RECIFE, Brazil – Germany star Lukas Podolski backed the United States to keep its World Cup dream alive by springing an upset against Belgium in the round of 16.
Despite Germany dominating Thursday’s clash in Recife and comfortably beating the U.S. 1-0, Podolski saw enough to believe that Jurgen Klinsmann’s side has a genuine chance to reach the quarterfinals.
“They play well,” Podolski told Yahoo Sports. “They play like Germany and they fight, they run, this is the game of the U.S. I think they are happy that they are second in the group and they go through to the next round.
[Photos: World Cup group stage - USA vs. Germany]
“Against Belgium? Why not? They give all of what they have – this is their football. With this kind of football they can go to the next round.
“The Americans have done very well in this group. Before the tournament everyone said Ghana and U.S. will go out and Portugal and Germany will go through, but see what happened.”
Before the tournament, the German media almost universally predicted that it would be Portugal or Ghana to go through to the round of 16 along with the Germans.
However, thanks to a victory over Ghana in the opening game, followed by a dramatic tie against Portugal, the U.S. battled its way over the line and will now take on Belgium at Salvador’s Arena Fonte Nova on Tuesday.
Germany coach Joachim Loew, Klinsmann’s close friend and former assistant, also had kind words for the U.S. side, which, although outmatched against Germany, has shown enough signs of promise to suggest that it could trouble Belgium.
“That was a tough group,” Loew said. “Everyone thought the Americans would be on the outside and that Portugal would make it.
“I am happy for the U.S. [Reaching the round of 16], it means they have the qualities and they are really tough on the opponent. They have players who have improved technically. If you beat Ghana and draw with Portugal, you deserve to reach the round of 16.”
Germany’s victory means that it topped the group with seven points from three games and will go into the knockout stage full of confidence. Next up for Loew’s men is Algeria, which clinched second place in Group H by drawing 1-1 with Russia.
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