BRAZIL BEAT: Jones won’t celebrate goal vs Germany

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United States’ head coach Juergen Klinsmann signs autographs at the Sao Paulo FC training center in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Wednesday, June 11, 2014. The U.S. will play in group G of the 2014 soccer World Cup. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

United States’ head coach Juergen Klinsmann signs autographs at the Sao Paulo FC training center in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Wednesday, June 11, 2014. The U.S. will play in group G of the 2014 soccer World Cup. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

Spectators on a building’s ledge, watch from a distance, Spain’s national soccer team training in the Atletico Paranaense training center in Curitiba, Brazil, Tuesday, June 10, 2014. Spain will play in group B of the Brazil 2014 World Cup. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)

United States’ head coach Juergen Klinsmann, center left, talks to Liliana Ayalde, the U.S. ambassador to Brazil, during a training session at the Sao Paulo FC training center in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Wednesday, June 11, 2014. The U.S. will play in group G of the 2014 soccer World Cup. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

United States’ Alejandro Bedoya, left, passes the ball in the direction of Brad Davis, center, and Clint Dempsey during a training session at the Sao Paulo FC training center in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Wednesday, June 11, 2014. The U.S. will play in group G of the 2014 soccer World Cup. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

A couple sell Brazilian flags in downtown Sao Paulo, Brazil, Tuesday, June 10, 2014. The 2014 World Cup is set to begin Thursday, with Brazil and Croatia competing in the opening match in Sao Paulo. (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd)

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SAO PAULO (AP) — American midfielder Jermaine Jones doesn’t have to worry about how he’d celebrate if he scores against Germany on June 26. He won’t.

The 32-year-old, who was born in Frankfurt, played three exhibitions for the Germans in 2008. But he was among the final cuts by coach Joachim Loew from the European Championship roster, and Jones switched allegiance to the United States, where his father was born.

Jones made his U.S. national team debut in October 2010 and has gone on to score twice in 42 appearances: against Jamaica in the 2011 CONCACAF Gold Cup and against Scotland in a 2012 exhibition.

“I think it’s in respect. I grew up in this country. They gave me a lot. I have my first cap for the national team in Germany. I’m happy, too, that Joachim Loew gave me this chance,” Jones said Wednesday. “So I will not celebrate if I score. But if somebody else scores, they can celebrate.”

Jones said he scored against a former team once in his professional career. Playing for Eintracht Frankfurt on Feb. 10, 2007, he had an own goal at Bayer Leverkusen that put the hosts ahead in the 39th minute of a 2-2 tie.

— By Ronald Blum — www.twitter.com/ronaldblum

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SUBDUED HOST CITY

CURITIBA, Brazil (AP) — Four years ago, the small South African town of Potchefstroom strung up welcome banners and draped the red and yellow Spanish flag from lampposts when the European champions came to train for the World Cup.

In the southeastern Brazilian city of Curitiba before this year’s tournament, you wouldn’t know the reigning champs are preparing on the outskirts of town. Curitiba also hosts four World Cup matches, but there is little indication in this city of 1.8 million.

“Look at that, not even a single flag on the street,” said Emilio Mendonza, 47, as he stepped out of his store in the historic center for a glance.

Curitiba is littered in Brazilian green and yellow, but there are otherwise few hints of the World Cup.

“It’s a fragile time to have the World Cup, a fractious moment in Brazil,” said Mendonza, who sells lamps, desks and accessories. “Normally you would call up your friends to go out and watch the game, but everyone’s kind of keeping to themselves and not wanting to show any excitement. It’s better to just keep quiet.”

Spain wraps up Group B play against Australia at the Arena da Baixada on June 23. Iran plays Nigeria, Honduras faces Ecuador, and Russia meets Algeria in the other matches here.

The cold, winter weather certainly doesn’t help in heating up a population filled with anxiety surrounding potential protests.

“It’s a difficult time. People want to get excited, but at the same time there’s this feeling you have to hold back, as you never know what the other person is thinking, if they agree with the Cup being here,” said Bruna Andrade, who was selling locally made beach shoes in a city market. “It’s unusual.”

— By Paul Logothetis — www.twitter.com/PaulLogoAP

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MAKING CONNECTIONS

SAO PAULO (AP) — American midfielder Alejandro Bedoya made a point to find the U.S. ambassador to Brazil, Liliana Ayalde, as she visited the team’s World Cup home base.

Both Colombian-Americans, they were eager to trade a few pleasantries after the U.S. held an open training session at Sao Paulo Futebol Club on Wednesday.

Bedoya asked to pose for a photo. Ayalde left with an autographed postcard. She will attend the Croatia-Brazil World Cup opener on Thursday, then each of the U.S. Group G matches, starting Monday night against Ghana in Natal. There, she will be joined by Vice President Joe Biden.

“I was having a longer chat with one of the players who has a similar background to myself, so that was exciting,” Ayalde said. “We thought we’d share our own heritage. That is a special thing.”

Ayalde, a career diplomat with more than three decades of experience and a former ambassador to Paraguay, was appointed last year. She arrived in Sao Paulo on Wednesday morning. Ayalde also made a trip from her Brasilia base for the Americans’ January training camp.

Ayalde’s two daughters, Stefanie and Natalia, will take part in the second U.S. game — responsible for carrying the ball and flag before kickoff against Portugal in Manaus on June 22.

Some 200,000 tickets have been sold to U.S.-based fans, Ayalde said.

“We’re prepared

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