A U.S.-Mexico matchup at the 2014 FIFA World Cup couldn’t take place until the semifinals at the earliest, but USA coach Jurgen Klinsmann didn’t pass up a chance Sunday to take a dig at his team’s biggest soccer rival.
The U.S. men’s national team tied Portugal in the second game of group play, setting up a situation in which a draw Thursday against Germany would send both the Americans and the Germans to the knockout stage.
Klinsmann, a former player and coach for the German national team, was asked if there would be any possibility of the two sides purposefully engineering a tie to assure advancement.
“The U.S. is known to give all they have in every single game,” Klinsmann said, via USA Today. “Otherwise, Mexico wouldn’t be here.”
That seemingly out-of-nowhere zinger is a reference to a game the USMNT played against Panama during World Cup qualifying. The U.S. had already qualified for Brazil, and a Panama victory would have left Mexico out of the World Cup for the first time since 1990. Klinsmann’s squad won that game, however, coming from behind with two stoppage-time goals, and Mexico, given new life, went on to punch its World Cup ticket with a playoff win over New Zealand.
El Tri are the ones sitting pretty at the moment, though. A 3-1 win over Croatia on Monday sent Mexico through to the Round of 16, while the U.S. now must either beat or tie Germany (or lose and receive some help from Portugal and Ghana) to stay alive in the tournament.
Photo via Twitter/@FIFAWorldCup