SAO PAULO – Jurgen Klinsmann isn’t giving up on having Jozy Altidore back in the fold during the World Cup, but that will only happen should the United States advance to the knockout stage.
Speaking to the media on Tuesday at São Paulo FC’s Barra Funda training complex, Klinsmann confirmed Altidore will not take part in Thursday’s Group G finale against Germany in Recife (noon ET, ESPN) as Altidore continues to recover from a hamstring strain suffered against Ghana.
“Jozy is recovering really well. He’s doing a tremendous job there,” Klinsmann said. “Our medical staff is on top of it. This game comes still too early for him. But we’re working on him.
“We’ll get him back in this tournament as we said. Once this game, hopefully, is done successfully, we’ll have a good chance to have him back in the team.”
Whether that optimism is founded in fact or not, it’s likely the US will field the five-man midfield that worked so well against Portugal against the Germans in a match that will determine whether Altidore has a chance to return at all.
If the US win or draw, they’re through to the knockout stage. If they lose, the result of Ghana-Portugal will determine their fate. A draw in that match would send the Americans through, but it will come down to goal differential should a winner emerge.
Klinsmann also addressed the health of defender Matt Besler, who left the Ghana match at halftime with right hamstring tightness. That tightness briefly forced him off the field in the second half against Portugal, but Klinsmann said Besler, who trained with the team on Tuesday, shouldn’t face any restrictions.