The United States will again be without Jozy Altidore for their crucial Group G game against Germany Thursday.
The USMNT confirmed Tuesday that the Sunderland striker is still not ready to return to action having been forced off with a hamstring injury early on in the USA's opening World Cup game against Ghana.
Altidore entered the tournament as the United States' undisputed starting striker having finally broken a prolonged goal drought with two strikes against Nigeria in a pre-World Cup tune up game.
Less than half an hour into their game against Ghana however Altidore strained his left hamstring as he chased the ball into the corner of the field.
Since Altidore left the field against the Black Stars on a stretcher, Jurgen Klinsmann and his coaching staff have refused to rule him out of the tournament completely however.
YET TO RECOVER
Without Altidore for their second group game against Portugal the US chose to move Clint Dempsey into a more advanced role, bringing in perennial substitute Graham Zusi into the starting lineup.
The change actually led to a more productive offensive output for much of the game as USA came within seconds of securing qualification to the knockout phase before succumbing to a late equaliser.
And it would seem likely that Klinsmann, who today confirmed Altidore's absence, will again opt for that tactic as he prepares to take on his native country.
STILL HOPE FOR JOZY
Speaking to the media Tuesday, the USMNT head coach did offer some hope for Altidore should the USA be able to progress in his absence:
"We'll have a good chance to have him back again," said Klinsmann when talking about what would happen should the US make the knockout phase.
At present that looks a distinct possibliy ahead of Thursday's final group fixtures.
The US currently sit in second place in Group G with four points, level with Germany but behind on goal difference.
They require a single point against their European opponents to ensure progression, but could see their Brazil campaign ended if they lose heavily to Germany and either Ghana or Portugal win their respective by a large margin.
Jozy Altidore will have to watch from the sidelines as the drama plays out on Thursday and he will be hoping beyond hope, perhaps even more so than the US fans if that is possible, that his teammates can produce the goods in order to let him carry on his own personal World Cup dream.
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