SAO PAULO (AP) — Jurgen Klinsmann maintains the United States shouldn’t be expected to win the World Cup, even if that stance is upsetting to some fans back home.
“If it’s now American or not American, I don’t know. You can correct me however you want,” the U.S. coach said Wednesday in his first news conference after arriving at the World Cup.
Klinsmann won the 1990 World Cup as a player for West Germany and coached Germany to the 2006 semifinals. He caused a stir last weekend when he was quoted by The New York Times Magazine as saying in a December interview “we cannot win this World Cup, because we are not at that level yet.”
The U.S. opens Monday against Ghana, then plays Portugal and Germany in one of the more difficult first-round groups.
Only eight nations have won the World Cup: Brazil (five titles), Italy (four), Germany (three), Argentina and Uruguay (two each), and England, France and Spain (one apiece).
“I think for us now, talking about winning a World Cup is just not realistic,” Klinsmann said Wednesday. “First we’ve got to make it through the group. So let’s stay with our feet on the ground and say let’s get that group first done, and then the sky is the limit.
“But a half a year before and even today before the World Cup starts, to say that we should win the World Cup is just not realistic.”