By Toby Davis
RECIFE Brazil (Reuters) - No phone calls, no texts. For United States coach Juergen Klinsmann and his Germany counterpart Joachim Loew their friendship is on hold until after the World Cup.
With their two teams meeting in a decisive Group G clash in Recife on Thursday, there is no room for small talk between Klinsmann and his former apprentice.
Klinsmann was Germany's manager with Loew his assistant when they reached the World Cup semi-finals on home soil in 2006. Now the former Germany striker is trying to put a spanner in the works of their latest campaign and help his current United States squad into the knockout stages.
"We are very close friends," Klinsmann told a news conference on Wednesday. "We think alike and come from the same region and we have always been in contact. But coming into this World Cup everyone is doing the best he can do, so we leave the phone calls and text messages for a few days to get the job done.
"Hopefully when this World Cup is over we will get back on the phone and talk about it... It is more than a working relationship, it is a very close friendship, and I have a lot of admiration for what he has done."
Germany are top of the group with four points, ahead of the U.S. on goal difference.
Both teams only need a draw to reach the last 16, but are seeking a victory that would allow them to top the group and avoid a likely clash with dark horses Belgium.
"We are by no means the underdog here at this tournament but we know this is the biggest hurdle that we have to take and we are looking forward to it," said Klinsmann, who scored 47 goals in 108 internationals and played in three World Cups.
"If we give everything we have and go that extra mile with positive determination, we will get a result. We are very capable of beating Germany, and we know that, without being too over confident or positive.
"This World Cup is full of surprises and we want to be one of those surprises."
The U.S. are the tournament's furthest travelers having played their previous two group games in Natal and Manaus.
They also come into the match having had less rest than their opponents after Germany played Ghana 26 hours before the U.S. faced Portugal.
This is unlikely to be a factor, however, according to midfielder Kyle Beckerman.
"It is not really bothering us now," Beckerman said.
"This is the biggest game of our lives and any fatigue in our legs will be erased. We have done the proper stuff to recover the legs and don't see the short rest as being a problem at all."
(Reporting by Toby Davis; editing by Justin Palmer)
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- Juergen Klinsmann
- Joachim Loew