Idealism versus pragmatism. It's been the theme of Jurgen Klinsmann's two-and-a-half year reign as U.S. national team head coach, and it will now get the ultimate litmus test this summer in Brazil.
When Klinsmann was hired back in 2011, he spouted off about changing the American soccer culture from the ground up, including an overhaul of the team's style of play. Whereas his predecessor Bob Bradley achieved his greatest results in wars of attrition, Jurgen's boys would Blitzkrieg right through their opponents.
Though there has been evidence of the Yanks changing to a more proactive style of play, like Bradley, Klinsmann has at least partially parked the bus to achieve some unexpected results as U.S. manager (Italy 0-1 USA and Mexico 0-0 USA come to mind).
Klinsmann can be wild-eyed at times, but he hasn't let his idealism blind him.
“He likes the physical game and also he likes attractive football if he can play it, but also he knows his players 100 percent,” former Germany captain and current ESPN analyst Michael Ballack told Goal about his former coach. “He knows what he has to do against bigger teams, stronger teams, and sometimes it doesn't look that good but it may be successful.”