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Belgium vs USA preview - Klinsmann questions referee choice

Tuesday, July 01, 2014 by PA

Jurgen Klinsmann admits FIFA's decision to appoint an Algerian referee for the United States' second round match against Belgium is far from ideal.

Djamel Haimoudi, 44, will take charge of the USA's clash against Belgium in Salvador on Tuesday.

Although Klinsmann respects the decision to appoint Haimoudi, the USA coach admits the Belgians will have a better way of communicating with the referee as they, like the official, speak French.

Klinsmann also pointed out that the US knocked out Haimoudi's country of birth in the 2010 World Cup.

"We hope it's not a concern," Klinsmann told a press conference.

"We know that already he did two games very well so we hope he continues that tomorrow.

"Is it a good theory? No. He is able to speak French with their players on the field and not with us.

"And it's a country that we beat in the last second in the last World Cup.

"I understand it's difficult for FIFA to choose the right referees for the right games and it has always been tricky for FIFA, but it is what it is.

"We give it the benefit of the doubt, we respect the decision and hope that everything goes well."

FIFA has been contacted about Klinsmann's concerns, but is yet to respond.

Klinsmann received a boost on the eve of the match when Belgium defender Thomas Vermaelen was ruled out of the game with a hamstring injury.

Belgium remain hopeful that fellow centre-back Vincent Kompany will be able to play despite missing last week's game against South Korea with a groin problem.

"We'll take a decision on Kompany on Tuesday," Belgium coach Marc Wilmots said.

"He'll train on Monday and we'll see how he reacts."

Klinsmann's main injury concern, meanwhile, is to Jozy Altidore.

The striker has sat out the last two games after suffering a hamstring injury in the Americans' opener against Ghana on June 16.

The Sunderland forward will make Klinsmann's match day squad, but he may not start.

"We don't know how many minutes he will play, but he's available," Klinsmann said.

"We worked day and night on him but it's difficult to say how long he can play for."

The US scraped through a tough group containing Germany, Portugal and Ghana to make it through to the last 16.

Some expected the Americans to finish bottom of their group, but Klinsmann is not content with just making it through to the last 16.

"We came out of a very difficult group. But now we want more," the former Tottenham striker said.

"We are very hungry and focused. We have a lot of respect for Belgium, but we have no fear at all. We want to go far.

"We have a great spirit in our group. It feels like we are just getting started. It's not like we have been here for six weeks.

"We are positive. There is a good team spirit. We are hungry for more and we want to prove that tomorrow night.

"I am confident that if every player plays to his limits we will have a positive outcome."

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