On the eve of the World Cup, United States Men's National Team manager Jurgen Klinsmann said that, for lack of a better term, the Americans are not in it to win it.
"You have to be realistic. Every year we are getting stronger," Klinsmann said at a press conference Wednesday. "We don't look at ourselves as underdogs. We are not. We are going to take the game to Ghana and they will take it to us and it will be an exciting game and then we go from there.
"For us now talking about winning a World Cup, it is just not realistic. If it is American or not, you can correct me."
Obviously this is going to rub people the wrong way, but this isn't really anything new from Klinsmann. Back in a December interview with New York Times Magazine he said, plainly, "we cannot win this World Cup, because we are not at that level yet."
If nothing else, the comments all but ensure that the omission of Landon Donovan from the U.S. roster was done by Klinsmann with an eye to the future.
On Wednesday, Klinsmann later qualified the comments somewhat, putting them more in terms of staying focused on more immediate goals.
"Every game is the next step to a bigger goal," he said. "We are not shying away from anybody, but first we've got to make it through the group. So let's stay with our feet on the ground and say 'Let's get that group first done.' Then the sky is the limit. But before...to say that we should win the World Cup, that's just not realistic."
What he's saying is true. It's just not something people pulling for the Americans want to keep hearing, especially a day before the World Cup begins.