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2014 FIFA World Cup Draw Quote Sheet: Jurgen Klinsmann and Sunil Gulati


U.S. Men’s National Team Head Coach JURGEN KLINSMANN
On the World Cup Draw:
“I think our group, if you take a look at it, is probably one of the toughest ones – definitely top two or three groups in this draw. From a traveling point of view we have the furthest distance to travel with our team, but we’ll deal with it with a smile on our face and we’re going to attack.”

“I look at things always from a positive side. We have a young team, a team that is growing. We’ve built a lot over the past two years. We’ve had the most successful year in our history in 2013, so we’ve built the confidence and the belief that we can deal with those challenges. We’re going to take it one game at a time, starting with Ghana who gave us some issues in the recent World Cups. If we start off there well, then it builds even more confidence for the next two big ones.”

On the difficult group:
“I’m not worried at all. I’ll just take it the way it is and we’re going to prepare the best way and we’re going to be well prepared for the World Cup. We’ll build up confidence and believe that we can get good results to get into the next round. We’ll do our homework on Portugal, Germany and Ghana. We’re excited about this, big time. That’s where you want to be in a World Cup. It’s a difficult draw but we’ll find a way to go through it.”

On being drawn with Germany:
“I kind of had in my stomach that we were going to get Germany. You know I wanted Brazil in the opening game, but obviously it’s one of the most difficult groups in the whole draw. Having Portugal with Cristiano Ronaldo and then Ghana who has a history with the United States, it couldn’t get any more difficult or any bigger but that’s what the World Cup is about, it’s a real challenge and we’ll take it, we’ll take it on and hopefully we’re going to surprise some people there.”

On if had spoken with Germany head coach Joachim Low:
“We’ve been joking around about it already. We’re pretty relaxed about it. Obviously, once the World Cup starts everyone is going to be busy and we are going to prepare our team very well. We will have the confidence to take whoever on and then we take it one game at a time.”

On facing a German team that he used to coach and play for:
“With the background I have, it’s a special occasion and a special moment. But at the end of the day, it’s a football game and you try to give your best, and we’ll do that. Then we’ll see what happens. I’m confident we can challenge all of those three teams and get our points to go into the next round.”

On if he has an advantage playing Germany since he knows them so well:
“Once the game starts, even if you know your opponent inside-out, I don’t think it gives you much of an advantage because the players will be tense, they will be emotional because they want to do well, and they are going to play their game no matter what. Even if you know everything about your opponent. You know everything about Cristiano Ronaldo but it doesn’t mean that you stop him, but we are going to try and stop him. It’s going to be huge for us.”

On the team’s readiness for the World Cup:
“We go in there and we’re going to be prepared and we’re going to be confident. We’ve improved so much within the last two and half years and built confidence and played all those games away from home in Europe , winning in Italy, getting a result in Russia and all that stuff. We’re going to be well prepared and we don’t see ourselves as any type of outsiders.”

On whether he feels the USA enters the tournament as an underdog:
“No, we’re not underdogs. All the nations in a World Cup, these 32 nations are all big names. They all deserve to be there and there are no surprises. All the big nations are in there, and if you want to get into the top 10 or top 12 in the world, you have to start beating them.”

On playing in Manaus:
“It is what it is. We don’t complain. We take it on. We do the traveling and we adjust to the climate. This is what a World Cup is about, it’s about these challenges. It’s exciting in certain ways, and a big challenge. That’s what we want.”

On the long travel for the group stage:
“We discussed it before the draw that there would be some problems on the traveling side, and we hit the worst of the worst. Going to Manaus, every nation and every coach I talked to, they said everything but Manaus. But we’ll prepare for it and we’ll be ready for it. Both teams on the field will have to prepare for it we’ll be ready for it. There are no excuses. We have to be prepared and we’re going to deal with it.”

U.S. Soccer President SUNIL GULATI
On if the U.S. was “due” a tough draw after the draw for the 2010 World Cup:
“I think it’s very hard to assess the draws as being difficult or easy. Clearly, if you do it off FIFA rankings it’s a very tough group with a number of top teams. But, there are no easy games. The fact that we’ve had a rivalry with Ghana is probably a good thing. I guess if we’re ‘due’ in your terminology, then I guess we’re ‘due’ for a result against them. Logistically, it’s a little tough as they’re all pretty long trips from our base camp. We had the single easiest travel logistics in South Africa as we were the only country out of 32 that didn’t have to fly in the first round. This stuff balances out.”

On the opponents in the group and how the U.S. will fare:
“We’ve had a very, very good two years; the best two years in our history. It’s a tough group, but they are all tough groups at some level. If you want to advance in the World Cup, you have to beat some good teams.”

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