RECIFE, Brazil – After Manaus, then what?
That’s the question facing a US national team that arrived here on Tuesday, less than 72 hours removed from an exhausting draw against Portugal in the sticky and sapping heat of the Amazon on Sunday night.
The after-effects of matches in Manaus haven’t been kind to teams in this World Cup. Four matches have now been played there and each team that’s endured 90 minutes there has so far lost the next match.
England, Italy, Cameroon and Croatia all lost after Manaus, and all four have been eliminated from the World Cup. And those teams allowed six goals (with a goal differential of minus-4) in the second half.
That’s a fate that the US don’t want to share when they take on Germany in their Group F finale at Arena Pernambuco on Thursday afternoon (12 pm ET, ESPN).
“We go through CONCACAF with all the Central American countries, we have in the US ourselves different climates, and so it’s alright with us,” US head coach Jurgen Klinsmann said this week. “We came back [to Sao Paulo] late in the night after the game in Manaus and everybody just felt good getting back to our team base hotel, getting back next day here and our training ground, which is really like a second home now.
“We kind of recharged the batteries, they’re all good and fresh and they’re ready to go. They are so eager now to get into the knockout-stage, so it’s all good with us.”
Midfielder Kyle Beckerman was one of seven US players who logged 90-plus minutes in the team’s 2-2 draw against Portugal, but he said Wednesday that the team was not adversely affected by the exhaustion from Manaus or the lengthy travel up the coast to Recife.
“I don’t think it’s really bothering us right now,” he said. “This is the biggest game of a lot of our lives. Any fatigue in our legs will be erased, and we’re going to give it everything we got and more. We’ve done the proper stuff to recover, we don’t see the short rest as harm to us at all.”