Jurgen Klinsmann doesn’t think his job as United States manager should be in jeopardy, despite the Americans losing their first two matches of the final round of World Cup qualifying for the first time ever. Moreover, Klinsmann said that people calling for his firing are being “being disrespectful.”
“I’m not afraid,” Klinsmann told the New York Times. “What you need to do is stick to the facts. Soccer is emotional, and a lot of people make conclusions without knowing anything about the inside of the team or the sport. I still believe we will get the points we need to qualify, and I am even confident we could win the group.”
The U.S. can absolutely still win the group, although that would take a historically good finish to the Hex. More realistically, they’re hoping to get into third place, which would book them a spot in the World Cup. That is something entirely reasonable and even likely, although the chances of them doing so are probably only a little better than 50/50 right now. But if Klinsmann is asking people to stick to facts, that probably won’t go well for him.
Klinsmann’s team is the first U.S. ever to lose their first two matches of the Hex, a hole that only one team in history has ever dug out of to qualify for the World Cup. They also saw their undefeated streak in Columbus, OH snapped when they lost to Mexico, a team they hadn’t lost at home to in World Cup qualifying since 1972. On top of that, their 4-0 defeat at Costa Rica was their worst shutout loss in a qualifier in more than 30 years. So, factually, there isn’t much for Klinsmann to stand on right now.
“The fact is, we lost two games," said Klinsmann." There is a lot of talk from people who don’t understand soccer or the team.”
Going after people who criticize him is the norm from Klinsmann. While he has said repeatedly that there needs to be more interest, scrutiny and pressure from the fans and media in the U.S., he has hit back whenever that scrutiny falls on him. He has criticized the fan base and journalists before, saying they didn’t know enough about the sport. This is more of the same.
U.S. Soccer president Sunil Gulati said after the loss to Costa Rica that the two sides will meet before making a decision on Klinsmann’s future.