The walkover stage of the 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup is over, according to U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann. Though the United States had little trouble in the group stage, waltzing past its Group C opponents by a combined score of 11-2 before trouncing El Salvador 5-1 in the quarterfinals, he sees Honduras as being on a different level.
Los Catrachos were the last team to defeat the United States, and are the only side to have taken maximum points off the Yanks in the final round of World Cup qualifying.
The 48-year-old dismissed the idea that the semifinal against Honduras would resemble the rampant beatdowns his American side has so frequently visited upon its opponents in recent days.
"It's not going to be an easy game at all," he said in a press conference. "I think (Honduras coach) Luis Suarez, over the last two years has formed a team that is very compact, very individually gifted, good individual players that can make a difference within a second.
"Collectively, they're doing really well. Beating Costa Rica shows you that. They deserve a lot of respect, and we give them that respect."
Honduras beat Costa Rica 1-0 in the quarterfinal.
Klinsmann later took time to praise Honduras' tactical discipline and resilience. The Central American side has kept clean sheets in three of its four games in the tournament, conceding two goals to Trinidad & Tobago after it had already sewn up top spot in Group B.
"Honduras is a very, very tough team because of the way they compete, the way they're compact on the field both ways, they're moving forward in a 4-3-3 and defensively they switch over in a 4-5-1, and they do that really well.
"They don't let you any space open, especially around the box. They make it very tight, I think you saw that in the last 15 minutes with Costa Rica, literally all of them were in the box. And they defended it well, they got their result, they ground it out. It has a lot to do with commitment, with discipline, and that shows the handwriting of Luis Suarez."
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