Brad Friedel says the USA have developed into respected opposition when they step on football’s biggest stage, at the World Cup. And the Tottenham Hotspur goalkeeper, our Sony expert following Jurgen Klinsmann’s national side in the World Cup this summer, believes the USA can move on to another level in Brazil.
“Does the world take the US more seriously? I think yes, definitely” says the former American international who reckons the basis of the Italia 90 squad made it difficult for the United States to gain respect.
“I think back in 1990, which was the first World Cup we qualified for in some time, I don’t think they took us seriously at all.
“Nor should they have really because I think most of the players were still in University. I think the others were semi-pro and there were probably only a handful of full-time professionals in that team.”
He added; “In 94, when Bora Milutinovic molded the team that got us into the second round and we lost to Brazil, I think that was probably the first time when the world started realizing the US a little bit.
“But then when us individual players came over to Europe and started carving out long-term careers in Europe, I think they started realizing that US players can play.
“We’re still years away from being a world power, don’t get me wrong – but we’re light years ahead of where we were when I first started.”