The World Cup has produced some wonderful quotes over the years. Here are just a few. So if everyone could put their foot in their mouth. Lets start with one only a football manger could come up with.
"We didn't underestimate them. They were just a lot better than we thought." Bobby Robson in 1990 after England had struggled to beat Cameroon.
Bobby Robson isn't the only manger to leave us a cherished gem of wisdom. Before the 1974 final Dutch coach Willem van Hanegem said about the German team "I didn't give a damn as long as we humiliated them. They murdered my father, sister and two brothers. I am full of anger. I hate them." The Dutch still had bitter feelings of the suffering they underwent during World War 2 and van Hanegam had lost family members.
One of the most famous WC related quotes comes from 1938 when Benito Mussolini sent a message to the Italian team before the final which said "Win or die!" Its believed it has been since twisted by translation and he was urging them to victory, but can we be sure? Italy did win the trophy and the Hungarian goalkeeper Antal Szabo is reported to have said after the match: "I may have let in four goals, but at least I saved their lives."
Four years earlier when the competition was held in Italy, Mussolini is reported as also saying to the head of the Italian federation one admiral Vaccaro. "Admiral, Italy must win the World Cup." The Admiral replied: "Of course, Duce. That would be a wonderful achievement." Mussolini responded: "Admiral, I don't think you understood me. Italy MUST win the World Cup."
Football does brings about a feeling of mutual respect and caring for the other team, as was shown in 1950. The USA had just beaten England and US player Harry Keough who earned his living as a postman said at the end of the game "Boy, I feel sorry for these b******s. How are they ever going to live down the fact we beat them?"
On the other hand as Alf Ramsey noted about the Argentinians in 1966 "It seemed a pity so much Argentinean talent is wasted. Our best football will come against the right type of opposition - a team who come to play football, and not act as animals."
Putting his finger on the pulse of the world game Sepp Blatter remarked “The World Cup must remain the number one competition, because it is our only source of money and, with that money, we can develop football in the whole world.”
Meanwhile Ronaldo summed up Brazil's defeat to Brazil in 1998 quite well “We lost because we didn’t win”
Maybe he had other things on his mind, he also said, "I'm sure sex wouldn't be as rewarding as winning the World Cup. It's not that good, but the World Cup is every four years and sex is not."
While Leo Beenhakker, the coach of Trinidad &Tobago points out the problems of smaller nations "We have a back four of players from Gillingham, Wrexham, New England Revolution and San Juan Jaboleth - heard of them?"
Whilst Jose Pereira the Portuguese goalkeeper, gives his best Eric Cantona impression "Even a street lamp would have seen that Franck was a very good player, but you had to watch him like a pan of milk on the boil. He was a kid who had grown up in the street."
David Beckham reveals the way is seen in different countries "Before the Paraguay game we'll all shake hands. At Madrid we all kiss each other before we go out. Against Jamaica, Aaron Lennon was waiting to replace me and as I approached I reached forward to kiss him, but then thought 'no, better not'.
However maybe we should leave the last few well chosen words to Roy Keane, who when captain of Manchester United went on MUTV and described his own clubs supporters as being more concerned with their prawn sandwiches in their luxury boxes than the football. In the run-up to the 2002 competition he had a slight disagreement with the Republic of Ireland’s team manager Mick McCarthy. Roy was reported as saying “Who the f*** do you think you are, having meetings about me? Mick, you're a liar ... you're a f****** w*****. I didn't rate you as a player, I don't rate you as a manager, and I don't rate you as a person. You're a f***** w***** and you can stick your World Cup up your ***. The only reason I have any dealings with you is that somehow you are the manager of my country! You can stick it up your b*******."
He also pointed out Mick was in fact a ***** English ****
Roy had earlier expressed concerns in the press about the teams preparations having
described the training pitch in Saipan as "like a car park", he criticised the travel preparations and was unimpressed with the dietary standards ("Do you think Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink is eating f****** cheese sandwiches or a takeaway f****** pizza tonight?").
Don’t beat about the bush Roy, tell us what you really think.
Notes - 1- Flying Down to Rio, Flight 13.
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