United States coach Jurgen Klinsmann will shun the temptation to play for a draw when they meet Germany in the FIFA World Cup on Thursday.
Both sides need just a single point to be sure of their place in the last 16, having won one and drawn one of their opening two fixtures in Brazil. And the close links between the teams have prompted some to suggest the two might settle for a draw.
German Klinsmann scored 47 goals in 108 appearances for his country before leading them to the semi-finals of the 2006 tournament on home soil as coach, assisted by the European outfit’s current boss Joachim Low.
In addition, the USA have midfielder Jermaine Jones, who has three Germany caps to his name, at their disposal, while the American squad also boasts a number of other players born in their coach’s homeland.
But there will be no time for niceties on Thursday, and Klinsmann insists his side – who conceded late in a 2-2 draw against Portugal on Sunday – has their eyes on topping Group G.
“We want to beat Germany and be first in our group,” he said. “We know a tie gets us through too, but our goal is to beat Germany and be first in our group in order to play the second of the other group (Group H).
“We cannot just hope that it goes our way, we have to work hard for it and the circumstances will be very challenging, it’s going to be a one o’clock kick off, it’s going to be hot and humid so we’ve got to be prepared for that and we are but our goal is definitely to beat Germany.
Interestingly, there has never been a draw in this fixture, but a stalemate in Recife on Thursday would see the US face off against the winner of Group H
“I think this is really important for everyone to see, especially the players, that we are getting better and stronger with every game we play. The players now know what a tournament is about. We experienced all the emotions, different circumstances, different stadiums and environments so it’s exciting to see the team grow.”
Germany’s campaign got off to a dream start courtesy of a 4-0 victory over Portugal, before an entertaining 2-2 draw with Ghana gave them a wake-up call. Six wins from nine meetings with the Americans are sure to give Low’s men confidence, but the most recent clash between the sides ended in a 4-3 win for the United States last year.
Interestingly, there has never been a draw in this fixture, but a stalemate in Recife on Thursday would see the US face off against the winner of Group H – Belgium as things stand – while Germany would meet the runners-up in that group, with Algeria, Russia and South Korea all still in the chase.
However, the duo will be all too aware of the presence of Portugal and Ghana, who are lurking three points adrift of the top two and hoping to capitalise on any potential slip-up from either team.
Jozy Altidore (hamstring) is likely to miss out once again after being injured in the USA’s World Cup opener, while Jerome Boateng (thigh) and Sami Khedira (knee) returned to Germany training on Monday.
While unlikely to start, Germany forward Miroslav Klose is just one goal away from becoming the outright leading goalscorer in World Cup history. Klose equalled the record of 15, also held by Ronaldo, when he netted in the second half against Ghana.