'Arena made decisions that cost us going to the World Cup' – Cameron slams former U.S. boss

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The Stoke City defender said that the U.S. would have reached Russia 2018 had Jurgen Klinsmann not been fired as head coach

U.S. national team defender Geoff Cameron has laid the blame for the country's World Cup qualifying failure at the feet of former coach Bruce Arena. 

The U.S. shockingly fell short of the 2018 World Cup, failing to qualify for the first time since 1986. 

The team appeared to have done enough by defeating Panama 4-0 in its penultimate qualifying match, but was stunned 2-1 at Trinidad & Tobago four days later to knock the Stars and Stripes out of Russia 2018. 

Cameron, a usual starter along the back line, was benched for both October matches after putting in a subpar performance in a September qualifying loss to Costa Rica. 

Arena said the Stoke City man wasn't fit for the Panama and Trinidad & Tobago matches, but Cameron strongly disputed that assertion.

"Listen: I hold my hand up — I didn't play well against Costa Rica," Cameron told The New York Times. "I made a mistake; their second goal was my fault. But it was the 88th minute and we were down 1-nil. I tried to do something to help the team and I got caught out.

"But I would have more respect for a coach to say: 'You know what, Geoff? I don't fancy you today. I think this is a better lineup.' I'd say: 'OK, no problem, you told me the truth.' But if you tell me I'm not fit enough, that's like an insult to me as a professional.

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"Bruce Arena made decisions that cost us going to the World Cup. And I don't have a problem saying it, because we had the right group of guys."

Arena replaced Jurgen Klinsmann after the U.S. started the Hexagonal round of qualifying with two defeats. Cameron, though, says that U.S. Soccer made the wrong decision in firing the German. 

"I’m convinced if they would have kept Jurgen and not done such a drastic change, I think we would have qualified," he said. "I know we would have qualified."

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