US Team has No Fear Ahead of Belgium Match, Says Klinsmann
Juergen Klinsmann said that the United States will have no fear when they play Belgium. The U.S. finished second in Group G behind Germany and Klinsmann said his team were fired up and ready as they attempt to make the quarterfinals for only the second time in their history
The United States Men's National Team is attempting to advance to the quarterfinals for only the second time in their history.
"Going to this match against Belgium, especially because it's now a knockout stage and knockout stage has a completely different dynamic than the group situation so we worked hard for this moment, we made it through a very difficult group," Klinsmann told reporters at a news conference.
"And now we want more. We are very, very hungry and focused and have a lot of respect for the Belgium side. "As Clint (Dempsey) said, but no fear at all. I think, you know, it's going to be an exciting and hopefully also entertaining match tomorrow night."
Previously, Klinsmann said his team were preparing for "war". The former Germany international did not quite go that far but said his team would give it their all.
"Definitely going into the knockout stage you need to have a team that is willing to go the extra mile," Klinsmann said. "Every single player needs to be ready to go 120 minutes, and possibly into a penalty shootout. So it is very, very demanding. It's the most extreme version you can have as a player. Going into those games and possibly playing for a 120 plus minutes. But that is what we are looking forward to."
The United States' declaration of their attacking intentions may awaken the more thrill-seeking instincts of unbeaten but so far underwhelming Belgium as they prepare for "war" in Tuesday's Round of 16 World Cup clash. The Belgians came through the group stage with three wins from three against Algeria, Russia and South Korea but failed to hit the heights expected of their exciting, star-studded squad with somewhat lukewarm performances and late shows.
However with talented players likes Eden Hazard, Kevin De Bruyne and Romelu Lukaku there is time for that to change and the Belgians are a stiff test for a U.S. side that surprised many by beating Ghana and knotting Cristiano Ronaldo's Portugal to qualify alongside Germany in Group G.
The American's mix of organization and physical fitness has been improved by Klinsmann's focus on quick passing moves that have sharpened their attacking edge, and it is that high energy mantra that could unsettle Belgium. A fast start could be key to American victory. Belgium took until at least the 70th minute to score in all three of their group matches.
U.S. captain Clint Dempsey said the team would not be content to lose in the last-16 again, but insisted it would be a difficult match against Marc Wilmots' team.
"We are not satisfied with just getting to the round of 16 that we want to do more," he said. "You know, it's a difficult challenge playing against Belgium; they have a lot of quality players. But at the same time I think if we play to the best of our ability we can get the right result."
Forward Jozy Altidore, who injured his hamstring in the Americans' first group match, is available after training with the squad for the last few days.
The Belgians have won four of their last five games with the U.S., including a 4-2 victory in Cleveland in May last year. A solitary win for the U.S. came in the 1930 World Cup.
Having sealed a last-16 spot after two group games, Wilmots fielded a much changed side in Belgium's final tie with South Korea, meaning there will be many fresh legs for the U.S. clash with the line-up expected to revert to that which faced Russia. Both Vincent Kompany and fellow defender Thomas Vermaelen are expected to play despite recent injuries but Wilmots will definitely be without the suspended Steven Defour, as well as injured duo Laurent Ciman and Anthony Vanden Borre. Toby Alderweireld, Moussa Dembele, Jan Vertonghen and Axel Witsel are one booking away from suspension for Belgium, while the same applies to Omar Gonzalez, Kyle Beckerman and Jermaine Jones for the U.S.
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"US Team has No Fear Ahead of Belgium Match, Says Klinsmann "