United States, Germany enhance World Cup hopes
Germany and the United States have taken key steps toward the 2014 World Cup, the Americans with a confidence-building victory and the Germans by analysing their impressive depth of talent.
Both sides had reasons for optimism after the United States won their friendly 4-3 on Sunday, with the hosts inspired heading into three critical North American qualifying matches for Brazil this month, a run that starts on Friday at Jamaica.
"We take confidence from beating a good team," said US captain Clint Dempsey, the Tottenham striker who scored a double.
"It puts more wind in your sails to go out and get the job done.
"You feel by getting a result against a team like this that you can go down and get the job done in these games. It all matters what we do these next three games. We have got to take care of business."
World ranked number two Germany justified a trip without several top stars, most of the players from Champions League finalists Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund and Real Madrid standouts Mesut Ozil and Sami Khedira.
"With our main players away on duty in the Champions League, it was a perfect time to have this trip," German manager Joachim Loew said.
"Our players were very motivated, very enthusiastic and they learned an awful lot. This was a test. Test means trying out a few new players and a few new things and seeing how things develop."
Substitutes Max Kruse and Julian Draxler scored late goals to pull the Germans back from a 4-1 deficit, even though the visitors could never get the equaliser. Heiko Westermann headed in the first German goal.
"The way we pulled back from 4-1 to 4-3 was admirable," Loew said. "We have a lot of information and can make a lot of conclusions on the way to Brazil."
Germany, comfortably atop their World Cup qualifying group with five wins and a draw from six matches, was not concerned about conceding four goals, one of them an own goal on a botched play by goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen.
"It was extremely unfortunate he made that mistake. Usually he is a good goalkeeper," Loew said. "As far as the German defence is concerned, I'm not worried about the performance."
US coach Jurgen Klinsmann, the former German star who guided Germany to the 2006 World Cup semi-finals with Loew as his assistant, was delighted.
"I'm very pleased beating Germany. It's great," said Klinsmann. "It helps to measure yourself against a team that can play at a high level, force you to go both ways, play good defensively and push forward.
"It helps players to see they can go at that tempo. That's why I didn't stop them early and make substitutions. I wanted them to go through that pain, to go to the wall and go again. Opponents like this can only help us get to the next level."
Dempsey boosted his international goals tally to 35, second on the all-time list to Landon Donovan, who is set to return to the US lineup in next month's Gold Cup which could see him selected for the four final qualifiers in September and October.
"More important is that we take care of business in these World Cup qualifying games and go on a nice run -- that would be more special to me than how I finish on any list," Dempsey said.
Klinsmann sees Dempsey as a player the rest of his squad must emulate.
"What is for me important is he has the drive and the hunger," Klinsmann said. "He's not satisfied with two goals against Germany. He wants the same against Jamaica. He always has the next game in mind.
"Other players look at him and see this hunger and drive and it's really important."
For no one is that more true than 23-year-old striker Jozy Altidore, Dempsey's US front-line partner.
"Jozy can learn so much from Clint, and is learning," Klinsmann said. "They will have so much chemistry for each other. That comes in time."
Related United States News