The Norman Transcript

Sports

May 27, 2014

Berti Vogts coaches Azerbaijan, then scouts for U.S.

SAN FRANCISCO — Berti Vogts is literally working both sides.

As soon as he’s done coaching Azerbaijan against the Americans in a World Cup warmup Tuesday night, Vogts will immediately return to his other important soccer gig: scouting U.S. World Cup opponents as a special adviser to Jurgen Klinsmann.

Only in soccer could Vogts pull this unique scenario — guiding one team, then rejoining the other in the lead-up to Brazil.

“I’ve never seen or heard that before,” U.S. midfielder Graham Zusi said. “That’s just the way it is sometimes.”

Vogts expects about half of Azerbaijan’s 9 million people to be watching the game on TV when it will be 7 a.m. in the former Soviet republic, 12 hours ahead. The match at Candlestick Park is the first of three World Cup warmups for the U.S. stateside before departing for Sao Paulo.

Not that Vogts is getting ahead of himself.

“First, I’m the national coach for Azerbaijan. Proud to play here against the United States,” Vogts said. “Azerbaijan is a very, very small country. More Azerbaijans are looking forward for this match.

“It’s a huge match for Azerbaijan, and I hope the match also will help the United States. It’s the first match, then they play against Turkey in New York and in Jacksonville against Nigeria. It’s very interesting matches for the U.S.”

He is quick to clear up a couple of things: Klinsmann hasn’t asked him to make any tactical adjustments based on better preparing the U.S. even though his team has faced all three World Cup opponents, and Klinsmann only offered the idea of this match and Vogts agreed while feeling no pressure to oblige.

“It’s a friendly. It’s a natural match. It’s not a match about two friends. It’s a match of Azerbaijan-USA,” Vogts said. “Azerbaijan inhabitants have about 8 million, and maybe 4 million are waiting for the match against the big USA.”

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Sports
  • Clash Football It’s a whole new ball game for Tigers and Timberwolves

    With just over two weeks until football practice officially begins Aug. 11, everyone is busy preparing for the upcoming season. After all, it’s one that will be unlike any other....

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Brace yourselves for what is likely bumpy road to playoffs

    In October of 2005, back when Butch Peters had Norman High ranked No. 5 on the gridiron and Karin Sexson had Norman North ranked No. 1 on the volleyball court, I wrote a column under the headline: “Two great teams … Who cares.” It was all ...

    July 30, 2014

  • USA Basketball Durant tells media that he’s not looking too far ahead

    While most of the NBA’s offseason has been focused on players going home, max contracts and who gets Kevin Love, the reigning MVP has been pretty low key. Oklahoma City’s Kevin Durant has stayed in the shadows for the most part while ...

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Cody adds former champions Maple, Howe as assistants

    A great wrestler doesn’t necessarily make a great wrestling coach. On the other hand, it’s not a bad place to start....

    July 30, 2014

  • Hamlin crew chief out 6 races

    CHARLOTTE, N.C. — NASCAR suspended Denny Hamlin’s crew chief and car chief on Tuesday for six races because the Joe Gibbs Racing entry failed inspection following his third-place finish at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Darian Grubb and ...

    July 30, 2014

  • Bell focuses on every facet of his game

    LATROBE, Pa. — Le’Veon Bell kept watching the tape over and over, equal parts pleased and puzzled by what he saw....

    July 30, 2014

  • Sam factor may ready Rams for sensitivity class

    ST. LOUIS — To guard against another bullying scandal, NFL teams are holding sensitivity sessions during training camp....

    July 30, 2014

  • Romo skips full-pad session for the first time at camp

    OXNARD, Calif. — The Dallas Cowboys are taking it easy with Tony Romo’s back....

    July 30, 2014

  • Vikings hire help for Kluwe talks

    MINNEAPOLIS — The Minnesota Vikings have hired the attorney who investigated the Miami Dolphins bullying scandal and another who played a prominent role in the fight for marriage equality to help in settlement talks with former punter ...

    July 30, 2014

  • Cards’ Abraham charged with DUI

    ATLANTA — Authorities say Arizona Cardinals linebacker John Abraham was arrested on a drunken driving charge a month ago in the Atlanta area. Abraham has been absent from the team’s training camp since Friday....

    July 30, 2014

Facebook