What they said about the World Cup draw

Coaches and players were quick to react to Friday’s World Cup

draw. The following is a selection.


Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari said he didn’t think Brazil was

given an easy group and praised Croatia, Mexico and Cameroon. We

can’t worry too far ahead past the group stage,” Scolari said.

”If you start thinking about the second round you forget about the

teams in the first round, which are important. We have worry about

these teams first.”


Spain’s Vincent del Bosque told Spanish television: ”We can’t

say we were handed an easy draw. It’s a complicated group with

tough sides. It’s going to be difficult.” On Chile, the only team

Del Bosque had mentioned he would not like to meet in the group

stage: ”Their style of play is very impressive, they make it very

uncomfortable for opponents. They are very hard working, a very

difficult team.”

On the Netherlands: ”They’ve changed their makeup from the

midfield to the back line, but they still have dangerous players up

front in Robin van Persie, Sneijder, and Robben.” On the opening

game against Netherlands, he said: ”We have to be prepared from

day one. When you are drawn against a team that maybe isn’t quite a

top rival it affects our preparation and we’re not always ready,

maybe, psychologically. That won’t be the case here.”


Netherlands coach Louis van Gaal said: ”We have to play the

world champion, we have to play Australia who we have never beaten

and Chile was 3-0 up recently against Colombia before it ended 3-3,

so that is not a weak team. The opponents are tough, but for the

playing conditions it is not too bad.” Van Gaal noted that if the

Netherlands progress from the group stage they will have to play

one of the team’s from the group headed by host nation Brazil. That

is a tough group and you travel north and the playing conditions

get worse.”


”It could have been more complicated,” France coach Didier

Deschamps said. ”Another good thing is that we won’t play in the

northern regions, where the temperatures and the level of humidity

are very high and the distances are very long. We stay more or less

in the same area, which is not too far from our training camp. It’s

a rather good news.”

”When you start a competition, the most important thing is to

win the first match,” Deschamps told TMC television. ”We open

against Honduras and not Switzerland, the seeded team, so that’s an

ideal situation. It’s a favorable order of play but only if we win

this first match.

”It’s a bizarre draw but nevertheless interesting for us,”

French Football Federation president Noel Le Graet said. ”We

should never make any assumption about the quality of a group.

Those are good teams. We will meet them at a period when we’ll have

to reach the maximum of our potential.”


England coach Roy Hodgson told the BBC: ”It’s a tough group,

there’s no doubt about that. In Italy and Uruguay it’s almost as

though we have got two number one seeds in our group. We know how

good Italy are because we lost to them in the quarterfinals at the

Euros. The game is going to be tough from a climate point of view

for both teams. We’re both in the same boat.

”There were not going to be many scenarios where we were going

to be jumping for joy. It doesn’t surprise us. I suppose one

positive is that we have only got one long trip then the other two

are in the same neck of the woods.”


”We have a difficult group – maybe the most difficult – but

usually when we come up against difficulty we arrive prepared,”

Italy coach Cesare Prandelli told RAI state TV. ”We’re going to

have to sweat it out. They’re going to be some very interesting

matches. Italy beat both Uruguay and England in penalty shootouts

in their last official meetings.

”It isn’t so much who we play, but how we’ll play them,”

Prandelli said, adding that the difficult travel schedule and

midday matches will also play a role. ”The squad will need to be

in great physical condition and have confidence in that area. Our

preparation will take into account these difficulties.”


Germany coach Joachim Loew said dealing with the humidity and

heat will be the biggest challenge. ”I accept it as it is, we have

no influence anyway. The main thing is that we know where we’ll

play and we can take the next step in preparing for this World

Cup,” Loew said.

”We have to get used to the humidity and the heat, it’s going

to be incredibly humid and hot.”We must get used to it, in

training and preparing.” Our opponents are old friends, we played

Ghana in 2010, we played Portugal at the 2012 Euro.” German team

officials had dinner with Klinsmann last night. ”We have a very

close relationship,” said Loew, who was Klinsmann’s assistant at

home in 2006.


Chile coach Jorge Sampaoli said, ”It’s such a difficult group.

We’ll try to be as competitive as possible to give us a chance to

reach the knockout stages. In the career of a coach, you know this

is the path that you may have to take. So we have to prepare


”After getting out of the war of the group stage, you don’t

move on to an easier fate with having to face winners of Group



U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann, speaking to German TV, in German,

said: ”Football produces crazy stories … Portugal with Cristiano

Ronaldo, Ghana, which eliminated us the last two times. It couldn’t

have been a tougher group.

”But we have the best year in U.S. football behind us, our

players are spread throughout the big leagues, in the Premiere

League, in the Bundesliga, in Italy.

”It’s a hammer group but we can manage. Germany has it better,

travel-wise, because they have relatively short distances to travel

and we have the biggest distance to cover of all teams. But we

can’t change it and we’ll take it as is.”


Greece captain Giorgos Karagounis was optimistic. ”This is a

tough group with tough teams – all of them. But I am optimistic

because we respond to challenges well. Any of the teams in this

group can make the difference, so it definitely won’t be easy. Our

style of play generally remains the same. We are tough and we don’t

concede easily. I don’t care how people describe our game or

whether our style will be more defensive or offensive. We will play

to make the last 16 and will fight for it as much as we can – you

can be sure about that.”


”I have to say we were fortunate,” Russia coach Fabio Capello

told Italian state TV RAI. ”But when you get to this point every

match is dangerous. One good thing is that we won’t play in

northern Brazil.”


”There’s no big or small team in the World Cup finals,”

Algeria coach Vahid Halilhodzic told the website of the Algerian

Football Federation. ”In my eyes, Belgium is the group’s favorite,

all the more so since their players have played together for years

(…) We will certainly not go to Brazil for sightseeing but to

represent Algeria in a good light.”


Croatia coach Niko Kovac: ”Now that we are in such a hard

group, then it is good that we are opening the World Cup against

Brazil. It will be a great opening, tiny Croatia against great

Brazil. Brazil will be a special motive for my players, it is now

important for us to get ready the best we can, to play good

football and satisfy our fans in Croatia. We will do everything to

prepare for the opener against the hosts. This will be a chance for

our little country to represent itself in front of a wide audience.

We have half a year to prepare for something good. We are here to

play nice football with a lot of passion. If that happens, we will

go a long way in the tournament”


Bosnia coach Saft Susic: ”Argentine is the favorite in the

group. We will fight for the second place with Nigeria. I don’t

know much about Iran and Nigeria, but I know that Nigeria played

frequently at the World Cups and we should not underestimate Iran.

We have good chances of making it to the second round. When I see

whom Croatia has drawn, we have to be happy with our group.”


Volker Finke, Cameroon coach, said it wpould also be tough for

his team to play in Manaus. ”It’s also a little bit of a problem

to go in the north of Brazil in June. It’s very, very hot and the

climate maybe is difficult, but this is also difficult for both. We

have to think again, maybe change a little bit the program because

for me it was surprising to go to the north. But it’s a draw, we

have to follow. All the (Cameroon) players are in Europe and this

is why it is also difficult to go here in this climate. It is very

hot and we have to think about it”


Ottmar Hitzfeld, Switzerland coach, said his team might change

its training camp from near Sao Paulo because of its travel

schedule, which includes Manaus? ”Yes, we have to think about it.

We must adapt to the climatic conditions.” On facing France, he

said, ”there’s one name, Franck Ribery, who can make the

difference. Apart from him, there are other players who are very

strong and we saw them have an exceptional game against Ukraine.

The offensive strength was impressive.”


Ange Postecoglu, Australia coach, said his might be the toughest

group: ”Probably. The Netherlands and Chile could have been easily

seeded if you look at their qualification. It is a tough group but

seriously it’s an exciting group. There’s going to be some

fantastic football played. Nobody will give us much chance in this

group and that’s an opportunity in itself.”


”It’s a difficult group, very even,” Portugal coach Paulo

Bento said. ”Four good teams, although naturally many people will

say that Germany is slightly favored. We know we will have

difficulties so we will need to be competitive and competent. We

are confident we can reach our first goal, which is to advance to

the second round.

Bento, who came on as a substitute in Portugal’s 3-2 loss

against the U.S. in the 2002 World Cup, said the Americans and

Ghana ”are well-organized and have some good individual players

with experience of European football.”


”We are in a very even group, with European teams like

Switzerland and France, which have different styles,” Ecuador

coach Reinaldo Rueda said. ”Honduras we all know of its potential.

This means we will need a very good preparation period to get past

the first round.”


”We can’t be fearful,” Costa Rica coach Jorge Luis Pinto said.

”We are in this group and we will face everyone with a lot of

enthusiasm and hard work. Uruguay is a very technical team; Italy

is very tactical, as is England. We will keep our style. We already

faced powerhouses such as Spain and Brazil and we played very well.

We feel that we will be very motivated.”