Photo by John Todd/ISIphotos.com
By FRANCO PANIZO
SAO PAULO — Jozy Altidore is getting closer to a full return, and U.S. Men’s National Team head coach Jurgen Klinsmann is optimistic about the forward’s chances of playing in the Round of 16.
Altdiore was seen continuing his recovery from a strained left hamstring injury on Friday by jogging separately from his U.S. teammates but with a trainer. It was the third straight day in which Altidore ran. Klinsmann said after the U.S.’s light session at Sao Paulo FC’s training facility that he is feeling good about the chances of seeing Altidore back on the field in the upcoming elimination match against Belgium on Tuesday.
“We are very optimistic,” said Klinsmann, who has maintained that Altidore could return in this World Cup. “Every day is a big step forward with Jozy. It’s 11 days now (since the injury happened) and it’s looking better every day. We are optimistic to have him being part of the Belgium game.”
Altidore did not conduct any interviews with media following the Americans’ 1-0 loss to Germany in their Group G finale on Thursday, but he did say he was feeling better when asked about his health.
The 24-year-old striker has been forced to be a spectator for much of this World Cup after picking up the injury in the Americans’ World Cup opener, a 2-1 win over Ghana on June 16. He chased after a ball played over the top in the 21st minute and pulled up lame before being stretchered off and replaced two minutes later.
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