United States coach Jurgen Klinsmann promised his team would go “eye to eye” with Argentina on Tuesday when the two teams meet for a place in the final of the Copa America Centenario.
Argentina will start as heavy favorites for the semifinal showdown at Houston’s NRG Stadium, with an array of attacking led by Lionel Messi.
Yet Klinsmann insisted the US would stick with an aggressive pressing game, which has helped the team make the final four with wins over Paraguay and Ecuador.
“Let’s go at them, let’s go forward and play our game. We don’t want to just play with 10 guys in the box,” Klinsmann told a press conference on Monday.
“That’s not our game. If you want to get in the final, you have to score sooner or later. We’re not playing for a penalty shootout.”
Although the tactical approach could be risky against an Argentina side that has scored 14 goals in four games on its way to the semi-final, Klinsmann was adamant that the US team is ready for the challenge.
“We want to take the game to them as well, We want to keep a high line. We want to go eye to eye,” he said.
“We’ve done that tremendously well through the tournament so far and we don’t want to change that.”
Klinsmann also pointed to Argentina’s lackluster start to 2018 World Cup qualifiers, which has included two draws and a defeat in six games, as a cause for optimism.
“Anything is possible. If you look at the South American World Cup qualifying group — they are not winning every game,” Klinsmann said.
“They lose games as well, and when they lose games they make mistakes.”
Although Messi showed signs of clicking into gear in Saturday’s 4-1 quarterfinal win over Venezuela, scoring one goal and creating two others, Klinsmann said his team would not fear the Barcelona superstar.
“There are ways of playing against wonderful players,” Klinsmann said, citing his own experiences of playing against Diego Maradona in his prime.
“At the end of the day, it’s two teams who are playing each other.”