U.S. beating Argentina at Copa not 'mission impossible' - Bradley

HOUSTON - United States coach Jurgen Klinsmann insists that his team has no fear of facing Lionel Messi and Argentina on Tuesday in the semifinals of the Copa America Centenario, with captain Michael Bradley adding a win is not "mission impossible."

"This is what you want to experience," Klinsmann told reporters before his squad trained on Sunday morning in Texas, his first comments since the Americans learned their opponent in the semifinal would be Argentina, after FIFA's top-ranked team beat Venezuela on Saturday night to advance to Tuesday's match at NRG Stadium.

"It's a huge motivation for us to take on Argentina, definitely one of the best sides in the world, to give them a real game and a real fight. We are not scared of them at all."

The Americans are still waiting to hear if they will have midfielder Jermaine Jones and forward Bobby Wood available for the contest. Jones was sent off and Wood issued his second yellow of the tournament in last week's 2-1 quarterfinal win over Ecuador in Seattle, ruling both out of the match.

U.S. soccer formally protested both of Colombia referee Wilmar Roldan's decisions on Friday, but no verdict had been reached as of Sunday morning.

"That's up to them now," Klinsmann said of Copa America's disciplinary committee. "They can judge that. We're fully prepared for Argentina."

And the team thinks it has a puncher's chance.

"We don't want to make this out to be mission impossible," U.S. captain Michael Bradley said. "It's 90 minutes, it's a semifinal, it's a chance to get into a final.

"Whoever is sharper and has more guys play well, compete at a high level and understand the moment," Bradley added, "That's typically what team is going to have a better chance to win."

After the win against Ecuador, Klinsmann and his players, to a man, said that they didn't much care which team they'd face, that it didn't impact their ultimate goal of advancing to the final. Now that the matchup is set, however, the excitement of facing the two-time World Cup champions is evident.

"To play in the biggest games, to play in the toughest moments when everything is on the line, that's ultimately what we all want. That's what it's all about," Bradley said. "The chance to play in the semifinal of Copa America, on our home soil, against a big team like Argentina is an incredible opportunity."

Said Klinsmann: "As a coach you want to play the big games, same as a player. The bigger the better. That's what gives it the extra spice."