July 28 (UPI) -- Lothar Matthaus and Martin Demichelis will be forever linked at Bayern Munich, but their national allegiances stand elsewhere.
Matthaus is German through-and-through. He was born in Erlangen, played the majority of his career in his homeland and had 150 caps for his country during his decorated career. Demichelis is 20 years younger than Matthaus. He was born in Argentina before spending most of his career in Germany.
When it comes to the 2018 World Cup, they once again had something in common: disappointing early exits. The legends spoke with UPI on Friday, ahead of Bayern Munich's International Champions Cup matchup in Miami against Manchester City.
Germany failed to defend its 2014 World Cup title and didn't make it out of the group stage at this year's World Cup. Matthaus said that the results in the tournament were similar to the results in qualifying.
"It was a surprise maybe because the smaller teams played better and the bigger teams were not focused completely for the game," Matthaus said. "And for this the Germans and other big football nations, this is the result that they get."
"We have to find better ways to make better results against a smaller teams. Because each small team, like Panama, like Iceland and Sweden too, they have to. They have not the quality of players but they know what they have to do: team spirit, passion, love. They give their best for each other.
Argentina advanced out of the group stage, but fell in the round of 16 to the eventual champions, France.
Demichelis said criticism is tough for Lionel Messi to deal with, but he thinks the five-time Ballon d'Or winner will keep playing for the national team.
"In order to understand, you have to go back to the last years," Demichelis said. "In the last three years, they've changed the head coach three times. Change of system, players and as a result of that, Argentina doesn't go to the World Cup."
"Messi said he would trade all of the titles he has won for a World Cup and that proves what Argentina means for him and he's sad for what happened. I'm confident he will continue with the national team."
Top 5 players
Obviously Demichelis doesn't hesitate when it comes to naming the best players in the world. Messi is tops that list. When it came to Matthaus, Messi's name was the last one uttered when he named the best players in the world.
Demichelis' list also included France's Antoine Griezmann and Kylian Mbappe, as well as Croatia's Luka Modric and Belgium's Kevin De Bruyne.
Matthaus named Cristiano Ronaldo first, before agreeing with Mbappe, Modric, Griezmann and Messi.
"Messi is the best, but he wasn't the best at the World Cup," Demichelis said.
Future of USMNT
Matthaus and Demichelis are supportive of U.S. Soccer, including of former USMNT, Bayern Munich and Germany coach Jurgen Klinsmann.
Matthaus explained Klinsmann rift with Major League Soccer when he held the job of USMNT boss.
"I know Jurgen and he has his mind and is going his way and I think it was a different interest between Jurgen and MLS because Jurgen ... He wanted the players to go to Europe to train with the best players in the world with better and more experienced coaches."
"I think this was the right way. With Christian Pulisic and when he would play here ... He's a big star in MLS, but for his future it's better he's playing at Borussia Dortmund. At least he can get back to the U.S. and say this is the right way."
Matthaus said that he believes the United States has "potential," especially with the abundance of children interested in the sport. He also said soccer is more "professional" in the U.S., with more stadiums and interest from the media, compared to when he played. Matthaus said the International Champions Cup is a good way to advertise the big stars of the sport and draw interest.
Bayern Munich battles Manchester City at 7:05 p.m. Saturday at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens. Manchester United faces Real Madrid at 8:05 p.m. Tuesday on the same field to wrap up the 2018 International Champions Cup in Miami.