Saturday’s World Cup round-up

July 4th, 2010

Messi was surprised by England defending in the 4-1 defeat by Germany

Spain coach Vicente del Bosque said Brazil’s quarter-final defeat by the Netherlands was not a surprise to him.

“I don’t think it’s a lesson knowing the reality of football,” said the Spaniard following the favourites’ World Cup exit. “We know that every match can be complicated. We start off on an equal footing and the nature of sport is that anything can happen.”

Argentina forward Lionel Messi has admitted he was surprised by England’s performances at the World Cup in South Africa.

“I expected England to do well, so I am surprised they had a very poor tournament,” he said. “They seemed to freeze. If [Wayne] Rooney, [Steven] Gerrard and [Frank] Lampard are not at their best, the team is bound to suffer. Defensively, England were poor.”

Germany coach Joachim Loew has admitted that he is in awe of Diego Maradona because he feels the Argentine coach won the World Cup on his own, back in 1986.

“He galvanised the whole football world with his skills,” said Loew as his side prepare to face Argentina in Saturday’s quarter-final match.

“He was simply magic. The culmination of his career was 1986. He virtually decided that World Cup on his own. He left a mark on football like no other player has ever done.”

France’s World Cup fiasco was the fault of the system, a poor environment and the coach’s refusal to listen to players, according to midfielder Florent Malouda.

“With France I came to play where I was asked to and that was it,” Malouda told L’Equipe.

“We didn’t even try to see the coach to talk about the tactical system, 4-3-3 or 4-2-3-1. It was just ‘put yourself there and no arguments’. We did not look for explanations. Never in the last few years did my words have any influence on the coach.”

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