Sports

Klinsmann could be advantage for US

UNITED STATES

The US' history at the World Cup has not exactly been steeped in success - the North Americans' biggest achievement came more than 80 years ago when they finished third at the 1930 Finals.

Despite not qualifying for the tournament between 1954 and 1986, they have progressed to the knockout rounds three times since, with a 2002 quarter-final defeat by Germany providing their greatest success.

The Stars and Stripes squad boast such wellknown names as Everton goalkeeper Tim Howard and former Tottenham striker Clint Dempsey (above) - but their biggest weapon could lie off the field in the form of head coach Juergen Klinsmann.

The former striker was a World Cup winner in 1990, while at club level he won the Bundesliga, Uefa Cup and German Footballer of the Year award among others.

The route to Brazil was a relatively straightforward affair for the men in red, white and blue, having won 11 of their 16 qualifying matches which saw them top the table in both their Concacaf groups.

Goals from Eddie Johnson and Landon Donovan in the 2-0 win against Mexico last September ultimately secured a place in Brazil.

The US will do well to progress beyond the group stages ahead of Germany and Portugal. But if Dempsey can carry over his goal-scoring from the qualifying stages and the defence can continue a run of good form which saw them keep six clean sheets in qualifying, they can raise a few eyebrows.