Klinsmann senses Copa opportunity


United States coach Jurgen Klinsmann challenged his team to step up after being handed a tough Copa America Centenario draw.

The tournament host was drawn to face Colombia, Costa Rica and Paraguay in a tricky Group A at the event, which will be played in June.

Only Paraguay is ranked below USA in the world rankings, giving Klinsmann – who has been under pressure at the helm – plenty to think about.

But the German prefers to see the draw as an opportunity for his players to prove themselves.

"When you have an opportunity like playing one of the top teams in South America, you want to take it all in," Klinsmann said. "You obviously want to do well and you want to measure yourself.

"For our players now, this is a huge opportunity, go into that game and showcase yourself and show them that you'll compete with them, eye to eye.

"We don't see ourselves as outsiders or underdogs or whatever you want to call it, we see ourselves as eye to eye in this tournament and we want to go through the group and then take it one game at a time."

USA starts the tournament against one of the favourites – Colombia – on 3 June.

Acknowledging the difficulty of the group, Klinsmann said there was nothing else he could have expected.

"If you look at all four groups, probably ours is maybe the toughest for the outside kind of perspective, but it is a Copa America, there is no easy group," he said. "For us, it's exciting and we can't wait to get started."