USA coach Jurgen Klinsmann has admitted that the pedigree of his players are below those of their group opponents Ghana, Portugal and Germany.
The German coach's most immediate task during the U.S. soccer team's World Cup training camp at Stanford is to whittle his 30-man roster to 23 by the June 2 deadline.
But Klinsmann also must spend the next two weeks preparing his team for Ghana, Portugal and Germany in the so-called Group of Death.
One month before the opener -- the U.S. plays Ghana on June 16 â€” Klinsmann is realistic about the state of his team relative to its competition in Brazil.
"A lot of our guys don't have the same foundation,'' he said Wednesday, noting that many opposing players have participated in the Champions League or various cup matches in recent weeks.
"We're behind. We know where we stand in comparison. That's why we start earlier and work harder.''
(bullet) Brazil and Mexico are among the teams that called just 23 players -- their final World Cup rosters -- to training camp.
Klinsmann opted to bring 30 to Stanford for the two-week session, which began Wednesday.
"We're not sure yet -- simple as that,'' he said. "We have 50-50 cases all over the place ...
"But this is World Cup preparation. We have to build a foundation. We're doing our homework, fine-tuning elements, building every piece if it's tactical, technical and chemistry-wise.''
A handful of players were expected to arrive this weekend, including goalkeeper Tim Howard, who just finished his club season with Everton in the English Premier League.
Asked about reports that Brazil's infrastructure won't be ready for the start of competition June 12, Klinsmann called it a "World Cup of patience.''
"It's not going to be perfect,'' he said. "Transportation is a big task. Hotels for the fans is a big task.
"The teams will be fine. But it's going to be an extreme type of World Cup.''