COSTA DO SAUIPE, Brazil — Juergen Klinsmann was handed the task of trying to knock his country out of the World Cup when the United States team he coaches was drawn against Germany in the opening round of next year’s finals.
“I had a feeling it was going to happen, I saw it coming,” said Klinsmann who won the World Cup as a player with West Germany in 1990 and led them to the semifinals as coach on home soil in 2006.
The U.S., which became the only team to beat Joachim Loew’s side when they won a friendly 4-3 in Washington on June 2, face the Germans in their final Group G match in Recife on June 26.
“You don’t know, we might need a win or a draw to survive and to knock them out,” former striker Klinsmann told reporters.
The draw pits him against his friend and his former Germany assistant Loew who took over from Klinsmann following the 2006 finals.
“That’s one of those crazy stories football writes,” said Klinsmann. “I had a feeling in my stomach we’d get Germany — it’s one of the most difficult groups in the whole draw.
“It will be special of course, not only for me and Joachim but we will also be playing Ghana and the Boateng brothers.
“It couldn’t get more difficult or any bigger. For me once the whistle goes they are just opponents who we must beat … we are going to be prepared and we are going to be confident.”
Loew said his relationship with Klinsmann would have to alter ahead of the World Cup meeting.
“We looked across to each other and smiled,” Loew said of the draw ceremony. “Juergen and I have had a very good and close relationship for a long time.
“We have always exchanged ideas on a regular basis but that will certainly change before the World Cup match.
“Not only do we face the United States and Ghana but Portugal and Cristiano Ronaldo as well and that will be very difficult.”
Half-brothers Kevin-Prince and Jerome Boateng played against each other when Germany defeated Ghana 1-0 in a first-round tie at the 2010 World Cup in Johannesburg.
The pair grew up in Berlin and both play in the Bundesliga, 26-year-old Kevin-Prince represents Schalke 04 and 25-year-old Jerome is a Champions League winner with Bayern Munich.
They both played for German youth teams before Kevin-Prince switched allegiance to Ghana.