The USA coach, Jürgen Klinsmann, has told his players to change their families’ return flights from Brazil until after the World Cup final.
USA face Belgium in the second round of the World Cup on Tuesday after emerging from a tough Group G ahead of Portugal and Ghana. The defender Omar Gonzalez says Klinsmann’s upbeat assessment of his team’s chances of progressing has even gone as far as encouraging revised travel plans.
“Jürgen has been nothing but positive. He’s telling us, he’s telling our families to change our flights to July 14, 15, because we’re going to be here until the very end,” said the centre-half. “So that just speaks volumes to how positive he is, how much he believes in this team, and obviously it trickles down to all of us.“That means that we’re all as confident as he is, and that we all believe in this team. We plan on being here a few more weeks.”
Klinsmann was criticised by some American journalists before the tournament for saying that it was “unrealistic” to talk about USA winning the World Cup. But now his team are repeating the mantra that in the knockout stage, anything is possible if the Americans can prepare well and play to their potential.
“You get to this part in the tournament and it’s clear that [it is about] whoever prepares better, whoever’s more committed on the day, whoever makes more plays over the course of 90 minutes, whoever’s willing to have a group of guys on the field who fight and are so determined to come off the field a winner,” said the midfielder Michael Bradley. “Those are the things that count. So, for us, it’s about using the time in between these games to recover, physically, mentally, and know that when we step on the field it’s going to be a hard game, one that tests us in every way. But like we keep saying we’re excited about it and we’ll be ready to go.”