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Football | World Cup 2014

Klinsmann tells US to pick up gear

US coach Jurgen Klinsmann says his team must improve for Tuesday's World Cup 2014 qualifying match at Guatemala despite a triumphant start to their quest for a trip to Brazil in two years.

The Americans opened with a 3-1 home triumph over Antigua and Barbuda last Friday in a Group A match in the semifinal round of North American World Cup qualifying. Six nations will advance to next year's final qualifying stage.

"Three points is the starting point we wanted to have," Klinsmann said. "We know we have to step it up a lot going into Guatemala, which we will do. We have got to give Guatemala a real fight."

The former German coach and superstar player knows what he wants to see.

"We just have to circle the ball around faster. We have to find midfielders playing in more forward positions and not having midfielders coming back and picking up behind," he said.

"There needs to be a lot more movement off the ball, which is easier when you have space."

Jamaica, which opened with a 2-1 Group A home triumph over Guatemala, will visit Antigua and Barbuda on Tuesday.

Other CONCACAF regional matches on Tuesday find Mexico at El Salvador and Costa Rica at Guyana in Group B with Cuba at Panama and Honduras at Canada in Group C. Qualifying will not resume after that until September.

Canada will entertain Panama at Toronto in a match between group co-leaders. Olivier Occean's goal gave Canada a 1-0 victory at Cuba last Friday while Panama edged Honduras 2-0 on two goals by Blas Perez for the Catrachos.

"We're going into Honduras on a high," Occean said.

The Canadians are trying to advance to the final round of CONCACAF qualifying for the first time since the run-up to the 1998 World Cup. Canada last reached the World Cup in 1986 at Mexico.

The Mexicans, who opened with a 3-1 home victory over Guyana, can stretch their lead atop Group B with a triumph after Costa Rica and El Salvador opened with a 2-2 draw.

US midfielder Jose Torres suffered a bone bruise but will be with the team for the trip to Central America after thumping their Caribbean foes in the opener.

"We were OK. We can improve," US forward Landon Donovan said. "The important thing is to win and get qualifying started the right way."

Fulham striker Clint Dempsey said his confidence was boosted by scoring against Antigua and Barbuda and he knows Guatemala will be a tougher rival, especially on their home soil.

"They are going to be playing with that confidence that they have got the whole stadium behind them," Dempsey said. "We have still got to move the ball quickly and take our chances when they come.

"We are still a work in progress. We are still trying to figure out what our best 11 is, what our best formation is. We have got to win away from home if we want to qualify for the World Cup and that starts with the next game."


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