USA take on Germany in Recife on Thursday in their final Group G game and there is a well-documented, vastly intertwined relationship between the two competing countries. Fabian Johnson, who has been one of coach Jurgen Klinsmann’s greatest revelations of the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™ so far, is a prime example of the deep connection between these two countries, having been born to a German mother and an American father.
The USA No23 has several years of experience in the German Bundesliga with Hoffenheim and after representing Germany at the youth level, he opted instead to pledge his senior international career to USA. FIFA caught up with the usual midfielder, who has largely played as a right-back at Brazil 2014, who told us he is treating USA’s match against Germany just like he would any other, despite the undeniably added emotion that comes in big games such as this.
“It's not strange, I just feel excited,” Johnson explained when asked if he had any unusual feelings playing against Germany. “I want those matches. I think they have a great team. I played against them in the Bundesliga, so it's not strange at all.
“I think we're just all excited to have this chance to play against Germany. I know a few players, I've played with them.”
We have a great team spirit. Everybody's winning for each other, just sacrificing themselves
Johnson’s confidence is clearly high heading into USA’s Group G finale, which echoes the statements of his team-mates and coach. “Everybody could see that we won against Ghana,” Johnson said. “Germany just got a draw.
“We caught up on Portugal, which nobody was expecting after the first goal. I think you all can see we have grown together as a good group, good team. We have a great team spirit. Everybody's winning for each other, just sacrificing themselves.”
However, the 26-year-old, who is set to make a move to Borussia Monchengladbach at the beginning of the 2014/15 Bundesliga campaign, is well aware of the quality present in Joachim Low’s Germany side.
“I think everybody can see that Germany has a great team, great individual players,” said Johnson. “I think they're technically good, they try to play straight to the goal. We have to defend as a whole unit again, like we did against Portugal, and we're going to create our chances.”
And while Germany and USA would both advance to the Round of 16 if the two teams were to draw, that is not something Johnson – or anyone else in the USA squad – have considered. “It's not in our nature," Johnson boldly stated. "We want to win this game, like we did in the qualifying match against Panama so that Mexico could go through. It's just not in our nature to play for a draw.”