Work in Sports
Two wins from gold
German-based attacker not surprised with U.S. success
Competing in his first Olympics, 18-year-old Landon Donovan is the youngest member of the U.S. Olympic soccer team. The forward/midfielder signed a deal with German Bundesliga club Bayer Leverkusen in 1999, becoming one of the youngest players in U.S. soccer history to sign a professional contract overseas.
Keep up with Donovan on CNNSI.com throughout the Sydney Olympic Games. He most recently checked in after the United States' dramatic penalty-kick win over Japan in the quarterfinals.
What are the emotions of winning and reaching the Olympic semifinal?
I don't think I can really describe my feelings or emotions right now. It hasn't really sunk in yet; I'm just trying to get ready for Spain.
Will there be a letdown in the semifinal, after such hard-fought match against Japan and such a jubilant post-game celebration?
To be honest, we didn't celebrate very hard at all. Everyone went out with their families and came back pretty early, as we were all quite tired. I doubt there will be a letdown; we know we aren't done yet, and we want that gold!
Are you surprised as the success of the U.S.?
I am honestly not surprised. We did it last year with the U-17s (a fourth-place finish at the world youth championships in New Zealand), and I really expect every U.S. team to have a real chance at the semifinals of every world championship.
What did coach Clive Charles say to you and the team after the win?
Clive told us how proud he was of us, and that we are two wins away from a gold medal.
Do you know what your role will be in the semifinal?
I have no idea what my role will be for the semis, but I just want to win that game!
How did Japan compare to the other three teams you've played?
Japan were by the far the best team we have played. They battled very hard and played good soccer throughout the game.
Describe the Japan game itself. What went right? Wrong?
I don't think we actually played that well, but we did what it took to win the game, and that is the most important thing.
How was the tactical approach different in the second half? What formation were you playing, and who played where?
We played a 4-3-3 in the second half, with me at attacking midfield and Josh Wolff, Conor Casey and Chris Albright up front. We needed to get a goal back, so we attacked more.
What was the strategy heading into extra time, and how did it pan out?
We didn't have a special strategy going into extra time, we just wanted to play well defensively and try to get a goal.
What about the penalty kicks? How were the shooters determined? Had you practiced PKs with the team?
Clive basically told us who was shooting, and that was it. We had all practiced individually throughout the week, and luckily we all stepped up and made them.
What do you know about Spain, and how will the game be approached?
Spain will be the toughest opponent we have faced, but they are just a soccer team, and we will play them accordingly.
How much of a factor will fatigue be heading into the semifinal?
I don't think we will be any more fatigued than Spain are. Everyone was very fit coming into the Olympics, and at this point it's all mental anyway.
What has surprised you about the Olympic tournament?
I think Brazil losing and how well Chile have done are the two biggest surprises of the Olympics so far.
How will you be spending Sunday and Monday?
We trained lightly today (Sunday), and we are soon traveling to Sydney. We will train lightly tomorrow as well, and then Tuesday night is the big game!