United States coach Jurgen Klinsmann believes his team’s wins over Netherlands and Germany in the past week will stand them in good stead for future World Cups.
Klinsmann’s men stunned Germany 2-1 on Wednesday, ending their European tour with a perfect record, after they also surprised the Dutch 4-3 on Friday.
Having only won one knockout match at a World Cup since ending a 40-year hiatus at football’s premier event in 1990, there has been a sense USA suffer from an inferiority complex when facing the world’s best teams.
Klinsmann hopes that will not be the case anymore.
“Results like this here and there give us confidence that we will win these games at a World Cup in the knockout stage,” he said at his post-match media conference.
At last year’s World Cup, USA lost 2-1 to Belgium in extra time in the round of 16, while in 2010, a stoppage-time goal from Asamoah Gyan saw Ghana trump the Americans 2-1.
But USA midfielder Mix Diskerud, who scored his side’s equaliser in Cologne, claimed their mentality has changed on this tour.
“It’s been two games now where we’ve gone after every single ball, winning tackles and we believe, we really do… even though they’re friendlies they mean a lot to us and it’s nice having that confidence going into the Gold Cup,” he said.
Young striker Bobby Wood again produced the decisive goal on Wednesday, slotting the ball into the bottom corner from the top of the box in the 87th minute.
After a tough couple of seasons in Germany – he has only played seven games for 1860 Munich in two years, plus nine games on loan at Erzgebirge Aue – Wood has put himself in the shop window.
The 22-year-old has been linked with a move away from 1860 but he was more focused on reflecting on his maiden goals for his country.
“Yeah, I’m still taking it in but it’s a great feeling that we got those two wins as a team, and that’s the most important – that we won as a team,” Wood said.
“I’m honoured that I got to represent the national team and get these two goals and I’m just going to try and continue this form and just soak it in for now.”
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