USA soccer coach Jurgen Klinsmann made headlines before the 2014 FIFA World Cup when he said his team had no chance of winning the tournament.
Now, with Team USA in the knockout stage, Klinsmann said he told all of his players to book their flights out of Brazil on July 13, one day after the World Cup final.
Klinsmann’s sudden change of heart is just another way to light a spark, which his team will need when it faces Belgium on Tuesday in the Round of 16.
“Belgium is one of the secret favorites in the World Cup because of the players they have,” Klinsmann said Friday, via the New York Daily News. “We have absolutely no fear at all. We’re in position to challenge them. We have the foundation to beat them. Can we do it? Yes we can.”
Hopefully, Klinsmann’s newfound confidence will be what Team USA needs to perform at the top of its game against Belgium because the Americans won’t stand a chance if they play the way they did in Thursday’s 1-0 loss to Germany.
Klinsmann also hopes it will make the older players realize what’s on the line.
“Especially the players beyond 30, 31, 32,” he said. “This might be their last moment in the World Cup. If I’m in that age, I’ve got to say to myself, this is it now. I want them to realize that now. I don’t want them to come up to me afterward and say, ‘Well, you could have told me.’ ”
While USA’s chances of winning the World Cup might not be great — Bovada has the team at 50-1 odds — Klinsmann isn’t worried about having his players plan ahead.
“You can always change your flights,” he said.