Team USA got a “talking to” Thursday during its loss to Germany but is now looking ahead to Tuesday’s game against Belgium, goalie Tim Howard says.
“He gave us a talking-to at halftime and told us to step it up,” Howard said today on “Good Morning America” of U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann.
Klinsmann’s words were not enough to propel Team USA to a win against soccer-powerhouse Germany but Howard, 35, says the team is taking the 1-0 loss in stride.
“We’re proud of each other and the accomplishment of getting out of the group,” Howard said from São Paulo, Brazil, where the team returned after playing the game in rainy Recife. “The chance to advance on at the World Cup is special.”
The U.S. men’s soccer team advanced out of the so-called “Group of Death” to the round of 16 despite the loss against Germany and predictions that the team would not make it beyond a bracket that included not just Germany but Portugal and Ghana, too.
That Team USA is moving on and that he and his teammates themselves expected to do so speaks to the team’s abilities in this year’s World Cup, Howard said.
“It really says a lot about this team that we didn’t get overexcited, that we expect to be in the next round,” Howard said. “Even though we’re in the ‘Group of Death,’ we expected to advance and we have our sights set on Belgium.”
Team USA will face-off against Belgium Tuesday afternoon in the Round of 16.
“I played with three of their top players and I played against a lot of them in the English Premier League so they’re a tough team,” said Howard, a New Jersey native who played for Manchester United from 2003 to 2007.
“We’re a tough matchup for everybody and we feel like the way we’re playing right now, we’re going to give them a good game,” he said.
Team USA will now spend the time between now and Tuesday preparing themselves both mentally and physically. Howard described himself as “tired” and gave a glimpse into the demanding schedule the players keep while competing in soccer’s biggest event.
“Every now and again they’ll throw us a bone and allow us to see our families for coffee or dinner but more often than not they’re here to see the games and we’re here to play,” Howard said. “It’s super-focused on playing.”
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