Jurgen Klinsmann has raised some eyebrows with comments made about the referee assigned to the U.S. national team’s match with Belgium in the World Cup’s round of 16.
When asked if he was concerned about the Algerian referee assigned to the match, Klinsmann’s answer was not exactly a ringing endorsement.
“Well, we hope it’s not a concern,” Klinsmann told the media. “Is it a good feeling? No.”
Klinsmann’s biggest concern appears to be that the referee speaks French and will be able to better communicate with the Belgian players. He also mentioned that the referee worked matches in group H during the group stage, the group that included Belgium, and suggested that Algerians may not like the U.S. team because they knocked Algeria out of the 2010 World Cup.
Klinsmann did compliment the referee for his work during his first two assignments of the World Cup, noting he “did very well” and that the U.S. team give him “absolutely the benefit of the doubt.”
Klinsmann then questioned FIFA for making the decision, saying “sometimes I don’t understand FIFA.”
Maybe it is just gamesmanship or maybe Klinsmann has some genuine concerns. But Klinsmann’s comments open the door for criticism of the referee if there are any controversial calls that go against the U.S. side.
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