US election results will not affect Mexico game- Klinsmann

Former German national football team coach Juergen Klinsmann (R) poses with his wife Debbie after ...
Former German national football team coach Juergen Klinsmann (R) poses with his wife Debbie after he was named honorary captain of the German national football team at a meeting of the German Football Federation (DFB) in Erfurt, eastern Germany, on November 3, 2016. Martin Schutt / dpa / AFP

Head coach Jurgen Klinsmann and the United States will renew their rivalry with Mexico in a World Cup qualifier three days after the US presidential election brought the relationship between the two nations to the forefront in a bitterly divisive campaign.

During the campaign, Trump said many Mexican immigrants to the US were “bringing drugs, bringing crime, they’re rapists” before adding that some, he assumed, were good people. He also promised to build a wall along the border between the two countries.

Klinsmann, speaking to the media in Columbus, Ohio, a state that voted for Trump, was hopeful that a sporting event could be helpful.

“Football worldwide is a sport that connects people, that gets people together and you have always this healthy competition,” Klinsmann said.

“It’s purely a sporting event, it’s purely a game of respect, we have a lot of respect for Mexico and their people and their team and their coach so I think this is the wonderful side of sports, it brings people together.”

Friday marks the kick-off of the final CONCACAF World Cup qualifying stage, widely known as the “Hexagonal” because it brings together six teams vying for three automatic spots at the Russia finals in 2018.

The six teams play each other home and away, and while the US and Mexico should both qualify with ease, nothing can be taken for granted.

Tim Howard has been restored as the starting US keeper, more than two years after taking a sabbatical following the 2014 World Cup.

The former Everton man, now playing for Colorado Rapids in Major League Soccer, has displaced Brad Guzan, who has also lost his starting role for his English club Middlesbrough.

Also making his Hexagonal debut for the US will be Christian Pulisic, the Pennsylvania-born 18-year-old who is already starring in the German Bundesliga with Borussia Dortmund.

Pulisic will be part of a healthy contingent of Bundesliga players in action, with striker Javier Hernandez (Bayer Leverkusen) and midfielder Marco Fabian of Eintracht Frankfurt on the Mexican side.

In Friday’s other matches, Costa Rica play Trinidad and Tobago, while Honduras host Panama.

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