The U.S. coach, who won a World Cup as a player for West Germany in 1990 and guided his native land to the semifinals at home in 2006, in December told The New York Times Magazine that the Yanks "cannot win this World Cup, because we are not at that level yet. For us, we have to play the game of our lives seven times to win the tournament.”
Only eight nations have ever won the Cup -- Brazil (with five trophies), Italy (four), Germany (three), Argentina and Uruguay (two apiece), and England, France and Spain (one each) -- and there have been only two first-time winners (France at home in 1998 and Spain four years ago) since Argentina captured its first title 36 years ago.
Nonetheless, Klinsmann's comments were seen in some circles as controversial, and Landon Donovan -- in his first appearance as an ESPN commentator after his stunning omission from the U.S. roster said he disagreed.
“As someone who has been in that locker room and has sat next to the players ... we agree with the American Outlaws: 'We believe that we will win,' ” Donovan said. “And I think that's the way Americans think. I think that's the sentiment.”
Klinsmann reiterated his thoughts Wednesday in his first news conference in Brazil.