RECIFE, Brazil — When Jermaine Jones stands for the national anthems of his countries Thursday night, he will soak in the moment.
Jones, like four American teammates and his coach, will be familiar with both “The Star-Spangled Banner” and the “Deutschlandlied” before the United States’ World Cup game against Germany.
After playing three games in 2008 for the nation in which he grew up, Jones switched allegiance to the U.S. two years later.
“When I hear the anthem from the United States, I will close my eyes and let everything go through,” the tenacious midfielder said.
And then comes the big game.
Four years of work by the U.S. come down to 90 or so minutes in the afternoon heat and possibly rain at Arena Pernambuco on the outskirts of a sprawling beach city known as the Brazilian Venice. Having squandered the chance to clinch advancement earlier this week against Portugal by allowing a stoppage-time goal in a 2-2 draw, the Americans might need at least a tie against the three-time champions to reach the knockout stage of consecutive World Cup for the first time.
The story lines are gripping:
— U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann facing the nation he helped win the 1990 World Cup title and coached to the 2006 semifinals.
— Germany coach Joachim Loew managing against Klinsmann, his former boss.
— Five German-American players with U.S. servicemen fathers and German mothers going up against a German squad filled with familiar faces from the Bundesliga.
— Fear by some the U.S. and Germany might collude on a draw, which would advance both nations while eliminating Portugal and Ghana. Both sides insist that won’t happen.
— Thousands of American fans with red, white and blue gear making the trek to the Southern Hemisphere to cheer in person and millions back home tuning into games at record levels.