1 September 2014 20:53
Jurgen Klinsmann will begin the latest cycle of his United States tenure against the Czech Republic on Wednesday in Prague.
Much hype surrounded Klinsmann’s side during the FIFA World Cup in Brazil after they progressed from a difficult Group G.
The US ultimately exited at the hands of Belgium in extra time of a last-16 encounter and will now be hoping to build on the momentum gained from that.
Klinsmann admits he has a long-term view towards Russia 2018, with this encounter the start of that process.
“We look at this as the start of our project towards Russia in 2018, and in this first step we get to look at many of our talented young players based in Europe,” said Klinsmann.
“We have some great youngsters coming through the ranks that are starting to break through with their clubs teams and are ready to challenge for spots on the senior team, and even most of our World Cup veterans from Brazil on this roster will be coming into the prime of their careers in the next four years, so this is an exciting opportunity.”
Klinsmann’s eye for the future was illustrated when his squad for the friendly was chosen, with 15 of the 22 aged 24 or younger.
Julian Green, the exciting young striker who scored during the aforementioned defeat to Belgium, is part of the squad.
Green is one of 10 players who were also involved in Brazil, while newcomer Jordan Morris could become the first college player to make his international debut for the US since Ante Razov in 1995.
For Czech Republic head coach Pavel Vrba, meanwhile, the game represents ideal preparation for their first Euro 2016 qualifier against Netherlands, which takes place just six days later.
He said: “I would be glad if the same team plays against America and then the Netherlands.
“We would like to refine the defensive phase, where we have previously made too many mistakes, which our opponents punished.
“The Americans pleasantly surprise many in Brazil and will be quality opponent.”