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United States v Panama: Pressure grows on Klinsmann

Under-fire United States coach Jurgen Klinsmann urged his team to finish the CONCACAF Gold Cup strongly despite their surprise semi-final loss.

Klinsmann is under increasing pressure to keep his job ahead of USA’s meeting with Panama in the third-place play-off on Saturday.

A 2-1 loss to Jamaica saw the co-hosts fail to make the final, missing the chance to add to their five Gold Cups.

The former Germany international has come in for criticism in the wake of the defeat, and a loss to Panama could spell the end for the 50-year-old.

But Klinsmann wants to see USA finish strongly in the third-place match at PPL Park in Chester.

“Finishing off in style Saturday in front of our fans, being third then and doing that with the right attitude and right approach,” he said.

“You owe that to fans and the tournament. Swallowing that pill, it’s not nice to swallow, but it is what it is, you can’t change that anymore.

“Then we keep building, we keep progressing, we keep working hard in order to go towards World Cup qualifying by the end of the year and it starts all over again.”

USA were largely unimpressive through the group stages before thrashing Cuba 6-0 in the quarter-finals, but their run came to an end against Jamaica.

Clint Dempsey (six goals) remains the top goalscorer at the tournament.

USA goalkeeper Brad Guzan echoed Klinsmann’s thoughts, saying: “We want to finish on a high.

“We want to make sure that we go in and put together a good performance and finish this Gold Cup on a win.”

Klinsmann’s men meet a Panama side that are hurting after their controversial 2-1 loss to Mexico in the last four.

Hernan Dario Gomez’s side conceded a penalty late in regulation time before suffering defeat in a game they deserved to win.

The nation’s federation was left fuming with the spot-kick decision, while Argentina great Diego Maradona called for the semi to be replayed.

Whether Panama, two-time runners-up, have recovered from that loss in time to clinch third remains to be seen.

Panama are yet to win in regulation time at the tournament, but USA will need to be at their best to keep further pressure from being piled onto Klinsmann.

Fri 24 Jul, 2015
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