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Here's a greatly informative interview with the 3 biggest names of world football. Enjoy!:)


28 June 2002, 18:07 Seoul - Tokyo
Wisdom of three kings -- part 1

They are akin to the three tenors. Reunited again, the three latest winning conductors at football’s most celebrated stage - Germany’s Franz Beckenbauer, France’s Aimé Jacquet and Brazil’s Carlos Alberto Parreira - sat down with FIFAworldcup.com to sing the story of the first Asian finals. In the first of a two-part interview, the coaches talk about surprises, disappointments, and try to explain the early failure of the tournament’s main favourites.
Which teams have surprised you during the tournament?
Franz Beckenbauer- The hosts, without a doubt. Korea, who had never got past the first round, made it through to the semi-finals, which will give them great impetus. It was quite an experience for me, seeing hundreds of thousands of fans dancing around the stadium and in the streets. Korea had never experienced anything like this. Japan also qualified for the second round for the first time, but you could see that they lacked a little experience for this kind of event. They made it to the last 16 before being knocked out by Turkey. Japan and Korea making it out of the group stage was good for the tournament, I thought, because if a host is knocked out early on, that takes some of the excitement out of a competition.

Aimé Jacquet - There have been several. Japan for one - this has been a breakthrough tournament for them. But the big surprise has been Korea Republic, with their dynamic and hugely spirited play. Then there are Turkey, a strong side who were fantastic in their semi-final with Brazil. They have all brought something new to the game, and football is all the better for them.

Carlos Alberto Parreira - Korea, but they didn’t rise suddenly. They have been a force since the 70s and have been to five consecutive World Cups. It just happens that at home with good preparation, good organization they have done well. Hiddink did a wonderful job and they also had the advantage of preparing for four years, not having so many players abroad. Nobody could keep up with them with their speed and energy. Senegal also impressed me, although they played their whole Africa Cup of Nations with their full team and they reached the final. Turkey too, although they were favoured by not having to face a big team until the semi-finals.

And the disappointments?
FB - The favourites going out so early. Title-holders France going out in the first round, without even scoring a single goal. That was obviously a real disappointment. Argentina, with all their stars, also went out early. Next it was Italy, then England – it was a pity to lose them all. The two organizing countries must have been very disappointed to lose so many of the top teams, but thank God, Korea and Japan made it through, which saved the tournament for them somewhat.

AJ - Again, there are several. The big boys, the favourites like Argentina, France and England, who all went out. Even Spain, who had quite a bit to say for themselves, and Italy.

CAP - France, Argentina, though not so much Spain because they reached the quarter-finals. I don’t think as they say in my country [Brazil] that the level has flattened or levelled out or gone down. I think it is because they had so many players abroad so they couldn’t prepare and train properly.

Why do you think the favourites failed so early in the tournament? Did conditions in the first Asian finals play a part?
FB - No, those factors are no different in Europe. I said before the tournament that the teams who had the best chance would be those which managed to acclimate the quickest and get used to the distance and the different culture. It is clearly quite an upheaval, and some obviously could not come to terms with it.

AJ - There are a number of reasons, including individual problems, physical setbacks and maybe a lack of unity. But the main thing you need to prosper at a World Cup is time to prepare, and I think they could all have done with an extra week before the tournament started. If they had had that, things might have been different. Certainly, that was the difference between these finals and France 98, which began ten days later.

CAP - Nobody can complain about the conditions, the hotels or the food. What really made a difference was preparation. Players like Vieira [Patrick], Zidane [Zinedine] and most of the French team were exhausted after playing until the 15th of May in very strong and very difficult games - the Champions League final, the semi-final and running for the Spanish championship. Also the number of friendlies before the tournament was a factor. When I was coach of Brazil before USA 94, I stopped the national team playing friendly games. All the other teams I was watching were playing warm-ups at home, abroad and all travelling. We stayed in Santa Clara for five weeks training and then we played matches in the last week to give them match fitness. The foundations were there.

Brazil and Germany were not expected to reach the final after problems in qualifying. Did you think the fact they were not favourites and had less pressure gave them an advantage?
FB - It’s a surprise, although as anyone will tell you, Brazil have always had a good team and one that always plays well on the big stage – after all, they have won the most World Cups. And everyone has always said that Germany is a team for big tournaments. With hindsight, and Rudi Völler also recognizes this, it was a good thing that they had to go through the play-offs to qualify. It was not until those two games against Ukraine that they found the right balance. Yet nobody expected them to be so strong at the World Cup.
The Germans weren’t among the favourites, but the Brazilians obviously were. And they have both grown into their role of favourites and deserve to be in the final. The Brazilians have won all of their games, Germany have won five and drawn one. The two best teams in the tournament will be in the final.

AJ - Brazil and Germany have come a long way from their positions as outsiders. But then they always seem to do well at the big tournaments. Both had their moments of doubt, yet it is in these difficult times that you come together as a team and grow. Take Rudi Völler for example. He lost key players to injury on the eve of the tournament, but out of that emerged a united group willing to work for one another, and they have just got better the longer the tournament has gone on.
Brazil were in a similar situation, though the difference with them is that they have the likes of Ronaldo, Rivaldo, Ronaldinho, Roberto Carlos and Cafu who can win a game for you at any moment. So for me, Germany are the ones that have improved with the tournament, as you might expect of a World Cup team. They have also had that winning mentality, which comes partly from having prepared so well.

CAP - In the Brazil team there is always pressure for a World Cup, that will not change. For the foreigners and the press they may think we are not the favourites, but in Brazil we know the qualities we have in the team. We were fortunate because we didn’t have to play strong teams until the quarter-finals. Turkey played well, but in the semi-finals last time we had Holland. Brazil are rising according to the moment and that’s why we are confident going into the final. I felt from the first two minutes of Brazil’s first game that they were in the tournament. The concentration, the speed, the attitude was different. And the same mentality will be in the final as well because we lost the last one. We cannot lose two finals in succession.
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