“I see these boys bringing the good energy…and getting out of the band!” Clint Dempsey backs USMNT to reach World Cup Round of 16 – as he backs ‘FEARLESS’ youngsters to shine ahead of opener against Wales
USMNT legend Clint Dempsey backed his compatriots to get through a formidable Group B and qualify for the Round of 16 at the World Cup in Qatar.
Gregg Berhalter’s side are ranked above Wales and Iran in the FIFA rankings, but will need to be in top form to qualify for the knockout stages of their first World Cup in eight years .
Dempsey, however, has no doubt they will get there – and believes the talented young generation of USMNT squad players, many of whom plied their trades in the Premier League, will see them through.
Clint Dempsey thinks the USMNT will have what it takes to get out of Group B at the World Cup
The likes of Christian Pulisic (right) and Gio Reyna (left) lead a ‘fearless’ young team in Qatar
“When Gregg Berhalter chose this line-up, he relied on players who have experience in English, whether they play in the Premier League or in the league,” he told FOX Sports.
‘That’s why in the game [against Wales]Sargeant is going to get the nod there, if you look at what he’s done with Norwich this season, scoring nine goals.
“At the back, I think Tim Ream gets that shoutout for having that England experience.
“Looking back, when I was 23 for my first World Cup, a lot of those guys are 23, 24, 25. I think sometimes it helps you. You go into the game with no fear, there’s no nothing to lose because you don’t know what it’s like to play a World Cup. I see those boys going out there, putting on a strong performance, bringing the right energy and coming out of that group.
Eni Aluko, Dempsey and Alexi Lalas (left-right) previewed the USMNT opener against Wales
Weston McKennie practiced Sunday night wearing his new patriotic red, white and blue haircut
Gregg Berhalter has a lot of tough decisions to make when it comes to his starting XI
The United States face Wales in their opening Group B game today, before a huge game against England on Friday. After that, a potentially decisive clash with Iran is scheduled for Tuesday, when Berhalter’s men will find out whether they return home or advance to the knockout stages.
“There is talent and depth in this team,” added Alexi Lalas, as he looked ahead to Tuesday’s opener. “We are currently facing a good situation where there is a lot of debate about who this 11 will be.
“We have the possibility that Brenden Aaronson, who plays in the EPL for Leeds, may not start. The possibility that Gio Reyna, who plays in the Bundesliga for Dortmund, does not start exists.
“There are a lot of choices that Gregg Berhalter has to make.”
The team had its final training session on Sunday, a late-night practice at 10 p.m. to acclimate the team to the unusual kick-off time in Qatar.