World Cup 2014 draw: what the coaches said

Costa do Saupie (Brazil), Dec 7: Comments from the coaches after Friday’s World Cup draw, according to Xinhua.

Vicente del Bosque (Spain):

“I told some close friends this morning that we would get the Netherlands in the first game and that is how it turned out. The Netherlands have changed the way they play but have still got (Rafael) Van der Vaart, (Arjen) Robben and (Robin) Van Persie.”

Joachim Loew (Germany):

“In our preparations, we have to get used to the humidity and high temperatures. I have already been to Fortaleza and Recife, where we will conditions difficult to acclimatize to. We will have to adapt our preparations.”

Alejandro Sabella (Argentina):

“It is positive that we didn’t get the Group of Death and we will be playing in favourable locations like Rio de Janeiro, Porto Alegre and Belo Horizonte. Now I have to start doing my homework and study the rivals. From now we have to study every detail from an individual and collective viewpoint.”

Jose Pekerman (Colombia):

“I really respect Japan, Cote d’Ivoire and Greece. It’s been a long time since Colombia has been in a World Cup. We hope to do our part. We performed well in the qualifiers but that is now in the past. Anything can happen in the group phase so we have to be careful.”

Paulo Bento (Portugal):

“It’s an even group, but for me the favourites to finish top are Germany because of their potential and their history. Ghana and the US are also very organised teams with good individual players with European experience. Our goal is to get through to the round of 16.”

Sebastian Bauza (Uruguay, president of football federation):

“It’s obvious that we have a tough group and I don’t think anybody would envy us for the rivals we will be up against. But I’m sure that if you ask the coaches of Italy and England they will also tell you that they are not overly happy about having to play Uruguay.”

Cesare Prandelli (Italy):

“Our target is to win every match we can. If we had drawn three not very good teams everybody would have thought we were favourites, but with a big team like England or Uruguay we have to suffer. We remember the match against England in the (2012) Euros. We played a fantastic match but England is now a different team, a more technical team. In any case, England versus Italy is the most fascinating match you can imagine in a town like Manaus.”

Ottmar Hitzfeld (Switzerland):

“It’s an interesting group with high level teams that have different styles. France is a very tough opponent but all the teams pose a threat. Now we have to make the most of the time we have to prepare for the conditions that we’re going to face.”

Louis van Gaal (Netherlands):

“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.”

Luiz Felipe Scolari (Brazil):

“We can’t worry too far ahead past the group stage. If you start thinking about the second round you forget about the teams in the first round, which are important. We have to worry about these teams first.”

Marc Wilmots (Belgium):

“It’s an interesting group,” said Wilmots. “There are no world-class players within our opponents. I’m not saying it will be an easy group, but our first objective to reach the round of 16 is still the same.”

Roy Hodgson (England):

“With Uruguay and Italy, we almost have two number one seeds in our group. It does not surprise me at all to get a tough draw. But I am still very positive about the whole affair, as you never know.”

IANS