SAO PAULO (AP) — Jurgen Klinsmann maintains the United States shouldn't be expected to win the World Cup, even if that stance is upsetting to some fans back home.
"If it's now American or not American, I don't know. You can correct me however you want," the U.S. coach said Wednesday in his first news conference after arriving at the World Cup.
Klinsmann won the 1990 World Cup as a player for West Germany and coached Germany to the 2006 semifinals. He caused a stir last weekend when he was quoted by The New York Times Magazine as saying in a December interview "we cannot win this World Cup, because we are not at that level yet."
The U.S. opens Monday against Ghana, then plays Portugal and Germany in one of the more difficult first-round groups.
Only eight nations have won the World Cup: Brazil (five titles), Italy (four), Germany (three), Argentina and Uruguay (two each), and England, France and Spain (one apiece).
"I think for us now, talking about winning a World Cup is just not realistic," Klinsmann said Wednesday. "First we've got to make it through the group. So let's stay with our feet on the ground and say let's get that group first done, and then the sky is the limit. But a half a year before and even today before the World Cup starts, to say that we should win the World Cup is just not realistic."
ESPN: Donovan to analyze US team during World Cup
LOS ANGELES (AP) — ESPN has hired Landon Donovan to offer commentary on the U.S. soccer team he was cut from just before the World Cup.
The all-time American leader in goals and assists, the 32-year-old Donovan was dropped last month in a highly debated move by coach Jurgen Klinsmann. He will make his debut during ESPN's two-hour World Cup preview show Wednesday.
"Adding Landon to our ESPN roster just before the World Cup is a coup because he knows the United States team better than anyone having played such a huge role in its success, especially at this event," said Jed Drake, ESPN's executive producer for World Cup coverage. "Landon is also one of this country's biggest sports stars and we believe that he will help attract even more fans to our monthlong coverage."
Donovan will work out of the company's Los Angeles studios, with a particular focus on his former team. He will provide analysis before and after the Americans' group-stage matches and during halftime. Donovan will also appear on shows such as "SportsCenter."
Donovan played in the last three World Cups, scoring a U.S.-record five goals. His thrilling stoppage-time goal against Algeria sent the Americans to the second round four years ago.
Former teammate Jozy Altidore said in Sao Paulo he wasn't too surprised by the move.
"He's a smart guy. He knows the game very well," Altidore said. "It was always going to going to happen — right? — him to be a commentator."
Donovan said in a statement released by ESPN that he hoped "to provide unique insights for our amazing U.S. Soccer fans."