USA’s 2-2 draw against Portugal put them one step closer to reaching the Knockout stages of the World Cup. Jurgen Klinsmann’s side could have already qualified had they managed to hang onto their lead. Regardless, USA will reach the last 16 if they manage at least a point against Germany in their final group match.
With the Germans also in need of at least a point, it has been suggested that the two sides will simply play for a draw – a result which suits both countries. However Klinsmann insists he has no intention of colluding with his compatriots and accepting a draw.
“I don’t think that we are made for draws, really, except if it happens like tonight — two late goals, last seconds,” Klinsmann was quoted as saying. “I think both teams go into this game and they want to win the group.”
“It’s not what this team is about, not what this coach is about and it’s not what Germany is like.
“The United States is known to give everything they have in every single game. … We have that fighting spirit. We have that energy and that determination to do well in every single game.”
Teams have conspired in the past to seek results that benefit both parties in the past. At the 1982 World Cup in Spain, West Germany and Austria played out one of the most controversial matches in history.
Knowing a narrow German win would see both progress (at the expense of Algeria), the German’s scored ten minutes into the affair, before both sides proceeded to keep possession for the remainder of the match.
This also prompted the ruling that all final group games would be played at the same time to prevent such agreements from taking place in the future.
Klinsmann also denied the he has had any contact with fellow German manager Jochim Low: “There’s no such call,” he insisted. “There’s no time right now to have friendship calls. It’s about business now.”
USA and Germany are in pole position but qualification still possible for all four of the group’s teams. USA midfielder Jermaine Jones, who played for Germany in the past, is wary of the dangers of playing for a draw:
“You can have 0-0 or 1-1 close to the end, and then the ball goes in and you’re out,” he said. “So we don’t want that.”
Regardless of what either manager say, the knowledge that a draw may be enough may prompt both manager adopt a more passive style of play.
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