When the U.S. national team faces Germany on Thursday in their final group stage match of the World Cup, both teams will need just a tie in order to advance to the round of 16.
This led to Jurgen Klinsmann being asked about the prospect of colluding with Germany to fix the result of the match ahead of time. Most managers and coaches would be angered and offended by the suggestion. Klinsmann handled the question perfectly with the perfect response via Kurtis Larson of the Toronto Sun.
This quote refers to the dramatic end to the World Cup qualifying when Mexico was losing to Costa Rica and needed the United States to beat Panama to keep the Mexican side alive for a possible World Cup berth.
The U.S., who had already qualified for the World Cup, trailed Panama when they scored two goals in stoppage time. The match was meaningless to the U.S., but Mexico would have never made it to Brazil if not for those two goals.
This quote could be taken as a light-hearted shot at Mexico, the U.S. squad’s bitter rival. But more importantly, Klinsmann is showing that his team had the perfect opportunity to stop trying and they didn’t.
While there was much less at stake for the U.S. in that match, it would seem to be more relevant to the question of collusion during the World Cup than Klinsmann’s ties to the German side or Germany’s history of being accused of match-fixing one game, more than 30 years ago.
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