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“I believe that we will win” is a chant that takes me all the way back (only three years ago) to high school cheering on our basketball team. This cheer though has taken on a whole new meaning in terms of the US Men’s National team competing in the World Cup.
The American Outlaws, Fans of the USMNT (United States Men’s National Team), have adopted this cheer and it has become the calling cry for the team. It is a cheer that represents the ideal American Spirit and ironically enough contradicts what the German-born head coach JurgenKlinsman said in an interviewback in December.
“We cannot win this World Cup, because we are not at that level yet,” Kinsman told Sam Borden of the New York Times. “For us, we have to play the game of our lives seven times to win the tournament.”
Jurgen was being more of a realist when he stated this as the US had been drawn into this World Cup’s “Group of Death” which included them and Ghana, who has knocked the US out of the past two world cups, and two soccer powerhouses in Portugal (ranked 3rd according to FIFA rankings) and Germany (ranked 2nd according to FIFA rankings).
Also the dismay of many American soccer fans, most notably Bruce Arenas (former USMNT head coach and current LA Galaxy head coach), Jurgen went on to select a 23-man roster early leaving arguably the best US soccer player ever, in Landon Donavan, off of the roster. In doing so he also selected seven dual citizen players, five of which are German-Americans.
Their visions differ where Arenas wants the best American players to stay and play in the MLS to help build-up the league and sport in America whileJurgen thinks that the best players should leave and go play over-seas in the best leagues in the world to compete with and against the best in the world.
Despite all of the controversy over Jurgen’s tactics, that were called “too American” when he was fired from being coach of Germany, the World Cup was around the corner and leaving soccer fans to trust Jurgen and his plans.
In the World Cup group stage there are four teams in each group. All four teams play each other once. A team gets three points for a win, one point for a tie, and zero points for a loss. The two teams with the most points in each group move on to the Knock Out stage called “The Round of 16.” If there is a tie, the team(s) with the best goal differential will move on.
Despite Jurgen’s little belief in the team, the “Group of Death” kicked off its World Cup this past Monday and it could not have gone any better for the US. Germany was able to make a mockery of Cristiano Ronaldo and the Portuguese winning the game 4-0. Along with that, a Portuguese defender, Pepe, was red carded suspending him for the match against the US and a couple other players were injured.
The USMNT started its World Cup, later the same day, with a crucial game against Ghana. The US started out in spectacular fashion as they were able to score just 30 seconds into the game. With U-S-A chants roaring through the stadium the USMNT was able to put together some great one-touch passing around Ghana’s defense off of a throw in. The US’s Clint Dempsey was able to finish off the play with a couple of clever dribbles and tucking the ball away into the far corner. It is 6th fastest goal in World Cup History.
The rest of the game did not go or look as pretty as the goal as the US played in true American fashion as they absorbed and absorbed pressure from the possession dominating Ghana side. With the hot and humid conditions really getting to the US team, Ghana was finally able to crack the defense of the US with a spectacular goal of their own in the 82nd minute. The US was able to respond in true American fashion off of a set-piece. The goal came off ofthe young substitute defender John Brooks’ (A German-American) headin the 86th minute in his World Cup Debut giving the US the win, three points, and sitting pretty in second place within the group with a lot of work ahead.
The US is in a great position to make a run at this World Cup so it is high time that Jurgen starts believing that we will win and in Jurgen we must trust.
(Seth Graham is a Kentucky Press Association intern for the Grant County News. He can be reached at 824-3343.)