Berhalter reveals his plan for USMNT’s future

AP
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Gregg Berhalter was unveiled as the new head coach of the U.S men’s national team on Tuesday in New York City and his message was clear.

He wants his USMNT to attack, keep the ball and force the issue as they aim to get back on track.

Berhalter becomes the first USMNT head coach who played for the program at a World Cup (2002, as well as being a part of the squad for 2006), and there’s no doubt his main ambition is to make the U.S. a team which is entertaining for their fans to watch.

“The idea is that we are an attacking-based team that wants to create goalscoring opportunities by disorganizing the opponent,” Berhalter said the former Columbus Crew manager. “In my time in Columbus we have done that through build-up, where we start the ball with the goalie in the back, as teams try to press us we play through them to create goalscoring opportunities. Another way is to use pressure, whether in a mid block or move into high pressure to force turnovers and win the ball to immediately create goalscoring opportunities. The idea is that it is a fluid style that has players intent on breaking lines, playing through opponents and creating goalscoring opportunities. We want to see ball circulation, breaking lines and goalscoring opportunities. That should be the DNA of this team.”

In the understated manner which has dominated his time rebuilding the Columbus Crew over the past five years, Berhatler’s first public appearance in NYC was hardly box office.

But right now the U.S. men’s national team needs a man with a long-term plan and Berhalter seems in sync with the other top officials in charge of U.S. Soccer.

Berhalter will bring structure and calmness to the USMNT.

Not qualities that many will scream from the rooftops, but those traits are much-needed after the nightmare past year the program has endured.

After the USMNT’s failure to qualify for the 2018 World Cup, a total restructure of the program took place and the past 12 months were spent mainly stuck in neutral, led by interim head coach Dave Sarachan who gave dozens of youngsters a chance to shine but was never in a position to be the new head coach moving forward.

USMNT’s General Manager Earnie Stewart, hired to start on Aug. 1, sat alongside Berhalter and was asked what the main goal for this team is with the 2022 World Cup in mind.

“One: making sure that the way we play is identified through our fans and something they want to watch. Two, is really simple: qualify for 2022. And three: doing well in 2022. Those are the goals we have,” Stewart said.

Asked if there was a timeframe for when we would be able to see a team which was truly his, Berhalter said he expects this current USMNT squad to kick on in the coming months after a year of experimentation.

“As with any team building it is a process. I don’t want to use it as an excuse and say in eight years we will have a good team. The process has to accelerate,” Berhalter said. “When you have quality players, you can accelerate that process a little bit. We want to see progress. Each and every camp you should expect to see development among the team.”

When it comes to the makeup of his squad, the former USMNT center back revealed they would be thinking about reintroducing more experienced U.S. players as well as selecting many of the youngsters who have worked under Sarachan since last November.

That will be music to the ears of the likes of Michael Bradley, Jozy Altidore and Fabian Johnson, who are just a few of the star names who were cut adrift from the program after the failure to qualify for the 2018 World Cup was confirmed last October.

Alongside Berhalter and Stewart sat Carlos Cordeiro — the president of the U.S. Soccer Federation (USSF) since February — who confirmed that Gregg’s brother, Jay, had a hand in hiring Stewart as the new USMNT GM but had nothing to do with his brother, Gregg, getting the head coaching job.

Cordeiro also took exception to reports that USSF didn’t interview enough candidates during the process.

“I think the process and selection of the coach was very thorough and Jay had nothing to do with that,” Cordeiro said. “He was involved in selecting Earnie as general manager, which Carlos Bocanegra was responsible for. The search for the coach was managed and run exclusively by Earnie. Jay had nothing to do with that, to be clear. We think the process has been very honest and fair.”

As for Berhalter the next steps for him are clear.

With the January camp coming up for him to work with U.S. players based in Major League Soccer, he wants to meet as many players as possible in the next few weeks and also make sure those who won’t be in camp next month can keep up with the direction he is steering the program.

His plan to do that is by sending out videos, notes and online webinars to get everyone on the same page as soon as possible and throughout his reign.

“My first priority is reaching out to players and getting to know them. I will reach out to domestic players and head to MLS Cup, then I’ll be heading to Europe to meet players face-to-face,” Berhalter said. “We know there’s not much time in camp but when you have quality players who are in environments where they are learning all the time, they should pick up what we need pretty quickly.”

Cordeiro revealed that over the past 12 months the USSF took their time to hire the right main for the position, and that amid a successful bid to host the 2026 World Cup their hunt for a new USMNT head coach was put on the back-burner a little.

“The past 10 months at U.S. Soccer have been a time of real change. In respect of the men’s team, the pieces are now falling into place. We are now focused on the future,” Cordeiro said. “We have no regrets at all. We got our best guy. We couldn’t have moved any faster. The reality is, it has been a busy year. In a matter of between February and July we were consumed by the successful World Cup bid. We haven’t sacrificed any candidates because of a deadline. We never had a deadline.”

Stewart added that since he was hired as GM his main focus has been on hiring a coach who fits the style of play he wants to see and who will get the best out of the young U.S. players who have emerged.

He and his team ranked the candidates and whittled the list down to three key men, but Stewart admitted that “one of the candidates was no longer available,” which many believed was outgoing Atlanta United head coach Gerard ‘Tata’ Martino who is expected to take charge of Mexico when the 2018 MLS season is over.

Many believe the past 12 months has been lost for the USMNT but with high-profile friendlies against France, Brazil, Colombia, England and Italy in recent months, Berhalter believes that experience will be invaluable in selecting the players he wants moving forward.

“The last six games were instrumental for this group,” Berhalter said. “It gave them a taste. It is now about moving forward and thinking about where we will be in 2022. What is the right mix of players? Who do we bring back in who hasn’t been included?”

As there has been ever since they failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup last October, there are still so many questions hanging over the USMNT.

At least they now have a head coach who can start to put the building blocks in place for future success.

Lionel Messi goal, assist leads Argentina awakening vs Mexico

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Lionel Messi’s second-half goal gave Argentina’s World Cup hopes a massive lift as the Albiceleste broke through against stubborn Mexico to win 2-0 in Lusail on Saturday.

Enzo Fernandez, 21, also scored for Argentina in the win, which comes after a 2-1 loss to Saudi Arabia in the opener.

STREAM LIVE ARGENTINA vs MEXICO

Mexico’s brave performance was broken by Messi’s splendid finish and now Mexico (1 point) needs to beat Saudi Arabia (3 points) and get help from Argentina (3 points) vs Poland (4 points) to make the Round of 16.

[ LIVE: World Cup 2022 schedule, how to watch, scores, hub ]


Lionel Messi: Of course he did.

The world’s — maybe history’s — greatest ever player had a frustrating day and spent 65 minutes thinking this could’ve been his last World Cup match.

Twenty-five minutes later, he had a goal and an assist and Argentina was heading to Poland likely a draw or better away from going to the knockout rounds.

C’est la Messi.

Mexico executed Tata Martino’s masterful plan for over an hour and looked set to walk away with a point. Messi wasn’t getting the ball in dangerous spaces and Lautaro Martinez was so ineffective that he was taken off the pitch.

Then: One hesitation when Angel Di Maria spotted Messi. Two touches for the Atomic Ant. 1-0.

Messi would later assist young Enzo Fernandez’s goal to re-certify his status as one of the very best to do it in any team sport. Argentina only had 0.28 expected goals on the day but when you have two magic shots, it’ll get the job done.


Stars of the show

Lionel Messi

Nicolas Otamendi

Hector Moreno

Argentina vs Mexico
fotmob.com

Lionel Messi goal video: GOAT things

Enzo Fernandez goal video: Pearler of a finish delivers Messi assist


How to watch Argentina vs Mexico live, stream link and start time

Kick off: 2pm ET, Saturday Nov. 26
Stadium: Lusail Iconic Stadium, Lusail
TV channels en Español: Telemundo
Streaming en Español: Peacock (all 64 matches)


Key storylines, players to watch closely

It’s Messi, of course, who says he’s playing in his final World Cup, but it’s also about who’s going to step up as a difference maker for Argentina. Lautaro Martinez had a goal taken off the board for a razor-thin offside versus Saudi Arabia, while Julian Alvarez had a shot saved in his sub’s role and both Paulo Dybala and Angel Correa were unused subs in the opener.

Mexico’s midfield was excellent to start the tournament. Will Hector Herrera again join Edson Alvarez and Luis Chavez is setting the tone for Tata Martino’s team? And can El Tri find a finisher after Henry Martin and Co. failed to find the back of the goal versus Poland.


Argentina quick facts

Current FIFA world ranking: 3
World Cup titles: 2 (1978, 1986)
World Cup appearances: 17
How they qualified: Qualified automatically from CONMEBOL (2nd place)
Coach: Lionel Scaloni
Key players: Lionel Messi, Angel de Maria, Lautaro Martinez

Mexico quick facts

Current FIFA world ranking: 13
World Cup titles: 0
World Cup appearances: 16
How they qualified: Qualified automatically from CONCACAF (2nd place)
Coach: Gerardo ‘Tata’ Martino
Key players: Guillermo Ochoa, Hector Herrera, Raul Jimenez

Belgium vs Morocco: How to watch live, stream link, team news

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Belgium will look to get back to their best and make it two wins from two in the group stage but Morocco will make it extremely tough for Kevin de Bruyne and Co.

STREAM LIVE BELGIUM v MOROCCO

Roberto Martinez saw his side totally dominated by Canada in their Group F opener but they took their one big chance and won the game, largely thanks to poor finishing from Canada and Thibaut Courtois saving a penalty kick. The No. 2 ranked team in the world has to improve. Fast.

Morocco caused Croatia plenty of problems in their opening game and a draw was a fair result as their high-pressing caused Croatia a lot of problems. They will look to do exactly the same against Belgium and could have plenty of joy if Hakim Ziyech is found in dangerous areas in the final third.

[ LIVE: World Cup 2022 schedule, how to watch, scores, hub

Here is everything you need for Belgium vs Morocco. 


How to watch Belgium vs Morocco live, stream link and start time

Kick off: 8am ET – Sunday, November 27
Stadium: Al Thumama Stadium, Al Khor 
TV channels en Español: Telemundo
Streaming en Español: Peacock (all 64 matches)


Key storylines, players to watch closely

Kevin de Bruyne was almost apologetic after being named man of the match against Canada as he said he and his teammates really struggled in their World Cup opener. Belgium have to give their back three more protection as they are really susceptible to speedy wide players cutting in wide and teams playing direct and cutting out their midfield playmakers. Roberto Martinez will surely start the likes of Meunier and Onana in this game to try and give Belgium a little more control and solidity. Michy Batshuayi is expected to continue to fill in for the injured Romelu Lukaku once again.

Morocco will try and do exactly what Canada did to Belgium and they have the players to do it. Ziyech and Boufal will cause problems out wide and Morocco looked solid defensively against Croatia. There is a real whiff of an upset in the air around this one as Morocco will be roared on by their large group of supporters in Qatar.


Belgium quick facts

Current FIFA world ranking: 2
World Cup titles: 0
World Cup appearances: 14
How they qualified: Qualified automatically from UEFA (1st place)
Coach: Roberto Martinez
Key players: Kevin De Bruyne, Romelu Lukaku, Thibaut Courtois, Eden Hazard

Morocco Rica quick facts

Current FIFA world ranking: 22
World Cup titles: 0
World Cup appearances: 6
How they qualified: Qualified automatically from CAF
Coach: Vahid Halilhodzic
Key players: Achraf Hakimi, Yassine Bounou, Youssef En-Nesyri, Romain Saiss


World Cup 2022 Group E: Spain, Germany, Japan, Costa Rica schedule, fixtures, rankings

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Japan and Spain sent early messages in Group E with an upset of Germany and demolition of Costa Rica, respectively, to start the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

[ LIVE: Watch World Cup en Espanol en Peacock ]

Japan reached the Round of 16 at the last World Cup and gave Belgium everything it could handle before bowing out 3-2, while Costa Rica surprised everyone in 2014 when it emerged atop a Group D with England, Italy, and Uruguay, then beating Greece in the Round of 16.

Of course, Spanish boss Luis Enrique and Germany’s Hansi Flick will be fancying themselves the favorites to emerge from the group, but the latter now knows better than ever before that anything can happen in Qatar after a 2-1 loss to Japan. Spain hammered Costa Rica 7-0 in their opener and they look the real deal.

[ MORE: World Cup 2022 schedule, how to watch, scores, hub

Below is everything you need to know on World Cup 2022 Group E.


Group E schedule (all times ET)

Recap/highlights: Spain 7-0 Costa Rica – Al Thumama Stadium, Al Khor
Recap/highlights: Germany 1-2 Japan – Khalifa International Stadium, Al Rayyan
Sunday, November 27: Spain vs Germany – Al Bayt Stadium, Al Khor – 2pm
Sunday, November 27: Japan vs Costa Rica – Ahmed bin Ali Stadium, Al Rayyan – 5am
Thursday, December 1: Japan vs Spain – Khalifa International Stadium, Al Rayyan – 2pm
Thursday, December 1: Costa Rica vs Germany – Al Bayt Stadium, Al Khor – 2pm

How To Watch Group E matches live

  • When: November 23-December 1 2022
  • Group stage game kick-off times: 5am, 8am, 11am, 2pm (all ET)
  • Location: Qatar
  • TV channels en Español: Telemundo, Universo, Peacock
  • Streaming en Español: Peacock (all 64 matches)

Follow along with ProSoccerTalk for the latest news, scores, storylines, and updates surrounding the 2022 World Cup, and be sure to subscribe to NBC Sports on YouTube!


Group E table

1. Spain — 3 points (+7 GD)
2. Japan — 3 points (+1)
3. Germany — 0 points (-1)
4. Costa Rica — 0 points (-7)


Spain

Current FIFA world ranking: 7
World Cup titles: 1 (2010)
World Cup appearances: 16
How they qualified: Qualified automatically from UEFA (1st place)
Coach: Luis Enrique
Key players: Rodri, Pedri, Pau Torres, Jordi Alba

Germany

Current FIFA world ranking: 11
World Cup titles: 4 (1954, 1974, 1990, 2014)
World Cup appearances: 20
How they qualified: Qualified automatically from UEFA (1st place)
Coach: Hansi Flick
Key players: Manuel Neuer, Antonio Rudiger, Joshua Kimmich, Leon Goretzka

Costa Rica

Current FIFA world ranking: 31
World Cup titles: 0
World Cup appearances: 5
How they qualified: Qualified from CONCACAF via interconfederation playoffs
Coach: Luis Fernando Suarez
Key players: Keylor Navas, Joel Campbell, Celso Borges, Bryan Ruiz

Japan

Current FIFA world ranking: 24
World Cup titles: 0
World Cup appearances: 7
How they qualified: Qualified automatically from AFC
Coach: Hajime Moriyasu
Key players: Maya Yoshida, Takehiro Tomiyasu, Takumi Minamino, Daichi Kamada

Croatia vs Canada: How to watch live, stream link, team news

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Newly famous international darlings Canada will try again for a number of firsts, when they face Croatia in their second game at the 2022 World Cup on Sunday.

STREAM CROATIA vs CANADA LIVE

Canada outshone many of the tournament’s heavyweights during the first round of group games, ultimately falling just short of their first World Cup point and, had things gone just a bit differently, their first win.

Group F is an intriguing one, with favorites Belgium struggling in their opener and Croatia and Morocco both failing to impress against one another. As things stand, it’s wide open for anyone (and everyone).

[ LIVE: World Cup 2022 schedule, how to watch, scores, hub ]

Here is everything you need for Croatia vs Canada. 


How to watch Croatia vs Canada live, stream link and start time

Kick off: 11am ET, Sunday (November 27)
Stadium: Khalifa International Stadium, Al Rayyan
TV channels en Español: Telemundo
Streaming en Español: Peacock (all 64 matches)


Key storylines, players to watch closely

On one hand, Canada were downright brilliant when they made their World Cup return, 36 years in the making on Wednesday. On the other hand, they lost 1-0 to Belgium and are the only team in Group F without a point thus far. The Canucks won plaudits (and new fans) as they showed no fear whatsoever playing against the no. 2 team in the world and were comfortably the better side on the day, so said Belgium boss Roberto Martinez after the game. Alphonso Davies was denied by Thibaut Courtois from the penalty spot, with the game still 0-0 and Canada seeking its first-ever World Cup goal (yeah, that too). Sunday, perhaps.

As for Croatia, their opening draw with Morocco raised a few red flags for a nation that went all the way to the World Cup final just four (and a half) years ago. With five of 11 starters age 30 or older, Croatia have very little range and mobility, and no explosiveness anywhere in the side. Despite holding nearly 65 percent of possession in the game against Morocco, Croatia managed just five shots in 90 minutes (two on target) and a paltry 0.52 xG. If things don’t turn around on Sunday, it’ll be the end of an iconic era that, unfortunately, lasted one cycle too long.


Croatia quick facts

Current FIFA world ranking: 12
World Cup titles: 0
World Cup appearances: 6
How they qualified: Qualified automatically from UEFA (1st place)
Coach: Zlatko Dalic
Key players: Luka Modric, Andrej Kramaric, Mateo Kovacic

Canada quick facts

Current FIFA world ranking: 41
World Cup titles: 0
World Cup appearances: 2
How they qualified: Qualified from CONCACAF (1st place)
Coach: John Herdman
Key players: Alphonso Davies, Jonathan David, Milan Borjan, Jonathan Osorio

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