Jürgen Klinsmann wasn't brought in for Brazil. Fans, U.S. Soccer, and Klinsmann himself know he's here for the long run, being given time to build his own team and trot it out in Russia in 2018. And he's already set a goal.
Klinsmann spoke to NBC Sports ahead of yesterday's 1-0 friendly win over the Czech Republic, and in case you were wondering, he does consider the team's performance in Brazil a success. But he says it hurt to go out that way, in extra time against Belgium. So he's aiming bigger for the next time around:
"This is our goal going towards Russia, not to stop at the Round of 16, maybe not to stop at the quarterfinal. To say clearly, listen, we have four years to prepare this cycle. Our goal is going into a semifinal in a World Cup."
Klinsmann knows exactly what he's doing. After the outcry over his observation that the U.S. had no chance of winning this last World Cup, he's learned how seriously this country takes its declarations and guarantees. He knows the internet's going to run with his quote and slap headlines like "Jürgen Klinsmann's Goal Is A Semifinal At The 2018 World Cup" on it. And he's OK with that. Which might say more about his confidence, and how he plans to inspire it in his players, than did his words in the first place.