Jurgen Klinsmann isn’t worried about facing one of the world’s most dangerous squads in Portugal on Sunday, and he’s also not worried about another difficult foe — the stifling Brazilian heat.
The United States is set to take on Portugal in their second game of the 2014 World Cup, a Sunday matchup set for the stifling heat of Manaus, Brazil.
The heat might pose a problem for a normal squad, but the United States is more than prepared for the conditions. The team has been practicing in seasonal Stanford, California, but has experience playing across a number of more heat soaked cities like Miami and Texas.
“I think we are very well prepared for this climate here in Manaus,” U.S. manager Jurgen Klinsmann said at Saturday’s news conference. “It’s similar to climates in CONCACAF or Central America, or even if you go to Florida and play in Miami. It’s similar to what we experience here. I think we are very well prepared for tomorrow.”
But the Americans will have plenty of other factors to account for against Portugal. The team is playing without powerful forward Jozy Altidore, who was ruled out after suffering a hamstring injury in the United States’ 2-1 win over Ghana in the opening match.
The American squad said they aren’t planning any big changes in strategy with Altidor out of the lineup.
“I don’t think so,” midfielder Graham Zusi said when asked if the team would need a new strategy. “We have guys who can fill in that spot. Our depth was tested yesterday and it proved to be very good for us. We have guys who can fill that spot and do the same job Jozy can.”
The team also faced an attacking Ghana squad in the first game, forcing players to expend great amounts of energy to defend.
But goalkeeper Tim Howard said the team has been well rested since then and is ready to take on Portugal.
“The team seems to have trained really well the last couple of days,” he said. “We got a lot of sleep after the first game when we arrived back in Sao Paulo. We’ve not done anything different to prepare for the heat. I think we’re fit and we’re conditioned. As long as we get good sleep and stay hydrated, we should be fine.”
Ultimately the United States won’t be thinking much about the heavily favored Portugal squad, just focusing on their own play and trying to dictate the tempo of the match.
“We are going to make it our game,” said Klinsmann.
The United States does one bad break against Portugal. Cristiano Ronaldo expected to play despite a severe knee injury, though Portugal star Pepe is serving a suspension for a headbutt against Germany.