United States coach Jurgen Klinsmann believes America will one day have a team capable of reaching the World Cup semifinals, although later this year he is more realistically targeting the knock-out stages.
Klinsmann, who coached Germany to third at the 2006 World Cup on home soil, will lead his USA team against the country of his birth in Recife on June 26 in their final group match.
Before that they have the far from simple matter of getting past Ghana on June 16 in Natal and Portugal six days later in Manaus.
Yet Klinsmann – who was in Frankfurt, where the US national team are preparing for Wednesday’s international against Ukraine, which has been moved to Cyprus due to the political unrest – told SID, an AFP subsidiary, the US “have a completely realistic chance of making the knock-out phase”.
He added: “Our goal is to one day reach the World Cup semifinals and then say: ‘we’re here to take you on’.”
Four months before the US face the Germans, Klinsmann said his ideal scenario would be for both countries to make it through Group G.
And despite the fact they will soon be locking horns on the touchline, Klinsmann said he is still in close contact with Germany’s head coach Joachim Loew, his assistant at the 2006 World Cup and a close friend.
“I’m already feverish with excitement and see everything from a fan’s perspective,” said the 49-year-old, who took over as USA head coach in 2011.
“Of course, I didn’t delete Jogi’s email address from my account after the World Cup draw and we are keeping our fingers crossed for each other.”
Yet Klinsmann maintains Brazil are favourites for the title.
“Brazil are the No 1 favourites, they have the will to say ‘we’ll see this through’ and the individual players who can decide matches,” he added.