USMNT coach Jurgen Klinsmann during the Germany match
USA Today

USMNT head coach Jurgen Klinsmann targets semifinal finish in 2018 World Cup

Jurgen Klinsmann and the US men's national team start their trek towards the 2018 World Cup in Russia today with their friendly in the Czech Republic, and already the US coach has lofty expectations for his team for the tournament in four years' time.

In an interview with NBC Sports' Arlo White prior to the USMNT's 1-0 win in Prague, Klinsmann made the argument that the team's ability to get out of a brutal group in this summer's World Cup containing Germany, Ghana and Portugal should have led to bigger things, and that the next step could come in Russia.

"I was left with that feeling that once you get out of the most difficult group of the World Cup you should go further than the Round of 16. That was my sense to it," Klinsmann said.

The US would fall to Belgium by a score of 2-1 in the Round of 16, in large part thanks to a World Cup-record 16-save performance from goalkeeper Tim Howard that helped send the game to extra time at 0-0 before the Belgians pulled out the result.

"It was possible to get into the quarterfinal. It was even possible to get into the semifinal in Brazil for us which nobody would probably believed. But this is how I looked at it," Klinsmann added. "And this is our goal going toward Russia [2018] – not to stop at the Round of 16 and not to stop at the quarterfinals.

"To say clearly we have four years to prepare this cycle and our goal is to go into a semifinal in a World Cup and that means a lot of work, a lot of competition and a lot of grind."