Football

Promise unfulfilled for sacked Klinsmann

Klinsmann produced highs but failed to realise goal of taking the US to the next level

Juergen Klinsmann insisted to the bitter end that he could turn around the US' fortunes, but yesterday he was handed one of his biggest defeats of his career when he was dismissed as national coach and technical director.

A giant of German football as a World Cup winning-player and a coach who led them to the semi-finals in 2006 when they hosted the tournament, the 52-year-old was shown the door before fulfilling his quest to raise the US to the next level.

On the brink of his axing, Klinsmann guaranteed he could overcome a rare home loss to Mexico and a stunning 4-0 hammering at Costa Rica and steer the US through qualifying and into the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

PERSPECTIVE

"It's important to put this in the right perspective," he said.

"We lost the two opening games and played the two best teams right away. We have eight more games to get the points needed to qualify.

"This team is always capable of reacting. We'll correct this with the two games in March (against Honduras and Panama) and we'll take one game at a time from there to get our points. I'm 1,000 per cent sure we'll qualify."

Never want to see someone lose their job. I have no doubt that this talented group of players will qualify for Russia 2018.Juergen Klinsmann critic Landon Donovan on his sacking

US Soccer Federation chief Sunil Gulati is also confident the United States will qualify for the World Cup, but with a different coach at the helm.

"While we remain confident that we have quality players to help us advance to Russia 2018, the form and growth of the team up to this point left us convinced that we need to go in a different direction," he said in a statement.

Klinsmann promised a younger, more skilled US team after he replaced Bob Bradley in 2011, but despite some high points, inconsistency and recent lows cost him his job.

The storied former striker had a 55-27-16 record during his tenure, and in 2013 he led the team on a 12-game winning streak, the longest in US history.

In 2014, the team advanced out of the "Group of Death" and reached the Round of 16 of the World Cup.

More recently, the team finished fourth at June's Copa America Centenario in the United States.

Klinsmann called his team's wins against Costa Rica, Paraguay and Ecuador to reach the last four a seminal moment for football in America.

"We had a maturing process at the Copa America that was outstanding," he said.

"We wanted to have younger players becoming more powerful and confident and got that."

Klinsmann brought impressive credentials to the US job.

As a player, he starred for fabled clubs Inter Milan, Tottenham Hotspur and Bayern Munich.

He made 108 appearances for Germany and scored 47 goals, including 11 goals over three World Cups (1990, 1994 and 1998), and played in Germany's European Championship-winning team in 1996.

Klinsmann retired in 1998 and moved to the United States, settling in California with his wife and two children.

Six years later, he took over as coach of the German national team and led them to third place at the 2006 World Cup. Klinsmann's tenure ended with a 20-8-6 record.

He went on to coach Bayern Munich, but lasted less than a full season after falling out of favour with management and worked as a consultant after that before landing the US job.

Bruce Arena, a five-time Major League Soccer winning coach who is now with the Los Angeles Galaxy, is thought to be a prime candidate to replace Klinsmann.

The 65-year-old American coached the US to the World Cup 2002 quarter-finals. - Reuters.

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