In 2006, Germany hosted the World Cup, and there was a real fear not only in Germany but around the world, that the German team would fail miserably and suffer humiliation on their own door step.
Indeed, prior to the World Cup commencing, the Germans were ranked 19th in the World by FIFA (not always the greatest gauge, granted), and Uli Hoeness was quoted as saying: "I believe, like the rest of the country, that the national team is a catastrophe."
It is fair to say that Klinsmann was the recipient of constant and stinging criticism from all corners of Germany going into the World Cup
They needn’t have worried. Klinsmann, aided by his assistant Joachim Low, got the German side playing an up-tempo possession based passing game that would go on to define the German sides we see today.
The players he brought into the squad were – Michael Ballack aside – considered average at best, but Klinsmann had them well drilled and incredibly organised, and you could see that he had also instilled in them a passion and desire to succeed and never give up.
Germany would eventually finish 3rd at their own World Cup, losing out to eventual winners Italy in a classic semi-final, and have barely looked back since.
Since 2006, Germany have gone from strength to strength. Whilst Joachim Low gets most if not all of the credit, Klinsmann was the man who got the ball rolling with regards to rebuilding and rejuvenating the German side, and making them a force again on the world stage.
After that World Cup, Klinsmann stood down as manager. He returned to football management with Bayern Munich in July 2008. Whilst his tenure as Bayern Munich manager is often considered a failure, it should be noted that he played a part in the designing ofa new player development and performance center for Bayern Munich, and that when he lost his job, Bayern were only three points off the top of the table with five games still to play.
On 29 July 2011, Klinsmann was named head coach of the USA national team, who lost four of their first six games under his management. Once again, as with his time as Germany coach, Klinsmann faced criticism not only due to the poor results, but also for the decisions he was making and tactics that he was deploying.
Slowly but surely, Klinsmann began to implement his style and beliefs on the US team. Results started improving, and in February 2012 the USA beat Italy 1-0 in Genoa. Their first ever win against Italy. The following year, in June 2013, the USA beat Germany 4-3, which acted as a launch pad for a CONCACAF Gold Cup campaign that would end in victory for the USA.
Ahead of the World Cup in Brazil, the general consensus was that Ghana and Portugal would battle it out for the runners-up spot behind the Germans. Team USA would merely be there to make up the numbers. Klinsmann had even left out Landon Donovan, a decision that would surely blow up in his face.
That’s not how things played out though, and Klinsmann deserves huge praise for the way in which he has got the USA team organised. Their discipline, passion, desire and fitness saw them get through Group G in second place behind Germany, and those same factors saw them play their part in an enthralling Last 16 fixture with Belgium in which Tim Howard put in one of the greatest individual performances that I have ever seen at a World Cup finals.
After all the success he has enjoyed as a manager, it has taken a defeat for people to finally appreciate the qualities that Jurgen Klinsmann possesses as a manager.
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