By Oliver Trust
BERLIN, Nov. 12 (Xinhua) — Argentina and Brazil will handle the uncertainties coming along with the 2022 FIFA World Cup better than others, former German and US national coach Jurgen Klinsmann is convinced.
“Brazil has played a very successful qualification campaign and, like Argentina, has the feeling of having to prove they can do better than in the previous World Cups,” the 58-year-old told Xinhua in an interview.
Regarding Argentina, Klinsmann is expecting superstar Lionel Messi to develop high ambitions as the 35-year-old is most likely attending the last major of his career.
Participating teams will have to face unpredictable challenges at the Qatar tournament. “We can’t evaluate at present and I am, for some reason, sure Brazil and Argentina will get along best.”
The Qatar tournament is demanding so far unknown surprises for the teams as it is the first played out under these circumstances amid a running season and in winter, the 1990 world champion added.
Both South American nations are in top shape, the 1996 European champion stated. “They are my favorites to win the title.”
From the former Bayern coach’s perspective, if Cristiano Ronaldo can forget about this season’s difficulties with his side Manchester United, 2016 European champion Portugal might slip into the role of the tournament’s surprise.
“If there is a surprise, I guess it might be Portugal,” he said.
Brazil and Argentina are eager to break the series of European victories when it comes to the previous four tournaments, the former Tottenham and Inter striker commented.
The key to success in Qatar is the team’s opening group games. “A win at the start can take you to something and ease the pressure on your shoulders.”
Regarding the German team, Klinsmann is predicting a close race to get the team’s newly formed defense as only a short period of one week is available to get in shape.
The poor performance at the 2018 World Cup in Russia has vanished the reputation of always being good when a major tournament is on.
Germany’s curtain raiser against Japan might deliver the first answers, Klinsmann said.
The 2022 tournament is the chance to launch a re-start for Germany as the team seemed to struggle since taking the trophy in 2014.
Due to Japan’s improvements over the past years, the game is far from a piece of cake for the team of national coach Hansi Flick.
The outcome will depend on the ability of the German team to deal with a very short preparation phase of only a week. “Other teams have the same problem, but Germany always used the weeks in advance to develop a special team spirit giving them an advantage.”