Putting managers and footballers near journalists is always done with the best of intentions, but in an era where news moves through the cosmos at an unbelievable pace, players and coaches stick to a fairly predictable script when responding to any type of question from the press.
Thankfully, neither group ever manages to hold their poker face; with a bit of research and plenty of imagination, those mundane quotes reveal a deeper meaning. Let’s take a look at what players and coaches said in the aftermath of Friday’s World Cup Draw, and what they actually meant to say.
Spain coach Vicente del Bosque
What he said: “We can’t say we were handed an easy draw. It’s a complicated group with tough sides. It’s going to be difficult.”
What he meant: “We were handed an easy draw. Every draw is easy when you’re Spain. I am happy we could avoid Switzerland this time around, but let’s talk again before the semifinals.”
Greece captain Giorgos Karagounis
What he said: “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.”
What he meant: “Historically speaking, we’re much better at the Olympics than this, but we’re going to have fun fighting. I mean, playing football.”
United States defender DaMarcus Beasley
What he said: “I think [Portugal] have a lot of weapons. I don’t think they’re a one-man show.”
What he meant: “We’ll have to use all our weapons. If we want any sort of result against Portugal, we’re going to have to poison Cristiano Ronaldo. Even then, he might score 6. It’s a tough ask.”
Germany manager Joachim Low
What he said: ”Jurgen and I have had a very good and close relationship for a long time. We have always exchanged ideas on a regular basis, but that will certainly change before the World Cup match.”
What he meant: “Jurgen hasn’t called me in four years! Four years! What happened?! Has he said anything?! TELL HIM I CAN CHANGE!”
England boss Roy Hodgson
What he said: ”There were not going to be many scenarios where we were going to be jumping for joy.”
What he meant: “Could any of you proofread my resumé?”
Nigeria boss Stephen Keshi
What he said: “We keep playing Argentina at the World Cup! We’ll see how it goes this time.”
What he meant: “Our check to FIFA did not clear as quickly as we thought.”
Germany’s Mesut Ozil
What he said: ”Hey, Cristiano, Pepe and Coentrao: I am happy to see you in Brazil.”
What he meant: “Remember how you all bullied me? GUESS WHO’S BACK?”
England’s Jack Wilshere
What he said: ”Tough group … but so what? If we want to win it we will have to play the best teams anyway!”
What he meant: “I need a cigarette.”
FIFA President Sepp Blatter
What he said: “I am sure at the end of the day that football will be the winner.”
What he meant: “I am sure at the end of the day that my bank account will be the winner.”
Mexico coach Miguel Herrera
What he said: “We have three hard opponents. We have to work hard to compete properly but we have to be realistic.”
What he meant: “I’m just happy to be here.”
Italy coach Cesare Prandelli
What he said: “The conditions (in Manaus) worry me because it’s not just about taking on these teams but how you do it.”
What he meant: “How is the wifi in Manaus?”
More from Italy coach Cesare Prandelli
What he said: “We don’t have to be angry because of the draw; we’re at the World Cup and must be happy”
What he meant: “We don’t have to be angry because the draw, but please excuse me while I kick a hole in this wall and find out if there’s wifi in Manuas”
Netherlands striker Robin van Persie
What he said: “I love the fact that at the first opportunity we immediately get the chance to make amends. After that match we immediately know where we stand. ”
What he meant: “I love the fact that at the first opportunity we immediately get the chance to kick Xabi Alonso in the chest again.”
Australia coach Ange Postecoglou
What he said: ”We’re a young nation in football terms so it is our chance to make headlines.”
What he meant: “We’ve already booked our return flight.”
United States captain Clint Dempsey
What he said: “It’s a difficult group but we’re excited about playing the best teams. That’s what the World Cup is about.”
What he meant: “We would have been okay with Switzerland.”
FIFA Secretary General Jérôme Valcke
What he said: “That wasn’t so difficult after all! Thank you to the hundreds of people who made the #FinalDraw a success.”
What he meant: “How many draws do I have to go through before I get some freaking help around here?! Is it so hard to move a ninth ball from a pot of eight to an unmarked pot, then open the ball, then read the name, then put take another ball out of a correspondingly lettered pot, then read the position, then place the team accordingly in the group? You’re all worthless. I swear this is the last time I’m doing this.”
Honduras coach Luis Suarez
What he said: “Ecuador helped me develop my career, I owe them many things.”
What he meant: “I’m not the Luis Suarez you’re thinking of.”
The tournament which introduced the world to Pele, this match holds the record for the most goals scored in a World Cup final. Ah the good old days.
2. Chile vs Italy (1962)
Nicknamed the “Battle of Santiago”, this was a brutal match up in Group 2, which was preceded by a particularly nasty depiction of the Chilean city (they were hosts) by a pair of Italian journos that set the scene. Things got...ugly.
3. England vs West Germany (1966)
The final with the most famous two halves of extra time in football history, you can judge for yourself whether the ball “crossed the line.”
4. Italy vs West Germany (1970)
Franz Beckenbauer played in a sling for part of the match after picking up an injury, as West Germany had already used both substitutions. One of the most gruelling World Cup semifinals ever played, and among the most thrilling.
5. Brazil vs the Netherlands (1974)
The match that crystallized Total Football and provided evidence for a Brazilian decline (at least until 1982), this is Johan Cruyff at his irascible best, and Brazil at their physical worst.
6. Brazil vs Italy (1982)
Simply, in my correct opinion, the greatest World Cup match ever played.
7. France vs Brazil (1986)
The Euro ‘84 winners led by Michel Platini battled it out with the vintage ‘82 side with Zico and Socrates. Doesn’t get much better than this.
8. West Germany vs England (1990)
Jonathan Wilson wrote intelligently on how this match is venerated by England fans to a fault, and there is a compelling case there. Yet this match defined England’s post ‘66 identity for years and years. Key to understanding the fraught English national team psyche.
9. Netherlands vs Argentina (1998)
10. Germany vs Italy (2006)
The greatest moment in Fabio Grosso’s life, probably. A classic World Cup match of the variety we thought we’d might never see again.
They get stuck when they are in possession because they don't have a passer in central midfield and the front four don't move well enough to find space and offer easy passes. Oscar and Neymar should drop deep more often to take the ball and make the play instead of leaving it to Paulinho/Gustavo.
I think their system of defence is even worse though.
They basically defend with six players, but they don't retreat and keep space small in the way that a team defending with six typically would.
They get in horrible positions because the fullbacks step forward to defend an area a winger should be in, so a centre-half then has to go wide to cover behind the fullbacks and that leaves them short in the middle. Luis Gustavo would go very deep to cover the space left by the centre-half going wide, but that still meant they only had one central midfielder a lot of the time.
Really horribly unbalanced team all round.
I'd be looking to get Hernanes into the team to play something like a regista and I'd want to drop one of the forwards to get another player in the team who'll work back and not leave the team looking so horribly exposed defensively.