US: We're going to ATTACK
PLOTTING: US forward Clint Dempsey (right), seen here in action against Germany, and his teammates plan to go on the attack in their game against Belgium. PHOTO: AFP
Attack will be the best form of defence when the US takes on Belgium tonight for a place in the World Cup quarter-finals, said its coach Juergen Klinsmann.
The US confounded all pre-tournament predictions by battling their way out of a daunting Group G, finishing behind Germany but claiming the runners-up spot ahead of Portugal and Ghana.
Klinsmann acknowledged, however, that his team must improve on last Thursday's 1-0 defeat by the Germans in Recife if they are to provide another shock by eliminating Belgium.
Of particular concern to Klinsmann is his team's attack. According to Fifa statistics compiled after the completion of the first round, the US had just 72 attacks in three games - putting them 31st among 32 teams.
Klinsmann said he wants to buck that trend against a Belgium side who may be missing centre backs Vincent Kompany and Thomas Vermaelen, both of whom are battling to recover from injuries.
"It's definitely something we learnt out of the Germany game," Klinsmann said. "We were too deep, especially the first 20 minutes.
"I was screaming my lungs off there to get the back line out and to move the entire unit higher up the field.
"So we'll work on that... to shift the entire game forward and through that put more pressure on the opponent and create more chances. This is really one of our goals."
In two friendlies in the last three years, Belgium have recorded two victories, winning 1-0 in 2011 before recording a 4-2 success away in May last year.
"They are full of individual talent, there's no doubt about it," Klinsmann said. We had the opportunity to play them twice in the last two years. Both times, they came out as the winning team, but we also believe we can have enough confidence going into this very special knockout game to say we are able to beat them."
Meanwhile, Belgium's Daniel van Buyten has fired the first volley even before the game. He called Klinsmann "unimpressive", reported goal.com.
Both men were at German club Bayern Munich but Klinsmann was sacked as its manager five years ago.
"I am not impressed by Klinsmann. He is just a coach who knows how to conduct his group and get the maximum out of them by motivating them," said the 36-year-old. .
Van Buyten had previously claimed Klinsmann went back on his word when he was at Bayern by leaving the player out of a Champions League game after promising he would play.-Wire Services