The U.S. will play Germany at noon Thursday in a World Cup match that will determine who survives Group G’s pool play and advances to the Round of 16.
The U.S. will advance with a win or tie. A loss could send the U.S. to the next round, but not without some outside assistance between Ghana and Portugal.
Carolina RailHawks coach Colin Clarke, who scored a goal for Northern Ireland during the 1986 World Cup in Mexico, answered a few questions about the United States’ match and its potential advancement to the Round of 16.
Q: Win or tie? What mindset should the U.S. team have going into its final group match against Germany?
A. You have to go in with the mindset to win the game. You can’t go in with a mindset other than that. Too much can go wrong. I’m sure they’ll be going in with a positive mindset trying to win. But the mindset might change once the game goes on, obviously.
Q: Germany dominated Portugal 4-0 but tied Ghana. What’s Germany capable of doing against the U.S.?
A. They’re a good team. They have a lot of good players that have won big games in the past. So it could be a very, very tough game. I still believe they’re going to be one of the teams that are going to be in the final four when the World Cup finishes.
Q: Five U.S. players have dual American-German citizenship, 31 of the 46 players on the two rosters have experience playing in Bundesliga, the German first division, and Jurgen Klinsmann was born in Germany and coached that national team in 2004-06. How will having so much familiarity with one another impact the match?
A. In some ways it helps the U.S. They know a lot of the players; they know a lot of their styles. So I think it’s a positive for the U.S., but I don’t think it’ll impact the match too much. Both teams know what they have to do. They have to go into the game with a positive attitude and a positive approach and once you get past that 60, 65th minute and it’s still tied up, maybe you’ll see something change. But up until then I think both teams are just trying to win.
Q: What will it take before Americans can call this World Cup a success?
A. It’s already been a success. They’re right at the end fighting for a spot to get through to the Round of 16. So it’s been a success, and it can be a bigger success if they can get through. There was a lot of talk beforehand about who wasn’t there and the reasons and one thing or another. All that’s been put aside and the team has performed very, very well in both games. It’s definitely been a success; it’s just a matter of how successful it’s gonna be.