Jurgen Klinsmann is 30-11-8 since taking over as U.S. coach in August, 2011. (Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
U.S. men's national team coach Jurgen Klinsmann is sending mixed signals.
On Wednesday, Klinsmann backed his comments to The New York Times that the U.S. winning the World Cup "is just not realistic."
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But on Sunday, one day before the Americans' World Cup opener against Ghana, the 49-year-old changed his tune.
"I booked my flight after the final," Klinsmann said at the United States' pre-match press conference, according to an ESPN report.
Whether Klinsmann is coaching the final or is simply a spectator remains to be seen, but the U.S. has never made a World Cup final. Its best finish was a semifinal appearance in 1930, followed by a quarterfinal showing in 2002. But Klinsmann has won a World Cup — as a striker on West Germany's 1990 title team. He also coached Germany to the 2006 semifinals.
With world powers Germany and Portugal in their Group G "group of death," not many expect the Americans to advance to the knockout stage.
"We come in with the same effort, the same drive, the same energy and ambition to do well. And we went to do really well," Klinsmann said. "That's why we worked more than four weeks on our preparation, we timed it the right way to give the players the confidence they need to beat Ghana tomorrow. This is step one, then comes Portugal and then comes Germany. And then we'll see ... expectations in the United States are very high."SI WIRE: FIFA investigating report of spy drone over French practice