So Far So Good as Juergen Klinsmann Learns on the Job as Germany's Head Coach
HERZOGENAURACH Germany (AP) - For a rookie coach Juergen Klinsmann is doing well.
Klinsmann has lost only once and drawn four times during 14 games in charge and has led Germany to the semifinals of the Confederations Cup in his first major event as coach.
"The team is growing together it is full of passion it's trying hard and we are making great progress Klinsmann said Wednesday at the team's base outside Nuremberg.
"We are proud to be first in the group that included the champions of South America Oceania and Africa Klinsmann said.
After beating Australia 4-3 and Tunisia 3-0 in earlier games Germany won Group A on goal difference by drawing 2-2 with Argentina on Tuesday.
In Saturday's first semifinal in Nuremberg Germany will face either Brazil Mexico or Japan.
Klinsmann had never held a coaching job until he took over 11 months ago following Germany's dismal run at Euro 2004. He did have an impressive playing record - scoring 47 goals in 108 games for his country before ending an 11-year international career after the 1998 World Cup.
He wasn't first choice as coach and some of his steps were questioned such as keeping his home in California rotating his goalkeepers and often reshuffling the lineup.
Klinsmann quickly revamped the team and the staff bringing in a trusted team of assistants including American fitness trainers.
He rejuvenated the squad introducing young inexperienced players into important roles. His two central defenders are both 20 years old.
"I am in a learning phase and I have to do it quickly Klinsmann said with an eye on next year's World Cup in Germany. "With every game I learn something new."
While Germany hasn't beaten any of 'the top nations it hasn't lost to them either under Klinsmann. Two games against Argentina and one against Brazil all on German soil were draws.
The only loss came to South Korea on a tour of Asia in December with climate change and jet lag playing a role.
Klinsmann is installing an offensive high-paced style and telling players to take risks without fear of making mistakes. The team is playing entertaining soccer.
Television ratings are soaring and fans are happy. When defender Robert Huth took a media beating after a couple of error-filled performances the fans responded by chanting his name "Huuuuth" every time he touches the ball.
"The team wants to give its best every time and the fans are noticing Klinsmann said. "We want to create our identity as a team we want to go forward at a fast pace and we've been able to overcome little setbacks."
"The players were willing to learn they want to improve. We are becoming more confident about our own qualities. We'll never be Brazil but we are developing.
"This tournament has been great for our experience the team's development is more important than the result he said.
Klinsmann did not field captain Michael Ballack against Argentina. As well as resting its star player Klinsmann had another reason.
"We wanted the team to show that they can play at their best even without their leader. And they did it.