The United States got their World Cup campaign off to an almost perfect start with the 2-1 victory against the Black Stars of Ghana last night in Natal.
Clint Dempsey and John Brooks’ goals will please Jurgen Klinsmann to no end, but one thing that may not get brought up is the German's fault in the two first half injuries that his team suffered to key players. Jozy Altidore went down with a nasty-looking hamstring injury and had to be replaced by Aron Johannsson, while Matt Besler suffered the same injury before half time and was replaced at the break by the goalscorer Brooks.
And whilst the whole population may be celebrating their revenge against the African nation, some have to question the effect of Klinsmann's obsession with fitness that seems to have cost him two of his starters already.
When Klinsmann came in to the job one of his big things was getting the fitness of his players up, he felt that they were at a standard far below of what he was used to during his times as a player and manager in European soccer and wanted to make a change.
Well that desire has yet to be subsided three years into his tenure as the boss of the Stars and Stripes. When he got his squad together in May before the start of the World Cup, Klinsmann lamented the fitness levels of his MLS men, saying that they were still lagging behind the European based stars that had just finished their full season compared to their North American counterparts who had yet to get into the groove of their season and really build up full match fitness.
But Klinsmann has quite obviously done too much. He would have his team do double sessions nearly every day that were made up of long runs, sprints and all of it sandwiching a session in the weight room to boot.
And that overworking is so very dangerous. We know that it leads to players being susceptible to muscle injuries but Klinsmann pressed ahead anyway, his vision of players running till the very end in the scorching Brazilian heat was never going to end well with what he was making them go through and so it has proved.
Let’s just hope he sees the error of his ways after Ghana game and no more players have their World Cups ruined.
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