The day we've been waiting for has dawned: USA and Germany meet at 9 a.m. with USA qualification -- as well as the top of the group -- on the line. The match will be shown on ESPN, with the potentially very relevant Portugal-Ghana match playing out simultaneously on ESPN2.
Sounders and USA captain Clint Dempsey is in this USA starting lineup: Howard; Johnson, González, Besler, Beasley; Beckerman, Jones; Zusi, Bradley, Davis; Dempsey.
Below, some comments about the game gathered earlier this week from Sounders coach Sigi Schmid:
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Thoughts ahead of the match: "There is still positioning, who you play as the first-place team versus the second-place team. For the U.S., to finish first obviously they have to win; a tie keeps them in second. There is that at stake. It gives you a different draw. … I think if Brazil wins their group, finishing second in the group means you avoid Brazil until the finals, so there might be a benefit to finishing second. But then, of course, you might run into Belgium instead of running into Algeria or Russia or Korea, so it changes your (path). That’s something you can’t predict. I think with the U.S., we just want to get on to the next round. It was unfortunate that we took that late goal (vs. Portugal).
Memories of the 1982 game between Germany and Austria, where the teams -- in similar circumstances -- apparently played for a mutually beneficial draw: “Yeah, I remember watching it and sitting there, and it was pretty disgusting, to be very honest. You could see what was going on. It was pretty disgusting for the fans, and obviously FIFA is going to have a really close eye on it. I wouldn’t be surprised if there wasn’t a call or two being made from FIFA to the federations and saying, ‘Hey, look, this can’t happen.’ On the same token, on the other hand you look at it and you’re saying, ‘OK, you’re in the World Cup. What’s the objective? It’s to advance to the next round.’ So you’re going to tell a team that they have to try and win the game at the risk of losing the objective of advancing to the next round when a tie advances them both? That’s their goal from the start. That’s what they’re trying to achieve. Obviously the other teams are going to be unhappy about that, but that’s also reality. You’re trying to advance. You’re trying to take care of your team. You’re not worried about the other team.
On if he is conflicted about who to root for: “No. I’m rooting for the U.S. I’m never torn on that. I’ve grown up here, I’m a U.S. citizen, and this is where I’ve earned my living as a soccer coach. … When Germany plays anybody else, I’m very German and I’m definitely behind them all the way. But I sometimes lose patience for people who have lived here a long time and are still rooting for their home country first. I understand that, and I was born in Germany and have all my relatives there. They’re going to be rooting for Germany first and they’re going to give me a hard time. But I just think this is the country that my family committed to and that I’ve committed to, so I’m going to support this country.