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USMNT: Copa America Centenario Review

USMNT: Copa America Centenario Review

The United States had built up a good momentum heading into their Copa America Centenario semi-final clash against Argentina. Their three successive wins against credible opposition had raised expectations so much that there were talks of a possible upset against the 2014 World Cup runners-up.

However, it all came crashing down badly for the Stars and Stripes in the semi-final as Argentina took firm control of the match early on with a fourth minute strike from Ezequiel Lavezzi and never let go off their grip on the game.

And when Lionel Messi scored a free-kick for the ages near the half hour mark, the match appeared truly done and dusted. By the full time whistle, La Albiceleste had added two more to the goals tally to register a comprehensive 4-0 thrashing and book their place in the final against Chile.

So where does this tournament leave Jurgen Klinsmann and his men?

First and foremost, this Copa America outing didn’t reveal anything about the German that isn’t already known. Klinsmann is tactically naive and his management relies on the old cliché of fighting until the final whistle. He relies mostly on his ability to fire up his charges than giving them detailed tactical instructions to counter the opposition.

Now that kind of approach can work in the technically limited teams in the CONCACAF, but Klinsmann’s naivety gets greatly exposed when his team face stronger opposition. And the Copa America was a good example of it as the Stars and Stripes lost 2-0 in the opening game to Colombia before exiting the tournament with the heavy defeat to the Argentines.

“You saw tonight why they are the No. 1 team in the world. We just simply hit a far better team tonight”, Klinsmann said in the aftermath of the semi-final defeat.

“Once they have a lead, they’re not giving that lead away. They know exactly how to organize themselves behind the ball quickly. They pressure high right away when you are in possession of the ball that’s why we pretty much didn’t have any chance to score”, he concluded.

No one is countering the fact the Argentina are probably the best national team on the planet right now. But Klinsmann’s words seem to suggest that he was utterly helpless against Tata Martino’s side and couldn’t possibly alter the final outcome. And that is simply unacceptable.

Every manager should feel confident of upsetting the applecart. There is no point in managing any other side than the very best otherwise. Klinsamann’s position at the helm of the United States has been already under question and his team’s performance at the home tournament isn’t going to secure his job.

The president of the United States Soccer Federation Sunil Gulati had expressed his apprehensions about Klinsmann in the aftermath of the opening day defeat, and he has stressed that there will be an assessment after the tournament is over.

“We look at all of this, and we’ll do that after the tournament’s over and assess where we are and how we’ve done.

“The three consecutive wins were good. Today and the Colombia game were less good”, Gulati said.

It will be interesting to see if Klinsmann, whose side failed to muster even a single shot on goal in the semi-final, survives the assessment.

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