It was legendary NFL quarterback Joe Namath who once said: “When you have confidence, you can have a lot of fun. And when you have fun, you can do amazing things.”
Currently 18/1 with Ladbrokes to reach the final, in Jurgen Klinsmann USA have a manager that buys into Namath’s ethos and a whole lot more besides.
“Jurgen has been nothing but positive,” defender Omar Gonzalez revealed. “He’s telling us to change our flights to 14-15 July because we’re going to be here until the very end.”
Here are five reasons Klinsmann and the USA may just have enough to reach the final in Brazil.
Klinsmann’s World Cup record
As a player, the former Tottenham star reached the pinnacle of his international career in 1990, starring for a West Germany team that upset the odds to take home the World Cup.
However it’s his record as manager of Die Mannschaft that offers the most hope with Klinsmann guiding a decidedly weak Germany side all the way to the semi-finals where they lost out in extra-time to eventual winners Italy.
Defeated in a game of fine margins, a little bit of luck could see things go differently for the US.
USA’s success in friendly matches
Though USMNT have struggled for wins at the World Cup, with their best ever result being a quarter-final berth in 2002, friendly results suggest Klinsmann’s team can mix it with the big boys.
In the last two years alone, Klinsmann has overseen victories over Italy, Mexico and most notably Germany – the team that could yet meet again in the semi-finals.
Clint Dempsey’s goalscoring form
A successful World Cup campaign can often hinge on the efforts of a team’s star player and USA have their very own Neymar in Clint Dempsey.
Scoring in the first minute of their opener with Ghana – a team that beat them in their previous two World Cup meetings – ‘Deuce’ set the USMNT on their way to a crucial win, before scoring in their 2-2 draw with Portugal.
A big game player for the Cottagers during their run to the Europa League final, he’s one to watch.
USA’s goal record at the World Cup
For all the concerns pundits had over the USA’s ability in front of goal, it’s fair to say Klinsmann’s team have impressed, averaging over a goal a game during the group stage.
Many teams would have crumbled after Ghana’s late leveller in the first match but USMNT did something different – they went down the other end of the pitch and scored straight away.
It was a similar story against Portugal – down a goal and heading for defeat, the US scored twice to salvage what proved to be a crucial result.
The form of their potential opponents
Belgium have struggled for goals without Christian Benteke at this World Cup, winning by a single strike in each of their three group games in arguably the weakest pool in this year’s competition.
Progress past them and an out-of-form Argentina await, with La Albiceleste so far relying on Lionel Messi for inspiration. Keep the Barca man quiet and progress is a possibility.
From there another game with Germany at the semi-final stage awaits. Having run Die Mannschaft close the first time around, it’s not impossible to see the USA get through.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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