Klinsmann keen for US to upset Colombia again

The US football team training on Thursday ahead of their Copa America opener against Colombia at the Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara. The US are in a tough Group A with Colombia, Costa Rica and Paraguay.
The US football team training on Thursday ahead of their Copa America opener against Colombia at the Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara. The US are in a tough Group A with Colombia, Costa Rica and Paraguay.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

SANTA CLARA • Jurgen Klinsmann is confident the United States can spring a surprise over Colombia in Santa Clara this morning (Singapore time), when his team kick off the Copa America Centenario determined to launch an extended run in the competition.

Two years after they emerged from the "Group of Death" at the 2014 World Cup Finals, reaching the knockout rounds at the expense of Portugal and Ghana, Klinsmann's men find themselves with another daunting group-stage assignment.

As well as the Colombians, the Americans face World Cup quarter-finalists Costa Rica and last year's Copa America semi-finalists Paraguay in Group A, easily the toughest group in the 16-team tournament.

Yet, Klinsmann is relishing the prospect of trying to mastermind another upset of Colombia on US soil, 22 years after the Americans' famous win over the South Americans at the 1994 World Cup Finals.

Although the Colombians boast an impressive array of attacking talent, led by Real Madrid's James Rodriguez and Juventus' Juan Cuadrado, Klinsmann believes the US can exploit weaknesses in their opponents' ranks.

"Every team have their strengths and weaknesses. We've learnt a lot over the past couple of years about how to play big teams and how to come up with solutions against them, whether it's in Europe or elsewhere," said the US coach, whose side have scored friendly victories over Germany and the Netherlands in the past 12 months.

WE'RE NOT AFRAID

We respect them a lot but on the other hand, we have no fear. We have a very hungry team and we have players that can match up.

JURGEN KLINSMANN, US head coach, on facing strong teams like Colombia in the Copa America.

"We respect them a lot but on the other hand, we have no fear. We have a very hungry team and we have players that can match up."

The Colombians are concerned the referees may favour the US.

"We are worried about that," admitted goalkeeper David Ospina on Thursday. "But at the same time it's a beautiful party. We wait for everyone to have good intentions."

Colombia coach Jose Pekerman was optimistic that "external" factors would not influence the game.

"Football is in a special moment," the respected Argentinian said. "Everyone wants everything to be transparent. This is a great opportunity to show that technology and everything else is helping to improve the sport.

"We trust in the fairness and we hope there won't be any problems, that nothing external will influence the result of a game."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

UNITED STATES v COLOMBIA
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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 04, 2016, with the headline 'Klinsmann keen for US to upset Colombia again'. Print Edition | Subscribe