Jozy Altidore suffered a grade two hamstring tear against Ghana, and the striker wouldn't have played again in the World Cup unless the US advanced even deeper into the tournament, he told ESPN on Thursday.
US manager Jurgen Klinsmann had said that Altidore would be available for his side against Belgium, but it appears that he was just bluffing.
Klinsmann admits he knew Jozy Altidore (hamstring), labeled available beforehand, wouldn't play against Belgium. #usmnt— Doug McIntyre (@DougMacESPN) July 2, 2014
“The timetable to come back was realistically very late in the tournament,” Altidore said. “I honestly thought I was going to be able to help the team sooner rather than later but it just wasn't to be.”
Altidore strained his left hamstring around the 20th minute of the US's opening match against Ghana as he was lunging for a pass from Michael Bradley. He immediately pulled up and was eventually carried off the field.
“It was a terrible moment for me because I've done it before in my other leg in 2011. That was a really bad one and left me out a month. I knew with this one it was similar, and I was going to be out a while in terms of the tournament.”
The US, of course, had to alter its formations for the remainder of the tournament, isolating playmaker Clint Dempsey and bumping Michael Bradley higher up on the field. Altidore may have changed the complexion of the Belgium game as the US was sorely lacking composure in the final third.
Also of note: Altidore indicated that he and his teammates weren't satisfied simply by getting out of the Group of Death, only to be beaten by Belgium.
“If you go around and ask some of the guys, we definitely felt like we could've went a little further,” he said. The US had three quality chances to tie the game in the second half of extra time but neither Clint Dempsey, Chris Wondolowski nor Jermaine Jones could finish. No one knows what would've happened had Altidore been on the receiving end of one of those chances.