Salvador: United States coach Jurgen Klinsmann says attack will be the best form of defence when his American underdogs tackle Belgium today for a place in the World Cup quarter-finals.
US midfielder Jermaine Jones (left) warms up as coach Jurgen Klinsmann oversees a training session. Pic/AFP.
The United States confounded all pre-tournament predictions by battling their way out of a daunting Group G, finishing behind Germany but claiming the runners-up spot ahead of Portugal and Ghana.
Klinsmann acknowledged, however, that his team must improve on last Thursday’s 1-0 defeat by the Germans in Recife if they are to provide another shock by eliminating Belgium, regarded by many as tournament dark horses.
Trailing in attack
Of particular concern to Klinsmann is his team’s attack. According to FIFA statistics compiled after the completion of the first round, the United States had just 72 attacks in three games — putting them 31st among 32 teams.
Klinsmann says he wants to buck that trend against a Belgium side who may be missing centre-backs Vincent Kompany and Thomas Vermaelen, both of whom are battling to recover from injuries. “It’s definitely something we learnt out of the Germany game,” Klinsmann said. “We were too deep, especially the first 20 minutes. I was screaming my lungs off there to get the back line out and to move the entire unit higher up the field.
“So we’ll work on that over the next couple of days in training, to shift the entire game forward and through that put more pressure on the opponent and create more chances.”