World Cup Quote Sheet - Klinsmann, Dempsey and Bradley

U.S. Men’s National Team head coach Jurgen Klinsmann, team captain Clint Dempsey and midfielder Michael Bradley fielded questions Sunday during the final preparation day for the 2014 FIFA World Cup opener against Ghana on Monday.

U.S. Men’s National Team head coach JURGEN KLINSMANN
On the state of the team heading into the Ghana match, and the psychological elements facing a Ghana team that defeated the USA in the past two World Cups:
“I don’t think there’s a revenge factor. Maybe the players who were there four years ago want to get some extra kick and energy out of that, that’s all right with me. We’re all excited. We’re really excited to start this off tomorrow. We’ve worked hard for it, in camp, three send-off games, we’ve had scrimmages, and we’ve played well. We’re full of confidence as we approach Ghana. Ghana is a team full of individual talent that you all know. It’s going to be a challenge, but we are very confident.”

On taking this team to the next level and whether the World Cup will reflect the tangible evidence of that progression:
“Over time, you want to see progress with the team and the whole game in the country. I think we see the progress on many different levels, but now this is just an awesome moment because this is the biggest stage you can have to show that you’ve improved. There’s nothing better than going against the team that beat you in the last two World Cups. As I’ve mentioned before, this is like a World Cup final. We take it in a very positive way. We’re full of energy. We all want to do well, and they’ve done a tremendous job over the last four weeks, the whole team. Everybody stayed healthy and everybody’s just ready to get this going.”

On the conditions and how the team is prepared for the match:
“I think in our game, no matter what the circumstances are this group of players is ready to go the extra mile tomorrow to get a win. This is about football, with both teams on the field, and that can be played in any circumstances – with a wet field a dry field, humidity or heat. We’ve worked very hard and want to show we are prepared in the best way possible. We take that confidence into the game and know we did the very best with preparations.”

On Berti Vogts’ role with the U.S. Men’s National Team:
“We’re very pleased to have Berti Vogts advising us for almost two months. Having him on our side, evaluating opponents, talking about technical things has just been a blessing. He has tremendous experience as a player and as a coach. He was the last winning coach for Germany in ’96. I was his captain and we have a wonderful relationship. He’ll sit up in the stands and watch the games and then we’ll have a chat at halftime. He’ll look for things we can adjust. Also just having him around and hearing his opinion on how we develop our inner circle and our work is just wonderful to have. He always gives us his two cents and that’s just of huge value to us.”

On the weather in Natal:
“We’ll take the weather the way it is. In our environment, going through CONCACAF, you don’t complain. You go into the different countries and make the best out of it. Sometimes you need those lessons to improve as well.”

On high-scoring games at the tournament:
“High-scoring games are what fans are waiting for. They want to see goals and they want to see excitement. Hopefully we can deliver that for them tomorrow and score at least one more than Ghana. If it’s a high-scoring game, that’s OK; it’s just the three points that we want.”

On watching the other game in the group and how it influences preparations:
“We will definitely watch a bit of the Germany and Portugal game at lunch. In watching, we start to analyze, but we won’t really do any of that work until our game is done. Hopefully we have three points in our pocket and then we go into detail about Portugal.”

On the team’s mentality and how the sport has been growing in the United States:
“We’ve wanted to do something special and we feel like we’re in a good place after preparing for four weeks. Tomorrow is Ghana and then comes Portugal and Germany. We want to take it moment by moment and give everything we have. Expectations are high everywhere, with us and in the United States. And that’s not just the National Team. MLS is growing and is very competitive. In every area the game is growing and we have the chance to be the locomotive with the National Team. We embrace that and take it one step at a time. Our goal is to go far and I booked my flight to come back after the final.”

U.S. Men’s National Team forward CLINT DEMPSEY
On facing a Ghana team that has eliminated the USA in the 2006 and 2010 FIFA World Cups:
“Ghana is a good team. They’ve done well in the past two World Cups, but at the same time, anytime you come to a World Cup, it’s always a fresh slate. You need to prove to the rest of the world that you’re a quality side and that you’re developing the game in your home country and moving in the right direction. I think our preparation has been very good. We’re excited about the opportunity to play against Ghana, which is a top team. But at the same time, if we play with the best of our ability, we have the quality to go far in this tournament, and that’s what we’re focused on.”

On the increased goal scoring in this World Cup and whether that will be the trend Monday against Ghana:
“It’s difficult to say what the match tomorrow will bring. We’re very excited about it. Yes, there have been a lot of goals being scored, especially from crosses. You’ve seen a lot of teams – four or five teams – go down and end up coming back and end up winning the game, which I think in the last World Cup that happened three or four times. We look forward to tomorrow, and giving it everything that we can and prepare the best that we can. We’re ready for it. It’s not about talking. It’s about getting out there and showing it by our actions. We’re excited.”

On the party-like atmosphere and celebration of the game in Brazil:
“It’s great to see the passion the fans have in this country. The game in the States is growing. I remember being a little kid – I grew up in a small town in Texas – and the game that I played really wasn’t valued by a lot of people, but I watched South American soccer. I was gravitated toward the way that they played, being able to be creative, the passion that the fans have, watching World Cups and stuff like that. So now having the opportunity to play in a World Cup in a country that I looked up to as a kid and being around that type of atmosphere and also being able to help grow the game in my own country, I’m blessed to be in this position and I’m excited about the opportunity to show up here.”

U.S. Men’s National Team midfielder MICHAEL BRADLEY
On the state of soccer in the USA and if expectations are higher now based on the growing popularity:
“The beauty of the game is still there. With all that gets talked about beforehand, it’s still up to us when we step on the field tomorrow to give everything and to enjoy the moment, to relish the opportunity to play in a World Cup, of representing ourselves and our country. It’s clear that as the game continues to grow in our country, so do the expectations – the media, the focus – and so I think we all welcome that. We welcome the pressure of playing in a World Cup. We know that it won’t be easy, but we certainly feel like if we step on the field and are sharp and are able to play to the best of our ability that we can have a really good World Cup.”

On the Nigeria international friendly and what the team should take away from it heading into the World Cup opener:
“We talked the whole time about using the warm-up games for what they were, and obviously those are chances to build confidence, to gain a little bit of momentum and to work on things. But the reality is that those games are over, and playing in a World Cup is so different to any friendly and to any warm-up game. The confidence that we built playing in those three games, the relationships that have continued to grow, those are all positive things. But now it’s all about stepping on the field playing in a World Cup and playing against Ghana. Our main focus is on what’s coming up and not on what happened a few weeks ago.”

On the rain potentially being a factor:
“I think for anybody who has watched any of the games in the tournament, whether it was Mexico here in Natal, whether it was Ivory Coast and Japan last night in Recife, the weather is what it is. As players, that’s not something we can control. Certainly the game played in this stadium, the field held up really well. We’ll get a better feel for it when we go out to train today, but when you get to this point, you’re not worried about little details like whether the wind’s blowing or whether the sun’s out. We’re just excited to get out on the field.”