Split loyalties for USA's German contingent
Usually when national anthems are played at the World Cup, half the stadium enjoys one and half likes the other. This week, there will be a group who are moved by both.
On Thursday, midfielder Jermaine Jones is one of several USA players who will have split allegiances. Jones will be playing Germany, the country where he was born, bred and played most of his football.
"With both the anthems I'll close my eyes, let everything go through and then after I will try to make my game," said the German-accented 32-year-old.
Jones played three friendlies for Germany in 2008 but he switched to the USA after being overlooked by coach Joachim Loew for that year's European championship.
His origins are not unique. German-Americans John Brooks, Fabian Johnson, Timothy Chandler and Julian Green are all included in the squad led by Jurgen Klinsmann, the ex-Germany player and coach.
Now Jones, whose superb strike nearly earned the USA a famous win over Portugal, will play a team including German friends and acquaintances as USA bid for the World Cup's last 16.
"I always say that I'm proud of both countries. I grew up in Germany and they gave me a lot. I took my first steps there and I played my first games and first leagues there," he said.
"I'm not going to say bad things about Germany, I have a lot of friends in Germany," added Jones. "Everything is good and everything happens for a reason."
Jones, the son of a US soldier and German mother, has pledged not to celebrate if he scores in Recife. The USA, who beat Ghana and drew 2-2 with Portugal, need at least a point to progress.
After coming through the ranks of German football, the uncompromising Jones said he appreciates the straightfoward approach which has helped bring them three world and European titles.
"The whole time when I was playing there and grew up, the people are straight, concentrated and always focused. They know what they want to do," Jones said.
Klinsmann added: "The expectations in Germany are very simple. They've always got to win it. Otherwise they're disappointed."
Jones, who is ex-Schalke but now plays for Besiktas, admitted he was upset for "two or three days" after missing out on a place in Germany's Euro 2008 squad.
But buoyed by his strike against Portugal, which was cancelled out by a late equaliser, he said the American team now felt ready to take on anyone.
"Against Portugal, everybody was talking about Cristiano Ronaldo and we showed we can play against these teams. I think after 20 minutes we were the better team on the pitch," he said.
Klinsmann said there would be "big hugs" for his former colleagues, including Loew, before the game on Thursday. And Jones underlined that he held no grudges against the German team.
"It's not the point to beat a friend of something. The point is to get to the next round. This is the important stuff," he said.