Sports News of Saturday, 1 March 2014
US coach Jurgen Klinsmann has reiterated the importance of a win against Ghana in the World Cup group opener because that will determine their fate in the Mundial.
The German does not want to take chances when the Stars and Stripes clash with the Black Stars for the third time on the same stage. The Ghanaians knocked the US out of the last two World Cups – in the group stage in 2006 and in the Round of 16 in South Africa 2010.
Klinsmann does not want the 2010 World Cup quarter-finalists to be third-time lucky and has stressed on the need for his charges to go for that critical three points come June 16 in Natal, Brazil.
“We basically start with a World Cup final against Ghana,” Klinsmann said during a Google Hangout held on Friday by the U.S. Soccer Federation. “We need badly these three points. If we get three points against Ghana, I think then that the confidence will rise, the guys will be pumped up, and they will be ready for Portugal and give them a real fight.”
He added: “It’s almost like a six-pointer game [with] Ghana, and that’s what we’re preparing for. When we go into camp, middle of May, we’re going to prepare them for this game in the sharpest and most intense way possible. When we step on the field there, Ghana will sense the energy we have, will sense that we are mentally and physically ready for them, and hopefully they realise it’s going to be our day… It really is down to winning that first game."
“Portugal with Cristiano Ronaldo, and Germany with their team, they are probably [favored]. 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,” Klinsmann stressed.
The Yankes have planned pre-World Cup friendlies against Ukraine on March 5 and Mexico on April 2 whiles Ghana have lined up Montenegro and The Netherlands for test games.