Klinsmann’s message to U.S.: “Dream big”

Jurgen Klinsmann (pictured) has guided the USA to the Copa America Centenario semifinals. (Photo: Mexsport) 

HOUSTON -- Not only is United States head coach Jurgen Klinsmann confident his team can beat Argentina in Tuesday night's Copa America Centenario semifinals, he feels the Americans can win the tournament.

That's right, as in taking a victory lap around MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey, on June 26.

"There's no reason at all why we can't win Copa America," said Klinsmann.

Before that, the U.S. must find a way to get past the No 1 team in the world, according to the FIFA Rakings, at NRG Stadium.

Klinsmann's belief has been bolstered because the USA has defeated several prominent sides in friendlies in recent years, including those against Germany, the Netherlands and Mexico.

"They deserve to be in the semifinal," he commented about his players. "Anything is possible in a knockout game. You have 50-50 on whoever you play against. Dream big. Why not? If the fans keep supporting us as they did in the last couple of games, then anything's possible."

Argentina, the only team with a perfect 4-0-0 Copa record, is a formidable foe, boasting superstar forwards Lionel Messi and Gonzalo Higuain. La Albiceleste and Chile lead the tournament with 14 goals apiece.

"It's a huge motivation for us to take on Argentina...to give them a real game and a real fight," remarked Klinsmann. "We are not scared of them at all."

The teams have met 10 times since 1928, with the Americans at a 2W-2D-6L disadvantage. Their wins were a 3-0 upset at Copa America in 1995 and a 1-0 friendly result in Washington, D.C., four years later.

In 12 games against No. 1 FIFA teams, the USA has won three times -- the 1998 CONCACAF Gold Cup semifinals against Brazil in Los Angeles, California; the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup vs. Spain in South Africa; and a 2015 friendly against host Germany.

"We don't want to make this out to be mission impossible," U.S. captain Michael Bradley concluded. "It's a semifinal. It's a chance to get into a final.

“Whoever is sharper and has more guys play well, compete at a high level and understand the moment. That's typically what team is going to have a better chance to win."