*This post was written by Brian Spinazzola for WaxCracker.com.
Jurgen Klinsmann was born in Germany, and English is his second language. Yet he seems to be able to speak it better than every American born sports analyst out there.
Recently Klinsmann was asked what his thoughts were on the United States chances of winning the World Cup. He didn’t shy away from his true thoughts, putting it quite bluntly, “You have to be realistic. Every year we are getting stronger. We don’t look at ourselves as underdogs. We are not. We are going to take the game to Ghana and they will take it to us and it will be an exciting game and then we go from there. For us now talking about winning a World Cup, it is just not realistic. If it is American or not, you can correct me.”
Naturally, every analyst lost their goddamn minds. WHAT KIND OF COACH SAYS HIS TEAM CAN’T WIN THE WORLD CUP???? BLASPHEMY!!
Except…..Klinsmann never actually said that the US can’t win the World Cup. Nope. Read his quote again if you don’t believe me. What he REALLY said was “it’s not realistic to talk about us winning the cup.” He’s right. Expecting the United States to bring the cup home from Brazil is, quite frankly, ridiculous.
Klinsmann seemed to be keen to the backlash he’s been getting, so earlier this week he clarified his statement by saying, “Every game is the next step to a bigger goal. We are not shying away from anybody, but first we’ve got to make it through the group. So let’s stay with our feet on the ground and say ‘Let’s get that group first done.’ Then the sky is the limit. But before, to say that we should win the World Cup, that’s just not realistic.”
Of course, this did nothing to silence the talking heads on ESPN and CBS. Thursday night, ESPN soccer analyst and former US national team member Alexi Lalas went on a 5 minute rant about how it was terrible of Klinsmann to say this, and to say that the US can’t win the World Cup is just wrong and blah blah blah. Landon Donovan came on about 10 seconds later and emphatically agreed with everything Lalas said. Bros, do you even English?
At no point did the US coach say “I don’t believe we can win.” Here, guys, since you’re clearly having trouble deciphering what was said, let me break it down for you:
1. He said it’s not realistic to talk about us winning the cup.
2. We don’t view ourselves as underdogs anymore.
3. Not one team intimidates us.
4. We are taking it one game at a time.
5. IF we make it through the group stage, we have the ability to go all the way.
At least, that’s what I gathered from it. Moreover, I see nothing wrong with anything he said. But what do I know? Maybe it’s still acceptable for professional sports analysts to get swept up in emotional patriotic thinking. God forbid someone gives an honest, well-reasoned answer and tries to logically evaluate our chances down in Brazil.
And HOLY SHIT if that someone just happens to be our head coach.
You can follow more of Brian Spinazzola’s sports commentary on Twitter @Bsp1n.