The United States Men’s National Soccer team winning the World Cup is just not realistic…at least that’s what U.S. Coach Juergen Klinsmann stated last week.
Luck was not on the US teams side when the draws were announced back in December, as they landed in Group G otherwise known as “The Group of Death.” Coach Klinsmann went on to describe the group as “The Worst of the Worst,” and stated “it is one of the most difficult groups of the whole draw…it couldn’t get any more difficult.”
Okay, so we have to play some tough teams. But to go on and say that his own team doesn’t stand a chance? Is this some sort of reverse-psychology? Perhaps, it’s his way of “motivating” his team. Make them angry so they “prove him wrong!” Whatever you call it, it just doesn’t sit well with me! How about a little belief and enthusiasm!
Juergen Klinsmann is no stranger to the World Cup. He was a part of the West German team who won the 1990 World Cup. That team was expected to win, however. So, he does know what it takes to win. Still, in my mind, shouldn’t it be part of his job as the head coach to lead and inspire his team to win? To find a way to win? Would George Steinbrenner ever have allowed Joe Torre to say that his team didn’t stand a chance to win? He would have fired him in an instant!
Besides, isn’t part of the excitement and appeal of the World Cup the fact that it is possible for any team to win? That’s why we enjoy watching the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament or The Olympics…to cheer for our team, no matter how big of an underdog they might be!
So, I suggest that Klinsmann take a lesson from former US Olympic Hockey Coach, Herb Brooks who orchestrated “The Miracle on Ice” when his team defeated the heavily favored Russian team in the 1980 Olympics and inspire for a miracle to happen!
Did people think that team could win? The day before the match, columnist Dave Anderson wrote in the New York Times, “Unless the ice melts, or unless the United States team or another team performs a miracle…the Russians are expected to easily win the Olympic gold medal for the sixth time in the last seven tournaments.”
Yet Coach Brooks didn’t bow down and say “our chances are unrealistic.” Instead (at least in the transcript from the movie which is reportedly very similar to the real speech) told his team “Tonight, we stay with ’em, and we shut them down because we can! Tonight, we are the greatest hockey team in the world.”
So, while the US team may have a tough battle ahead (experts currently put their odds at about 200-1), I’ll hold on to my “Cinderella Story” and will continue to cheer for the under-dog US team because they can win!
The Miracle Speech