3 July 2014 04:42
Landon Donovan criticised Jurgen Klinsmann and his approach following the United States’ elimination from the FIFA World Cup in Brazil.
The USA’s World Cup campaign came to an end at the last-16 stage after they were beaten 2-1 by Belgium in extra time at the Itaipava Arena Fonte Nova on Tuesday.
Klinsmann’s men gained plenty of admirers for their performances in Brazil but Donovan – the USA’s all-time leading scorer – was less than impressed by the tactics adopted by the German coach, who controversially overlooked the 32-year-old LA Galaxy forward for the World Cup.
“It’s certainly a missed opportunity,” Donovan, who has scored 57 goals in 156 international appearances, told reporters on Wednesday.
“The thought of having a game Saturday – the day after the Fourth of July, against [Lionel] Messi and Argentina, with what was already a swelling audience – would have been incredible.
“I think we’re all disappointed in what happened yesterday. I think the most disappointing is we didn’t seem like we gave it a real effort, from a tactical standpoint.
“I thought the guys did everything they could, they did everything that was asked of them, but I don’t think we were set up to succeed yesterday, and that was tough to watch.”
Donovan added: “It’s a results-oriented business, and so, results-wise, you can hold your head high.
“But If you really look at the performances, there were some good performances by guys, some not-so-good performances by guys. As a whole, I think tactically, the team was not set up to succeed.
“They were set up in a way that was opposite from what they’ve been the past couple years, which is opening up, passing, attacking – trying to do that. And the team’s been successful that way.
“Why they decided to switch that in the World Cup, none of us will know. From a playing standpoint, I think the guys will probably be disappointed in the way things went.”
Donovan – a veteran of three World Cups after appearances in 2002, 2006 and 2010 – said he would have questioned Klinsmann over the team’s formation had he been in South America.
“If I’m in that locker room before that game – before the Germany game, before the Belgium game – and the coach walked in and said we’re playing a 4-5-1 and Clint [Dempsey] is up top by himself, I would have been disappointed.
“Because I would have said ‘let’s go for it. I want a chance to go for it and try to win the game’.”