Former United States manager Jurgen Klinsmann has said that he would have taken the USMNT in a World Cup run, had he remained their head coach. The 55-year-old spent five years with the USMNT between 2011 and 2016 and during this period, the country was able to win the Gold Cup on a couple of occasions and even made it to the round of 16 stage of the 2014 World Cup, where they were beaten by Belgium in added extra-time.
Despite the positives, Klinsmann’s association with the USMNT ended in a sour note during the final qualifying round of the 2018 World Cup as he was sacked following back-to-back defeats against Mexico and Costa Rica. Bruce Arena, who succeeded him at the helm, was able to transform the fortunes of the country but they ultimately faced a major shock after a 2-1 loss to Trinidad & Tobago in the final qualifying game saw them miss out on the global tournament for the first time in 30 years.
Since then, the country have gone through a transition with a change in head coaches and team is currently in a much better shape. Speaking to reporters, Klinsmann spoke about his tenure with the United States side and suggested that he could have taken the country on a run to the World Cup quarter-final in 2018, had the federation kept faith on him.
He told: “I was in charge for five and a half years, and I enjoyed it really a lot. It was a fantastic time. We got through the group of death in Brazil, which nobody ever expected. We went to a final four in Copa America in 2016. We were actually in a good place. It was progressing. I said, I take that team in Russia into the final eight or even the final four. Because it was a building block, it was all laid out, there was a plan for it. But the plan got interrupted, it got even more interrupted when we didn’t qualify for Russia.”
The USMNT are currently under the tutelage of GreggBerhalter and Klinsmann has wished the best for the former Columbus Crew manager, who has gone with a mixture of young and experience in his squad.