Juergen Klinsmann says U.S. cannot win this year’s World Cup

Don't expect big things from the U.S. team at the World Cup, Coach Juergen Klinsmann says.
(Jason O. Watson / Getty Images)

First, U.S. men’s World Cup soccer coach Juergen Klinsmann cuts Landon Donovan from the team. Now he brings the brutal truth home to American fans: We aren’t going to win.

“We cannot win this World Cup, because we are not at that level yet,” Klinsmann told the New York Times earlier this week. “For us, we have to play the game of our lives seven times to win the tournament. Realistically, it is not possible.”

Klinsmann went on to discuss Donovan, saying he wasn’t good enough to make the team.

“He came back, and he was playing in MLS, and people say, ‘Oh, he’s playing well,’ but what does that really mean? This is where MLS hurts him. He was playing at 70%, 80%, and he was still dominant. That doesn’t help anyone. I watched the games. What was I supposed to say? That he was good? He was not good. Not then. No way. So he had to wait.”


Klinsmann then took a shot at how Americans treat Donovan and other aging athletes, using Lakers star Kobe Bryant as an example:

“This always happens in America. Kobe Bryant, for example — why does he get a two-year contract extension for $50 million? Because of what he is going to do in the next two years for the Lakers? Of course not. Of course not. He gets it because of what he has done before. It makes no sense. Why do you pay for what has already happened?”

It appears Klinsmann is not a big fan of the “How to win friends” approach to life. That may be the approach that U.S. soccer needs to become a World Cup power (though not this year), but it won’t make Klinsmann a very popular guy along the way.