USA coach Jurgen Klinsmann today urged his players to believe they could win the FIFA World Cup™ and told his squad to book flights home for the day after the 13 July Final.
After battling through Group G ahead of Portugal and Ghana into the knockout rounds, the German FIFA World Cup winner is instilling a positive mindset.
The Stars and Stripes face Belgium in Salvador on Tuesday, when the prize will be a place in the quarter-finals. Klinsmann said his team plan on staying longer in Brazil.
"I think if everybody goes to his own personal limit in the context of the team, we're going to go further in this tournament," he told reporters.
I asked everybody, all the players, to make sure that all their flights are booked after 13 July. That's just how you have to approach a World Cup.
"But you've got to realise that moment. So I asked everybody, all the players, to make sure that all their flights are booked after 13 July.
"That's just how you have to approach a World Cup, no matter what happens now. You can always change your flights, so start with the end in mind. The end is 13 July.
"Every single day we're going to have on the knockout stage, can we do it? Yes we can. This is now one of the benchmarks. We want to be in the top ten, top 12 of the world one day. So if we want to be there, this is now the moment."
The German has instilled a fierce spirit which helped USA beat Ghana 2-1 and took them to within seconds of a victory over Portugal, before they conceded a late equaliser.
Klinsmann, a veteran of penalty shoot-outs, including semi-final wins over England at the 1990 FIFA World Cup and UEFA EURO 1996, said his team had already been practising spot-kicks for weeks.
"It's just part of normal preparation. You have to be prepared for things. You prepare set-pieces, you prepare penalties," he said.
"You tell the players how to approach a penalty. It's a mental moment. If you're not prepared for that mental moment, to walk from the halfway line in front of 60,000 to the penalty spot and get the job done, I think it's wrong.
"You just have to walk them through that process and now in every training we will practise penalties. Hopefully they're ready and they're calm enough to put it in their favourite corner."