United States vs Germany
by Ryan Kramer
Time: Thursday June 26nd @ 9:00 AM Pacific
Location: Arena Pernambuco, Recife, Brazil
Weather: 81° F with rain
Radio: ESPN Radio
Spread: United States +.5(+125)/ Germany -.5(-150)
Jurgen Klinsmann vs Germany is as far as you need to look for a story line in this one. Klinsmann was a player who was loved by the Germans and hated by everyone else. He was greatness embodied as he lead West Germany to a World Cup title. Now Klinsmann is a coach, a coach who left the homeland to coach the United States of America. He now leads a new look “David” in his American side that sports 5 German/American nationals against the “Goliath” machine that is the Germans. Germany sports the #2 FIFA world ranking, the United states weren’t suppose to get out of the group. Now all Klinsmann’s side needs is a win or draw to advance.
As an aside I really don’t know how the Germans will feel about their beloved sports icon coaching another team. On one hand I compared it to Don Mattingly, he was going to manage the Yankees, it made sense he was the golden child on bad teams. Ask any Yankee fan who grew up in the 80s/90s and they will most likely say he is their favorite player. Yet when he got passed over by the Yankees and went on to manage the Dodgers I found myself routing for him to succeed.
Not certain this is a fair comparison I moved on to the theoretical world and figured it all out. This is Charles Barkley coaching any other countries basketball team, this is a man who the American people love because of his candidness as a person and attitude as a player. This is a guy that was not well liked by the rest of the world. This is a underrated national treasure. Just ask yourself, How would you feel if Charles Barkley coached against the United States? My answer is similar to my reaction to the Suarez biting incident, “Its just wrong.”
The United States will once again employ a 4-2-3-1 with defense and counter attacking on the mind. Unlike most of the “experts” predicted before the Portugal match the Americans looked explosive at times and even dominated possession for much of the match. The concerns against Germany lie in the back four’s ability to hold off the very impressive German attack. Now the question becomes can the United States side unlock the defense of the Germans and when the Americans counter attack can they recover in time to have defensive shape for the German attack.
The Germans will be sporting a very similar shape to Portugal’s 4-3-3. They have a front 3 who aren’t very defensive minded but they free flowing and can create confusion for the defense, especially a defense the embraces zone concepts. Their midfielders and defense-men aren’t the fastest guys on the pitch and can be beaten with speed. Do the Americans have that speed? Well its been the quick hitting counter that has produced many of their chances so I would say so.
Perhaps I’m cynical but I wouldn’t be surprised to see German side lay back a bit more than usual knowing that they are in regardless. The coupled with the fact that I believe the United States will see this as a much bigger game than the Germans. #ShockTheWorld continues as the Americans score a late goal off a set piece to win the Group.
Bonus Fact: The Germans call their national team Die Mannschaft which translates to The Team
Stars and Stripes 1 – The Team 0