A last-gasp 2-1 victory over Ghana showed the United States could
keep cool in a big match and they will need to do so again when they
take on world player of the year Ronaldo on Sunday.
A win over Portugal in the Group G contest in the jungle city of
Manaus should put the Americans through to the last 16 for the
fourth time in the last seven tournaments.
However, Klinsmann warned that Portugal's 4-0 thrashing by Germany
could jolt them into action and the Americans will have to cope
without burly striker Jozy Altidore, who suffered a hamstring injury
There was better news on the fitness of Matt Besler and Clint
Dempsey, who Klinsmann said would both be fit for the Portugal game.
"With all the respect we have for the Portuguese team, itís a very
difficult situation for them after their defeat, they are with their
backs against the wall," Klinsmann said after a training session in
Sao Paulo on Tuesday.
"It makes it even more difficult to get a result, but thatís what a
World Cup is all about."
Poor finishing, dreadful defending and indiscipline combined to make
it a miserable opening game for Paulo Bento's Portugal.
Five of their starting lineup against Germany were over 30,
including three of the back four, so a more youthful U.S. team will
aim to press the Portuguese in the hot and humid climate.
Portugal will also be without defender Pepe, whose red card for
leaning into Germany striker Thomas Mueller with his head rules him
The match will be the second World Cup meeting between the teams and
the United States will hope for a similar result to 2002 in South
Korea when they shocked a more fancied Portuguese side 3-2 in the
Although the United States are no longer surprise packages, they
will be without striker Altidore.
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"The medical staff is doing a tremendous job, so we still have to
hope the Jozy will be back," Klinsmann added. "How quickly? That is
down to his healing process."
While Besler failed to start the second half due to a tight
hamstring, Klinsmann said he was ready to go in the second group
Dempsey, who suffered a broken nose from taking a boot to the face
shortly after scoring the fifth-fastest World Cup goal, will soldier
on, perhaps with a mask.
"I donít know how much a mask can protect you," added the German.
"It was tricky during the game, he barely could breathe, he
struggled with that, but once it's broken it's broken.
"Unfortunately it's also part of our game."
Klinsmann said it was important not to dwell on the success of the
opening game and to look ahead.
"We only talk now about how we can beat the Portuguese team, with
all these amazing players they have," he said.
"This is our goal. We believe we can go to Manaus and beat them. We
want to get to the next phase and we need to beat Portugal."
(Additional reporting by Esteban Israel/Peter Rutherford; Editing by
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