John Brooks's dramatic late winner for the United States over Ghana on Monday had his fellow German-born coach Jurgen Klinsmann jumping up and down with joy not only at the victory but also for putting one over his critics.
The 49-year-old German, who won the 1990 FIFA World Cup™ as a player and then as coach guided the Germans to third place in the 2006 finals on home soil, had been criticised for picking Brooks and two other inexperienced Germany-based players instead of three battle-hardened campaigners, including American icon Landon Donovan.
However, 21-year-old Brooks's decisive contribution shortly after the Ghanaians, who had beaten the Americans in the two previous FIFA World Cup finals, had equalised will have laid some of the disquiet to rest.
Brooks, born in Berlin the son of a US serviceman and brought up in Germany, claimed he had had a premonition he would score - though he was slightly out on the timing. "I thanked God for the great moment. I dreamed that I scored in the 80th minute (his goal came in the 86th minute) and we won the game. It's unbelievable," said Brooks, who became the first substitute in the United States World Cup history to score a goal.
It's a special moment for the boy, he did well.
Klinsmann, who has been in his present role since 2011, was understandably delighted for Brooks, who revealed that he had opted for the United States after a long discussion with his family. "It's a big moment for Brooks coming into this game at half-time. It's a special moment for the boy, he did well," said Klinsmann.
"At half-time with the soreness (being felt) by Matt (Besler) we decided to take him out. John came in for his first World Cup game and scored in it. So it's quite a special day for him." Klinsmann said Brooks, who plays his club football for Bundesliga side Hertha Berlin, is an emerging talent that could play a significant role in the future.
"We could see in every training session, and in his club as well, that he was a very good talent coming through the ranks," said Klinsmann. "I think John showed his talent. He still has a lot to learn and to grow. It's just normal. But what better stage to do that on than (playing) first time at a World Cup?"
Brooks is not the only player from Klinsmann's homeland to have decided to opt to play under the star-spangled banner rather than dream about a call-up to the Germany squad. Klinsmann also placed his faith in Frankfurt-born defender Timothy Chandler, 24, and 19-year-old Bayern Munich forward Julian Green, born in the United States to an American father and German mother but who moved to Germany at the age of two.
Having talked to coaches at Hertha Berlin, as well as Bayern Munich coach Pep Guardiola, Klinsmann was quick to justify his selection decisions. "I'm very strongly convinced this is the right way to go, the right decision we made, and I believe in that," Klinsmann said at the end of May.
The German insisted he did not bring Brooks or any other player along, American or German-born, to make up the numbers. "It's normal that when young players come through, everybody is curious," added Klinsmann. "We need the entire bench. And the players know that. They need to be ready to come on after five or 45 minutes if someone gets injured. They know exactly what to do, they know their roles. and it will happen in this World Cup."