United States coach Jurgen Klinsmann insisted his players could walk away with their heads held high after finishing fourth at the Copa America Centenario.
Copa America hosts USA went down 1-0 to Colombia in Saturday’s third-place play-off in Phoenix.
USA had their chances to score at least one goal but Clint Dempsey and Bobby Wood were unsuccessful as the Americans equalled their best Copa America performance in a rematch of the centenary tournament’s curtain-raiser and the 1995 third-place play-off, both won by Colombia.
However, Klinsmann had nothing but praise for his players, telling reporters post-match: “They made it their tournament. We want to empower the players and empower them to take things into their own hands and make it happen.
“Getting into the final four of such a huge competition is a wonderful achievement. They should be proud of themselves. Every day was a learning day and there are many more to come.”
“It’s a huge advertisement for the game in this country but also around the globe,” Klinsmann continued.
“The games during the whole competition, when you watch them at the stadium yourself or on TV, were on a very, very high level.
“When I watch certain games right now at the Euros, I don’t think that way. For us hopefully, it is a big, big sign that we would like to host another Copa America or the World Cup.”
Asked specifically what went wrong for USA at University of Phoenix Stadium, Klinsmann added: “Colombia were clinical. They had that one chance in the first half. We were not that clinical. We hit the post and had a couple of missteps in front of goal.
“But there were enough chances to put one in and the players know that.
“Colombia grinded it right through to the very last second. We hoped it [equaliser] was still coming.
“I think what we take out of this game is that if we raise the level of commitment, aggressive and awareness on the field, if we go the tempo with these teams and have the discipline to be very compact, then all these topics we talk about for the past five years, we can compete with these guys.
“There is a lot of positive stuff the players can learn and sooner or later we can beat Colombia.”
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