RECIFE, Brazil (AP) — With both his current team and his former one on to the World Cup’s knockout rounds, Jermaine Jones approached the German players and offered his best wishes.
“I hope that we see us again,” said Jones, who also answered some questions in his first language of German afterward.
The fiery U.S. midfielder is among five German-Americans who faced the three-time World Cup champion Thursday. The United States gave the Germans quite a push in a 1-0 loss that still was enough to send the Americans to the round of 16. Portugal’s 2-1 victory against Ghana sealed their advancement on goal difference.
Jones played three exhibitions for Germany in 2008 but was among the final cuts by coach Joachim Loew for that year’s European Championship.
“It is my first home, Germany, so I grew up hoping for this team,” he said. “I try the best for my team.”
The son of an American serviceman and German mother, Jones asked FIFA in 2009 for a change in affiliation to join the U.S.
He never could have imagined the scene at water-logged Arena Pernambuco. There was much physical play during a chippy match.
“I think my nose is broken,” he said.
Jones was injured in a collision with teammate Alejandro Bedoya. He would be the second American to break his nose during the tournament, after captain Clint Dempsey was hurt against Ghana on June 16.
“We have a team that has a lot of heart, a lot of character,” Dempsey said. “We keep going and keep fighting. I’m sure if he did break his nose, just like what happened to me, he’ll be ready for the next game.”
Indeed, Jones hardly seemed bothered — and he won’t let the injury slow down his all-out fierce play, dreadlocks flopping.
“He’s been covering a ton of ground himself, and he’s been doing a lot of stuff that doesn’t show up on the stat sheet,” fellow midfielder Kyle Beckerman said. “It’s stuff that we need against these teams. We were put in a group with some really quality teams. We’ve needed him to cover a ton of ground; we’ve needed him to attack.”
The 32-year-old Jones knows this could be his last chance on soccer’s biggest stage. Jones was recruited by ex-U.S. coach Bob Bradley, then former German coach and 1990 World Cup champion Jurgen Klinsmann took over for Bradley in July 2011.
Next up: A match with Group H winner Belgium on Tuesday in Salvador.
That gives the Americans plenty of time to recover once back at their home base in Sao Paulo.
“Today we lose the game, but everybody’s happy that we’ve come to the next round. We showed some people,” Jones said, happy the Americans proved a pair of ESPN analysts wrong. “We had that time when we were in New York in Times Square and Alexi Lalas and Taylor (Twellman) and people that were talking like we have no chance to come through to the next round.
“The team has always looked forward, and we got it.”