On Thursday at 11 a.m., the United States soccer team will face Germany in World Cup action.
Simply put, a win or a tie by the Americans and they advance into the round of 16. Should Germany prevail, the U.S. could advance depending on how the simultaneously played Ghana-Portugal contest ends up.
But America’s head coach Jurgen Klinsmann has said his team is only thinking about one thing — winning.
“I think America has a lot of confidence going into this game,” said Tarcisio Mosnia, Belton High School’s boys head coach. “America has quite a bit of knowledge on the German team. Klinsmann is from Germany and America has five of its players from Germany who each have a dual citizenship.”
Mosnia played soccer at Eastern Illinois (class of 1975) and then one year professionally for the Chicago Sting.
“The U.S. has very good athletes who are very flexible,” Mosnia said. “The U.S. is a very fit team and very aggressive. I’m predicting a tie.”
Last week, America defeated Ghana in its first contest. On Sunday, America was ahead of Portugal 2-1 but gave up a goal in the closing seconds and walked off the field with a tie.
“We’re doing a lot better than I expected us to play,” said Richard Romeo, Killeen High School’s girls head coach. “In particular, we played excellent against Portugal. But Germany
presents a big problem.”
Romeo played college soccer for Boston University (class of 1978).
“Germany is a European team with a lot of tradition,” Romeo said. “As far as soccer is concerned, they’re ahead of us. Right now, we’re the little fish going up against the big fish. Germany is very technical, they’re so good.
“I don’t think we can get into a defensive shell. We’ve had some nice runs up the sides. But if we send too many people up front, Germany can dissect us and then go on breaks. They counter-attack absolutely fantastic.”
Romeo said he was pleasantly surprised by the American team’s collective response to Sunday’s tie.
“Klinsmann and the players were pretty upbeat considering the circumstances,” Romeo said. “They said, ‘Yes, this one got away from us but we still got a point.’ They’re going into the third game with a chance to advance and they’re happy with that.
“And I do think the USA will play a good game. But I’m afraid of Germany’s attack. Honestly, I think Germany will win but I’m hoping for a tie.”
Salado boys and girls head coach Michael Goos played his college soccer at Mary Hardin-Baylor (class of 2002).
“Maybe it’s a long shot, but I think we’ll be ready against Germany,” Goos said. “Germany is a good team but I think we have a pretty good shot of getting a tie.”
Before retiring this spring, Hagen Streckel coached soccer at Copperas Cove for 28 years.
“I’m still upset they didn’t put Landon Donovan on this team,” Streckel said. “But I’m real pleased with our performance so far. It’s a downer what happened in the last game but I have faith that we’ll come back.
“I think the way Klinsmann has been substituting has been extremely effective. So I think we’ll win or tie against Germany.”
Contact Allan Mandell at email@example.com or 254-501-7566 and read his column at KDHPressbox.com