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Klinsmann: USMNT would have qualified for World Cup if I remained in charge


Former U.S. Men’s National Team manager Jurgen Klinsmann is more than confident the team would’ve qualified for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia had he stayed on as manager.

After losing the first two games of the Hexagonal round of CONCACAF World Cup qualifying, Klinsmann was let go in November 2016.

Even with the poor start, Klinsmann believes he would’ve led the USMNT to Russia if he remained as head coach.

“I had no doubt that we would have qualified for the World Cup in Russia but the federation made their own decision in November 2016,” Klinsmann said, according to Goal.

“Everyone couldn’t believe it that the team lost in Trinidad & Tobago. It was a huge disappointment for everyone involved in soccer in the United States, including myself.”

Before the disastrous end to his tenure as USMNT manager, Klinsmann led the Americans to the round of 16 at the 2014 World Cup behind a few dramatic results in Brazil. As for his next move, Klinsmann says he would like to get back into the international game.

“Anything is possible in football,” he said, “but it is more likely that I coach a national team again instead of a club in Europe.”



  1. Write a book… “What Happened” by Klinsmann. LMAO it was a mistake to keep you on after the first WC where you didnt take Donovan as payback and instead took Wondo and Green (who is he again) NO we would not have won. Both you and Arena let us get too old and would not send people away after their expiration date

    With your failure in first Germany and now the USA, dont see you getting more coaching gigs JK

  2. Klinsmann’s more recent results against teams in the Hex (counting only the Costa Rica games when Navas was in goal):

    Honduras: one win, one tie (2015 gc, friendly)
    Panama: two ties (both in 2016 gc)
    T&T: one win and one tie. (previous round of wcq)
    Costa Rica: two losses (friendly wcq)
    Mexico: two losses. (gc playoff, wcq)

    ALL BUT ONE OF THESE GAMES WERE AT HOME. Even so, Klinsmann had ten points in ten games to the 12 in 8 under Arena. That doesn’t inspire a lot of confidence.

  3. i want there to be a rule that, from now on, all men’s team head coaches must be Americans. i was so deeply offended that this foreigner excluded landon donovan from the wc in brazil. i Don’t care who he is or where he came from, this is our national team (and i don’t care, either, what gulati told him) he has NO RIGHT to do that. our national team isn’t really his team. it’s OUR team. he can coach it (within certain limits) but it doesn’t really belong to him and he had NO RIGHT to exclude our captain. who does he think he is, anyway?

    in germany, he can exclude the captain. that’s his team. in our country? no, he can’t. it’s not his team.

    • i hope too that in the future, the gm will also always be an American who understands these things and who will help to ensure that that type of thing never happens again.

    • And I, who will use uppercase occasionally, hopes that you have nothing to do with the rules or decisions of the US. Donovan took 6 months off as qualifying was starting so he could go walk around Cambodia, or Vietnam or wherever. He came back to camp FAT and slow. Indon’t care where the coach is from if he can get us to beat Mexico and Costa Rica with regularity.

      • 6 months off? ld played in mls so that’s pretty much impossible. do you know this player’s history? typically, the galaxy were in the playoffs every year, so their season lasted til around November, plus doing some kind of ccl extra games, plus being called for nearly every national team game, and galaxy camp starts in may but typically being called into ‘camp cupcake’ (January national team camp was typically mls based) plus often ld would do some amazing Euro loan in his very short December break (such as what was it, everton?) plus by 2014 he’d been doing this heavy workload for what, ten years? ld is very intelligent and he knows his body better than anyone and the wc isn’t in January is it, it’s in June and ld knew that and if he knew that the best thing for his body to be 100% in June was to rest in December then since he is our all time leading scorer and our captain and he has never let us down before then i think we can cut him a little slack on the weight scale at camp cupcake do you also think so?

      • Looked it up it was four months not six. He missed training camp and the first month of the season. So no he was not in the game shape others were but it was the mental aspect of LD JK didn’t trust. He’d seen him crumble at Bayern which played a role in his firing. Then LD takes off 4 months just six months before the WC because he was burnt out. JK didn’t feel he could trust him. His inclusion would have likely made no difference we still finish 2nd in the group and still would have been outplayed by Belgium.

    • Usually your posts are okay to good, but this is just stupid. You think only American coaches are good enough or know American players well enough? Very few other national teams take this approach and it is especially short sighted given the lack of international experience of 99% of American coaches. I hope we get the best coach available. no matter what his nationality.

  4. What else was he going to say? Just like Arena was trying to get off by saying he did nothing wrong and wouldn’t change anything. We’ll never know, but I doubt we would have lost to T&T the last game under JK, because he probably would have had a different (and better) lineup. Sometimes I think SBI publishes anything they can about Klinsmann because they know it will generate a ton of comments.

    • “…I doubt we would have lost to T&T the last game under JK…”

      i doubt we would’ve even been in contention by the last game under klinsmann. place the blame on whoever you will, but the players were obviously done with him.

      i can’t imagine it’s a popular opinion at the moment, but i still think we had a better chance qualifying under arena than we did if they kept klinsmann.

      • Well, under Arena the US played to form except for 2 games. They tied Mexico in Mexico (thanks to the Bradley wonder goal from 30 yards out), but lost to CR at home. No other result under Arena, except for T&T was anything other than what it should have been. Assume that the US played to form with Klinsmann the rest of the matches after he was fired and they probably lose to Mexico and at least tie, or win vs. CR at home. Arena’s tactics vs. CR were really bad. So, Arena didn’t do anything special, IMO, going into the last game vs. T&T and there was no excuse for some of his player selections or the poor play for that game. I was worried that they were taking it for granted, and their play showed that that was the case. It’s all speculation, of course, but I doubt Klinsmann would have played Omar over Cameron and I think he would have played Dempsey a lot more than Arena did. Both Altidore and Wood were totally useless and only Pulisic and Dempsey provided any offensive spark. I also would fault Arena for his tactics vs. Honduras where we were lucky to get the draw there. Bottom line is that Arena had one job to do and he failed. We certainly wouldn’t have done worse than that with Klinsmann.

    • you’re assuming that the players would’ve played the same way under klinsmann as they did under arena. my perception is that (again, blame whoever) the players either decided on their own or saw the writing on the wall that klinsmann was done, and reacted accordingly. so i contend that if he had stayed on, it would’ve been downhill from costa rica.

  5. Perfect.
    And if Jonathon was the starting keeper, we would have had a clean sheet in T&T.

    Can’t wait until Russia ’18 is over and turn a new page this fall.

  6. I think Troy2 has pretty much nailed it. Pure PR from him to posture for new job. Does it matter now? Nope. Better question is whether, in the long term, USMNT is will move forward to become a credible soccer nation without him? I think so, but much will depend on new coach and GM.
    JK never accepted any responsibility for the results then, pretty hypocritical to make these comments now.

  7. Jurgen hasn’t made any comment yet until now. I wonder why? Oh and he mentions that he could coach a national team again. The truth is that he’s lining himself up to be on the market again for coaching gigs. This statement of overconfidence is transparent.

    Jurgen lost the locker room with his ineffective tactics and the destructively stubborn way he played players out of their normal positions. He would have played likely a similar lineup to Bruce (Cameron the biggest difference) and lost the same T&T game.

    Our team leaders were more responsible for the WC fiasco than Jurgen or Bruce however. Bradley and Altidore the most obvious and glaring. They may play great for their club but their attitudes probably launched Jurgen out and, more importantly, lost our spot in Russia.

    • How can you say that he would have played the same lineup? He routinely rotated players. To run the same 11 out 4 days after pressing Panama into submission in the Caribbean heat was ill advised, at the least, and ridiculously stupid in most people’s opinion. JK does not equal a world class coach, but JK > Bruce all day long. Both = stubborn somewhat arrogant men, unwilling to admit mistakes. The same tragic flaw for both men, in my opinion.

      • Similar, not same. But the spine of the team both coaches relied on. Bradley, Altidore, Howard. They set the tone and are supposed to be leaders but I think they were anything but.

        Note how we are not doing that anymore.

      • What leads you to believe JK is a better manager than Arena?? History says orherwise. The US team had played in Confederation Cups, won Gold Cups and made the quarters of a WC under Arena, Jurgen resume doesn’t hold up and you can ask Philip Lahm about his managerial prowess, or lack there of as well

    • Taken out after 29 mins isn’t a good sign but they proceeded to give up 2 goals right after

  8. Can’t disagree with Jurgen. Hard to imagine US veteran, MLS guys becoming so complacent going into T&T under him. They definitely faced more competition under Jurgen and he showed a willingness to bring in young and guys and throw them into the fire. In retrospect, this would have helped but its not as obvious back then.

    • I don’t think it is correct to say that JK was the only one to bring in new players. Bradley brought a crap ton of new, younger players. At the end, he had his core group, but he let players try.

      The real problem with Klinnsman at the end was the players couldn’t figure out what they were supposed to do. The same thing happened the first time Arena got fired. I remember Demarcus Beasley basically saying after a loss: “I didnt know what to do. i was supposed to go forward. i was supposed to defend. I was supposed to stay in position”

      The reason the USMNT lost is we didn’t have good enough players. Mexico is pretty good. CR is still good. Somehow we contrived to be worse than Panama, and we couldn’t even do better than Honduras to get into a play-off with Australia.

    • Pace? Lol… There is no such thing, you either have enough potential points remaining to qualify or you don’t. It’s mathematical. Do you want to win every game, sure. Does that happen, usually not. Bringing Bruce in to be an (unnecessary)savior like he is some savant was ignorant. Everything the squad had been taught and trained for under JK was changed and backdated 10 years at the worst time, with everything on the line. STUPID decision. Bruce had no pressure, win and you’re the man. Lose and blame it on JK.

      Was JK a great coach? None of us truly know the answer to that but what isn’t debatable is the fact he was an all time great and knows exactly what it takes to reach much higher levels. US soccer really thought bringing ole Bruce back was a better idea. The idea gets more ridiculous every time you think about it.

      • He was an all time great player, but awful coach and it’s not debatable, just ask Lahm and further evidence was that GC catastrophe. People like to bring up making the final 16 as proof that he was a good manager but he didn’t do anything the previous 2 managers had’t and if we’he being honest the play in the WC was sub-par. Copa America was also hailed as positive, but we were hosting the thing and should have made the semis, especially considering we beat teams we had winning or even records against all time!

  9. ya we all know that.. doesn’t help us now.

    id like to know if he would consider the GM Role and if the USSF bridge is completely burned or if there is ever a possibility of him working within or around soccer in this country again?

    • He is not an administrative guy — the GM is kind of the coaching boss — and only ok as a coach. If you really wanted him it would be in a scouting capacity, the guy who goes around finding and recruiting dual nationals. That I think he would excel at. But that is probably below his pay grade.

  10. Regardless if u like JK or didn’t losing the first two games wasn’t ideal . 4-0 loss at Costa Rica was bad but when have hey picked up points there. Losing to Mexico at home even though it’s been awhile isn’t surprising they are a better team. It was just the first 2 games that make it look so bad. Now if they would have lost to T&T away and Costa Rica at home the first 2 games then yea that’s a big deal. Arena kept saying they were behind the 8 ball, that was just an excuse if they didn’t qualify and honestly who on this site would rather have qualification come down to a point at T&T or results at Costa Rica and home against Mexico

    • The ironic thing is that in the first round of qualifying, the US went into the final game with a spot in the Hex clinched. They could have put any team out there and worst is that they would have been second in the group. But, they played the regulars and won. The result was that the first 2 games were 2 of the 3 toughest games that they had. In order of toughness, you figure it would be Mexico at Mexico, then CR at CR, and finally, Mexico in the US. Had they not won the group they probably would have started out much better and Klinsmann remained coach. The loss to CR in the US was worse than the first two losses, IMO, especially considering how badly we beat them in the Centenario.

    • So losing the first 2 games of the hex is not being behind the 8 ball?? It’s the epitome of being behind the 8 ball, and how dare JK say we would have qualified for the WC if he had stated on when he couldn’t even get us to the final of a Gold Cup?? And to make matters worst we lost in the third place game, so he needs to shut up and go sit down somewhere smdh

      • When u look at who they were playing and where then no. At Costa Rica is 0 points at best 1 and losing to Mexico at home while it hasn’t happened in awhile isn’t a surprise since they are a better team. Just pick up the points that u are suppose to and u qualify

    • In the 24+ years of the Hex, only one team has come back from losing the first two games and qualified for the World Cup. that was Trinidad, and Tobago in ’06 and they finished 4th and had a playoff against an AFC team.(Bahrain) But to get there, they beat Mexico at home and Panama on the road. The also only lost 1 home game.

      I had little faith in Klinsmann qualifying the US after losing at home,, but the killer was the loss in NY against CR. THE US JUST DOES NOT LOSE HOME GAMES.

      In ’13 Hex the US won all its home games, but lost 2 on the road. The US never lost 2 home games in a Hex EVER and the LAST time they lost even ONE home game was against Honduras in the ”02 WC qualifier

      Klinsmann was an average coach at best, and he would need an extreme amount of luck and some exemplary coaching to pull the US into the WC.

      To be fair to Klinsmann was only half the problem, s he coached only 2 games, but he put the US in a deep hole that only luck and a great coach could get us out of. Unfortunately, we had neither

      • The more time that has elapsed, the less I think it’s Klinsmann’s fault. We had a group of entitled jerks on the MNT, content to not challenge their comfort zones by playing abroad. Rather than try to better themselves as a footballer, they opted to pocket the money and comfort of playing in the MLS.

        So as much as I want to blame JK, there is a cancerous group within the MNT and Michael Bradley was at the center of it. Yes, it’s true that Jurgen has clashed with players both at the club and MNT level. OTOH, these players are professionals, and having coach you like snf respect is a luxury.

        It’s unknowable whether we would have qualified if we retained Klinsmann. What I do know is that Arena made some head-shaking decisions, like starting Omar over Cameron. The other thing was Arena was too afraid to bring on some young players. Historically, that is something that JK has recognized. He would have been more likely to have called up Adams, McKennie, etc

  11. Big of him to say since it took a confluence of events that up until last matchday had a very tiny % of happening to prevent Arena from leading us to qualification.

    Maybe don’t come out against Mexico with a crackpot formation and lineup in Columbus and this is all moot. Hell, if Jozy just marks Rafa at the end this may have been all moot.

    • It was Brooks who missed the assignment on Rafa Marquez. If you recall, after the game he said that he told the players to specifically watch Marquez on those types of plays and it was a missed assignment, without saying who missed it. When asked who it was, he said it was Brooks.


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