Klins­mann f ired as US coach, Arena favoured

Jamaica Gleaner - - TUESDAY SPORTS -

JURGEN KLINS­MANN was fired as coach of the US foot­ball team yes­ter­day, six days af­ter a 4-0 loss at Costa Rica dropped the Amer­i­cans to 0-2 in the fi­nal round of World Cup qual­i­fy­ing.

Los An­ge­les Galaxy coach Bruce Arena is the favourite to suc­ceed Klins­mann. Arena coached the national team from 1998 to 2006.

Qual­i­fy­ing re­sumes when the US hosts Hon­duras on March 24 and play four days later at Panama.

“While we re­main con­fi­dent that we have qual­ity play­ers to help us ad­vance to Rus­sia 2018, the form and growth of the team up to this point left us con­vinced that we need to go in a dif­fer­ent di­rec­tion,” US Soc­cer Fed­er­a­tion Pres­i­dent Su­nil Gu­lati said in a state­ment. “With the next qual­i­fy­ing match in late March, we have sev­eral months to re­fo­cus the group and de­ter­mine the best way for­ward to en­sure a suc­cess­ful jour­ney to qual­ify for our eighth con­sec­u­tive World Cup.”

A for­mer Ger­man star for­ward who has lived mostly in south­ern Cal­i­for­nia since re­tir­ing as a player in 1998, Klins­mann re­placed Bob Bradley in July 2011 and led the team to the 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup ti­tle and the sec­ond round of the 2014 World Cup, where the Amer­i­cans lost to Bel­gium in ex­tra time.

But the US was knocked out by Ja­maica in last year’s Gold Cup semi-fi­nals and lost to Mex­ico in a play-off for a Con­fed­er­a­tions Cup berth. The team re­bounded to reach the Copa Amer­ica semi-fi­nals be­fore los­ing to Ar­gentina 4-0. But this month Mex­ico beat the Amer­i­cans 2-1 at Colum­bus, Ohio, in the first home qual­i­fy­ing loss for the US since 2001.

And last week, the Amer­i­cans were routed in Costa Rica, drop­ping to 0-2 in the hexag­o­nal, as the fi­nal round of World Cup qual­i­fy­ing in North and Cen­tral Amer­ica and the Caribbean is known.

CON­FUS­ING TAC­TICS

While there is time to re­cover, given the top three teams qual­ify for the 2018 tour­na­ment in Rus­sia and the fourth-place fin­isher ad­vances to a play-off against Asia’s No. 5 team, play­ers seemed con­fused by Klins­mann’s tac­tics, such as a 3-4-1-2 for­ma­tion.

“To­day, we made the dif­fi­cult de­ci­sion of part­ing ways with Jurgen Klins­mann,” Gu­lati said. “There were con­sid­er­able achieve­ments along the way ... but there were also lesser pub­li­cised ef­forts be­hind the scenes. He chal­lenged ev­ery­one in the US. Soc­cer com­mu­nity to think about things in new ways, and thanks to his ef­forts we have grown as an or­ga­ni­za­tion and ex­pect there will be ben­e­fits from his work for years to come.”

Arena was in­ducted into the US National Soc­cer Hall of Fame in 2010. As US coach, he led the Amer­i­cans to the 2002 World Cup quar­ter-fi­nals in the team’s best fin­ish since 1930.

KLINS­MANN

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