). Btw, who did Belgium have to blow to get their group? Russia (18 FIFA/14 ELO), Algeria (25 FIFA/52 ELO) and South Korea (55 FIFA/42 ELO); wtf...
You don't want to face Belgium in the Round of 16...
I would. Because it would mean we are in the round of 16. And they're easier than a lot of the other options.
Yes, there's that, and I think getting out of the group is a success this World Cup for the US.
Calling Belgium a favorable matchup though is just going to end in pain.
Belgium's entire squad is made up of players at the highest level of club soccer, playing for top-five teams in major European leagues or on clubs that make the ECL or Europa League.
Argenitina's got Messi and Mascherano and di Maria and Aguero....
The US is taking ten players from MLS, and you think these are favorable matchups?
are the Purdue and Illinois of European football
But at least they've had the experience of playing against top-level players.
Half the US roster is made up of players that, if they're lucky, have that experience maybe half a dozen times in their lives. They spend their entire careers in MLS; their international experience is a bunch of games against Cuba and Barbados and Trinidad. CONCACAF's so bad we start think of Costa Rica and Honduras as quality competition. There's the occasional friendly against a major side...but those are friendlies.
You can't put a world-class side together that way. It'll never work. Even if some of those guys really have world-class talent, they'll never find it in themselves unless they're tested.
I'm not an in-depth follower of soccer the way I am with hockey and college football, so forgive my ignorance. It seems to me like I see a lot more of this absolutist commentary about soccer than I do in other sports, i.e. that it's a foregone conclusion this team or that team can't win. Even in sports that have five- or seven-game playoff series, which drastically reduce the possibility of an underdog advancing, I see at least a little more optimism about overmatched teams than this. I know pool play is tough, but one or two Cinderella teams string together two or three unlikely wins every year in the NCAA Tourney. I can't imagine a coach going into the Big Dance or Stanley Cup Playoffs expressing anything less than, "One game at a time, we can play with anyone," et al. Is there something inherent in soccer that just renders such upsets far less likely than in other sports?
but as a close follower of the EPL, Chamions League, and world competitiions it seems to me that upsets hapopen far less often than in other sports such as football. Can't prove it though.
"Football is a simple game. Twenty-two men chase a ball for 90 minutes and at the end, the Germans always win."
In all seriousness, there's nothing in the history to give smaller teams much hope.
In the last 12 World Cups, going back to '66, only seven countries have made a final away from home. Brazil, Argentina, Italy, Germany, France, Spain, the Netherlands. There's never been a surprise winner and there's really only been one surprise finalist, at least since WW2 (Czechoslovakia in '62). 200+ countries enter qualification, 32 make the cup, and somehow it's always the same half-dozen teams at the end.
There are only eight countries that have ever won it.
Saying you can't win the World Cup is pretty much the correct analysis for every counrty on the globe.
It's possible for the US, with a population of 300 million, to build up a player pool capable of joining that group. if just 1/4 of the country's best athletes decided to take up the sport, that'd be a pool to rival Germany et al (pretty much everyone but Brazil).
If technical training here could be pushed to the same level as those countries, then maybe those players are being born here now. But a championship is two decades away, even if everything's done right.
Population isn't a major consideration. Netherlands (population 17 million) has been a finalist three times in the last 45 years; China and India (population 17 gazillion) suck.
Population is a consideration, sure. But other things are more important.
Another factor - also not the most important, but a factor - is the US economy. It's tanking, and the tax climate is becoming more and more socialist. This will put the US more in the economic realm of Germany, England, Spain, etc. Meaning that economically, playing in the Bundesliga, Prem, La Liga etc. becomes more attractive financially than it has been previously for young, rising athletes. Will be interestig to see if that has any effect on pulling talent away from the major sports leagues here.
It's the size of the player pool, not the size of the population. I'm talking about the number of soccer players with access, if they prove to deserve it, to high quality training.
Soccer's not a major sport in India or China; their player pools are tiny.
But at a given level of soccer popularity and training, population seems to matter a great deal. The top six European countries by population:
Russia's a vast rural (and frozen) country that can't manage the same soccer infrastructure for the entire population as the others. Otherwise, that's pretty much the list, right? Russia underachieves, the Netherlands overachieves. Italy's better than France. Other than that, it's pretty much the historical order.
South America's the same: Brazil's four times the size of anyone else, they dominate the continent. Colombia and Argentina come next.
I don't get your point about tax structures. If you don't have soccer technique by 12 or 14, you aren't getting it. I don't know many ten-year-old kids that are choosing their sport because of the likely tax ramifications of an eventual pro career.
We don't have great soccer players choosing to play other sports--we don't have any great soccer players at all. We don't produce world-class soccer players because world-class technical training isn't available here. You'll note that the closest we have to that level are two players that grew up in soccer nations and one that's the son of a coach and presumably got something better growing up than 22 kids chasing a ball around.
I would argue that one of our issues is that we have too much formal infrastructure and training.
One thing we lack in the US is a prevalence of "street soccer" pick-up games like we have in basketball. There is too much rigid structure and over-organized adult intervention in kids' games. We never develop the kind of free flowing prodigy like Neymar that learned to play soccer in a narrow alley way with 20 other players and several stray dogs nipping at his ankles while he tries to dribble a soccer ball.
When soccer becomes as prevalent a pick-up street game in the US as basketball, that's when we will become a soccer world power.
...but it's not enough. Look at England.
I have an Italian friend, a pretty talented striker growing up apparently, whose family moved around a lot so he experienced a few different systems. What he dscribes is this:
In Italy (and I know this is what happens in Germany, too), young players are singled out for attention if they show special technical gifts. They have coaches on the ground looking for kids with spectacular technical skills and they make sure those kids have access to professional-quality coaching instead of just somebody's dad. In Germany they have weekly clinics where the best local players are brought together for a couple of hours of technical training with a professional coach from the national federation. No running around, just straight technique. The running around they can do on their own, after all.
In England, and in North America (US and Canada, he doesn't know anything about Mexico), what's valued is work rate and a positive attitude. The kid that outworks his teammates, that's who gets the attention.
You need both, obvkously. But it's a lot more likely that somebody with technique will learn to work harder as he ages and the quality of oppostion gets better, than that a hard-working kid with modest technical gits will suddenly discover touch. That's the background for Arsene Wenger's quote that "if you don't have technique at 14 you never will." It was a rip at the English developmental program.
I think maybe they've finally figured it out. This newest generation of players seems to have a different technical level about them, to me anyway. It looks a little like Germany did eight years ago.
But we haven't. Unless you're very, very lucky, your children's soccer game in the US is probably going to be 22 kids chasing after a ball, being yelled at by parents (doubling as coaches) that don't have a gorram clue. And until that changes, players aren't going to get full benefit out of their street games. You need both--you need to play on your own and you need attention from somebody that knows what they're doing.
For a while there I was afraid I was going to have to pay attention.
Klinnsmann knows this which is why he has taking German-Americans over legendary American-born players. Quite frankly, we suck at soccer and will continue to do so for years.
That doesn't mean we should not learn to love the sport. Soccer or football is a great sport that more people should watch.Ever since I watched Italy beat France in 06'(FORZA AZZURI!) I have been a fan of the World Cup.
Admittedly, it's harder to get invested in the league(when I can actually see them). I really have no deep abiding interest in Chelsea, Swansee, Tottenham, or any other team in the league. To me it's all about the nations. I can relate to an Italy, Germany, or England. I can cheer on the flag even if I am know little about the players outside the stars.
I'll take the bait. We do not suck at soccer. We made it to the World Cup quarterfinals in 2002 (undone only by the screwiest of refereeing), finished 12th last time around, and were one half of soccer away from beating Spain and Brazil back-to-back and winning the Confederations Cup.
We are a solid international side that will lose more often than not to top-10 teams, but will usually beat those that we are supposed to beat. We have utterly dethroned Mexico and everyone else locally and are generally competetive with everyone else. As posited ad nauseum on here and elsewhere, Julian Green is not the answer and the cabal of -ish 32 year old players is not better than Donovan.
On another note, I will enjoy a Giuseppe Rossi-less Italy, not for it's merits but because screw Giuseppe Rossi.
Why do people hate Rossi so much? He was born in the US, but his parents are Italian, he grew up dreaming of Italy, joined the Parma academy when he was young and moved over there. He's spent more of his conscious life in Italy than in the US. And we should hold this against him?
talent is more evenly distributed across teams in those sports than soccer. you do have upsets, but it is usually fairly rare. you will more often find the favorite making a run to win it all(like Spain in 2010), than a team not expected to make the knockout stages make a deep run(like the US in 2002). that and knockout stages are obviously a single game rather than a series
Read the whole article. Klinsmann did say that... and yet I came away MORE enthused for his approach.
Again, read the whole article vs. a sound bite. He's realistic; the USMNT isn't ready to play 7 games out of it's mind, but if he gets to shape the program like he wants, they may not be far off. That doesn't strike me as pessimistic.
He's right and he's honest.
He understands, in a personal way that no one else in the domestic soccer community does, the level of play require to win a tournament like this. He isn't going to pretend that what's already in place is good enough and he'll push the national program until it gets where it needs to be or the federation decides it doesn't want him, whichever comes first.
COrrect. He was hired to coach the USMNT, but also bring change to the development levels as well.
but more as saying "we're not there yet, but can be" and it was largely deemed to be a motivational tool. Not any different from any other coach telling his team they're not playing to a level to win a big game or a championship.
We'll probably never win a World Cup.
not what he was hired to say.
I thought he was hired to coach soccer. I guess I missed something
hey Klinsman or whatever your name is, ever heard of these guys?
It's called America, and we're always in it to win it, no matter the odds.
Oh yeah, and these guys:
1) Miracle on Ice occurred in 'Murica. Young players + home field advantage = shock the world. WC is in Brazil, and if the Confederations Cup is any indication, Brazil is going to get one gigantic heaping of home cooking from the refs (they have one of the best defenses in the world, do you REALLY have to swallow your whistle too? Spain's midfield got absolutely mugged, multiple legit yellows and fouls not called).
2) It will be a miracle if US qualifies to the knockout round. Germany is one of the favorites to reach the finals. Portugal has THE best player in the world. Ghana, even down a defender, always plays the US tough).
3) US Soccer is improving, a mean bastard who pushes the USMNT players and program are exactly what we need. USMNT consistently finishes top 2 CONCACAF; we need to do better, and to do this, we need to upgrade players.
It is not a miracle if we get out of the group stage. It's merely improbable and would be a big deal.
It would be a "miracle on ice" moment for me if we won it all though. Could happen.....but then again the Timberwolves could win the nba championship next year too.
I think this is a cultural thing. US culture thrives on the underdog mantra and that effort and hard work can overcome any obstacle. Europeans are a bit more realistic. You will never hear a coach born and raised in America say "we can't win this." But I've heard it from Euro coaches more than once.
As always, a snippet of a full interview puts things out of the full context. But yeah, he could have probably phrased it more diplomatically. Wonder if it's a cultural thing; maybe the coach talks differently about the team in Europe. But either way...he's correct. I mean it's possible, but as he said "realistically" the US is not going to win. Klinsmann also said a while ago that the dream goal is to reach the semi-finals. I would be ecstatic with that kind of result given the road to get there, as would most everyone else.
What's the point of having a "dream goal" of reaching the semi-finals? Once you're in the semi-finals, any f'ing thing can happen. You are playing 2 more games for the World Cup. All you have to do is win 2 games. This isn't the NBA Playoffs where you have to win best of 7 game series.
Defeatist attitudes are ridiculous in sports, at least at this level. Should the US expect to win or be disappointed if they don't win? No, that would be ridiculous. But it is just as ridiulous to think that when they go out on the pitch that they have zero chance of winning. if that is true, then why bother even showing up?
Hell, pay me his money and I can go coach the US to certain defeat too. I'll probably do it with Donovan on my team though.
He's obviously correct, but it seems like a pretty stupid thing to say when you're trying to motivate young players and expand the fan base.
Or maybe that's how he motivates them.
I suppose telling them they have zero chance to win may work for some of them, but it certainly doesn't inspire the fans to watch the games and take an interest in U.S. Soccer. Nobody wants to watch a team with no chance to win.
I suppose. I guess it depends on what you think the coach's role is in generating fan interest.
And I bet this quote will have almost no effect on how many Americans watch the WC. Almost no one was watching because they thought we were going to win. They just want to see us play, and hope we win some.
I agree that it won't dissuade fans who are already planning to watch the games, but it certainly doesn't help lure in the casual sports fan who might take an interest in U.S. Soccer if he or she actually thought they had a chance of winning. People will watch winning teams even if it's not a sport that they generally care about.
The casual viewer probably doesn't even know or will never know that this article exists to begin with.
Are there really casual sports fans that think the US has a realistic chance to win the World Cup? And how many of those casual fans are going to bother to read a profile of Klinsmann?
Bingo. The "casual fan" won't realize its the World Cup until 2 weeks from now and might catch 1-2 games of the U.S. Unless the US wins 2 games or advances and you hear about it on the mainstream media (I dont mean Yahoo sports, I mean ABC News etc) they barely pay attention not to mention a quote like this.
I am a huge fan but if you poll 100 people randomly soccer at the national stage is akin to figure skating. The "casual fan" wont know 95% of the players unless the US is a major player and wins and then for 3 weeks everyone will be an expert, before returning to ignoring it for another 3.9 years. Just reality right nowand that doesnt mean the interest is not growing but its still like the key Olympic sports where people only know about figure skaters or gymnasts for about 2-3 weeks every 4 years then forget about it.
That said I do think the "serious fans" in the U.S. is growing from tiny to small. Maybe one day it will be above small. Of 300M+ US folks I'd guess 10M or so really watch soccer closely, if that.
we've been doing it for years now. /s?
You're a F'ckin P'ssy if you don't watch the World Cup because the US can't win.
Wow. Well, since you put it that way........I'll set the dvr.
If a fan didn't watch sports because the team didn't have much of a chance of winning. Then they wouldn't be much of a fan and they wouldn't watch many games.
obviously hasn't learned about taking things one game at a time.
You win the game you need to win. THEN worry about winning the next game. Yeah, if you look at the entire World Cup as a whole, it would seem impossible for the US to win. So don't worry about it. Worry about winning 1 game. Then worry about winning the next game. And see what happens. To sit around saying "We have to play perfect for 7 games in a row" is ridiculous. What if other teams have bad games? What if they have injuries? You never know what is going to happen. So just go out and win the games as they come to you.
If you go in assuming you absolutely can't win, you've already beaten yourself, even if that is "being realistic".
but in a short tournament that ends with single-elimination games, literally ANYTHING could happen. Doesn't mean it will, but it isn't like the US team has to go out and win the American League East pennant over 162 games or win the Premier League. They have to win a handful of games. Who knows--a few breaks of dumb luck could totally change their fortune. But they probably have to BELIEVE that can happen for it to have any chance of happening.
You are blowing his quote out of proportion. If you read the rest of the piece you can see that JK is quite the perfectionist. He's anal about alot of details that some would consider minute. I don't think we can question whether he coaches to win or not.
Look at this quote: Link
"Portugal with Cristiano Ronaldo, and Germany with their team, they are probably [favored]," he said. "But it doesn’t really kind of really threaten us. It doesn’t really kind of make us feel underdogs, by no means because we know that on a God-given day, if everything is going well with us, we have a damn good team. That’s what we’re doing to then, but we need to get off to a good start against Ghana."
Weird. And when asked after the group draw in December if the US were underdogs, he said no.
If the US makes the semifinals, do you really think that JK is going to think that the team can't win or that he isn't going to coach his ass off to win and the players aren't going to play their asses off?
I would fire him
"It could happen!"
- JP, Angels in the Outfield
This puts us a step ahead of England.
They can't win the World Cup either. They just don't know it.
I was thinking of England when I read the post here about how the US doesn't really suck, because we made the quarterfinals once and got screwed by the refs etc. etc....
That's been the characteristic of every England fan I've ever met (and I used to work for Lloyd's so I've known quite a few). They're sure they're a world soccer power and they can't figure out why they lose, except for bad luck of course.
Which is why it never seems to get fixed. Klinsmann's on the right track here. I've had a lot of unkind things to say about his handling of Germany while he was there but this is why he was a good hire.
All the England fans I've ever interacted with are the exact opposite. They think they would be lucky to get out of their group and want to put out a young starting XI in preparation for Russia 2018. Most I've talked to are pretty realistic about their standing in world soccer.
Yeoman's point would have been spot on for the past decade at least. Completely unrealistic fan and more importantly in England, media expectations.
No one expects much in this tournament. Go figure, because this could be the best team they've put out in that timeframe.
Longer than most of us have been alive, I think. We just passed the 60th anniversary of
"Look at that fat little chap," one of the English players is said to have commented just before kick-off. Fifty-seven seconds later the ball was in the back of the English net, and after only 28 minutes Hungary were ahead 4-1.
And it does seem to be different this year.
I am still interested in the World Cup and I totally agree with him.
Am I broken?
How would you feel if Hoke said that we had no shot at the big ten championship or Beilein said that we had no shot at the final four? The players might not try as hard if they are being told that they can't win rather than we are going to shock the world.
Well, those things are still 100x more realistic than the US winning the World Cup. Maybe a more apt comparison is if Jerry Kill said that Minnesota couldn't win the national championship. The Gophers aren't a traditional power but they're also not a complete joke.
And if the US players don't try as hard because of something their coach said in an article that wasn't even that bad, then they deserve to lose every single game. I doubt JK is mailing in his coaching effort just because he doesn't think the US will win. JK doesn't need to think he's going to win the WC to do his job. Otherwise he wouldn't have taken the USMNT job.
and if I was Jerry Kill I would say to the team that we are going to win the national championship. It probably won't happen but it gets your team believing. You have to set your goals at the highest because that's the only way you're going to achieve it. If you say that it won't happen you've diminished the slight possiblity that it would to zero.
...on the effects of patients' positive thinking on the results of medical treatment.
It's a negative, apparently. People that go into a treatment convincing themselves that everything's going to go perfectly and they're going to have the ideal outcome end up with poorer outcomes. The hypothesis is that when disappointments crop up during rehab, the person with higher expectations gets discouraged more quickly and tends not to fight through them as hard as the person that had more modest expectations and had prepared himself for the likelihood of problems.
I think you'd be at bigger risk of losing your team (Minnesota) if you told them they were going to win the title. They would think you're a crackpot. I don't think Minnesota is going into their preseason meeting where set goals together and are putting on the top of the list "win a national championship". They would lose their #1 goal by their bye week and what do you have after that? Now if they say, "we want to go 6-2 in conference play", that's an admirable goal and one that could be achieved. And it gets them believing for the future.
You need to set realistic goals, ones that lay a foundation, but still make you push yourself. No sense aspiring to unrealistic goals and falling way short and being disappointed when they don't come true.
I've played sports most of my life, and I've won some games that I didn't think my teams would win. And I've lost some games that I didn't think we'd lose. The results had more to do with how I/my team played than it did with our belief of what we were capable of. The US' WC fate will be decided on how they prepare and play, not on if they believe they can win the whole tournament or not.
People are acting like a lot of Michigan fans (before last year at least). Say anything negative, even if true, and stuff is going down. Truth hurts sometimes. Shouldn't deter your fandom or support but doesn't mean an honest opinion can't be stated.
I think people don't understand how hard it is for an emerging team to win the world cup. Only 8 different teams have won it in 19 matches. Teams like France, England and Spain only have one. Netherlands, way better than the US teams, have none.
Herb Brooks said that the USA was going to beat the USSR in hockey. If you're players are going to fold because they haven't achieved an unlikely goal then they're not that mentally tough. From day 1, my HS coach said that we were going to win the state championship. We never did and we all knew how unlikely it was since we started off going 2-7 my freshmen year but we would feel cheated if he said that we going to try to win a few more games this year. We wanted to win it all and we wanted it to b our goal.
Your team obviously didn't believe enough.
IMO, there's no sense for a false bravado and saying that you're going to win something you have <1% chance of winning. It's all a really bit silly to me. I went to a high school where each graduating class was about 25-30 kids. Our goal for senior year in baseball was to finish .500 in conference (something that we hadn't achieved in about 15 years). We knew we couldn't win the conference. We didn't have the depth and talent that schools with kids with 100+ students in their graduating classes had. We came up one game short and finished 5-7, but because we set realistic goals, we didn't let early season losses curtail us and we ended up winning 3 of our last 4, one against the elite team in the conference. Would we have done better if we said before the season that we were going to go undefeated? Nope.
There's more than one way to skin a cat. People are getting up in arms about this because it's not a very American statement. But in Europe, if the Bosnian coach says they can't win the World Cup, none of the Bosnian fans would bat an eye.