Q & A with Argentina's Marcelo Bielsa
Posted: Tuesday April 23, 2002 12:49 PM
do you think of the draw?
happy we will have matches that are worth playing. One dreams all
one's life of playing in the World Cup, and when it happens, it
is better to do it against great teams. We play better against strong
teams rather than weaker ones, who go out to defend more.
are you happy that Argentina are in such a strong group?
No team can be champions without demonstrating that they are better
than the rest. If Argentina are considered favorites, I think it
is a good idea that they have to demonstrate it right from the start.
Everybody who follows soccer, professional players -- some good and
others bad (as in my case) -- amateurs and fans celebrate a match
against a team such as England in a World Cup as something of a
classic, and it is a joy to play in it. The more spectators in the
stadium, the better; the stronger the rival, the better; the more
there is to play for, the better. I enjoy that.
did you not go to Busan for the draw?
I didn't see the point because I had no function there. One cannot
participate, intervene, help or anything. The only difference would
have been that instead of seeing it on TV in my home, I would have
seen it live. But why travel halfway around the world and back for
do you think of Argentina's group rivals?
Nigeria are a team with great players, but perhaps they depend too
much on a player being able to dribble past three rivals to create
danger. With England, their individual play is also more important.
They have players like Owen, Beckham and Gerrard who give the game
brilliance and elaboration. Sweden are a very direct team, less
patient in their build-up, and with speed and surprise in attack.
good are Argentina?
Our players have reached a high standard, which comes from playing
regularly in strong leagues, and they are close to their top level.
But we have to play better in the World Cup, otherwise there is
no guarantee of success. A distinction of our team is that they
still possess an amateur spirit, even though they are highly-paid
professionals -- it is the same spirit that drew us to the game as
are your key players?
I have never underestimated Juan Veron's importance to the team,
but I also know that there are players who can replace him without
deteriorating the collective function of the team, perhaps in different
don't you play leading goalscorers Gabriel Batistuta and Hernan
I haven't ruled it out, but it is difficult to find a satisfactory
end to the controversy. This team plays with three men up and a
midfielder breaking just behind them so there is no room for two
penalty-area players. The whole system would have to be changed.
Why change a successful system?
you stay on as national team coach after the World Cup?
This does not depend on me exclusively. There is also the kind of
offer the Argentinian FA make me, and our results. How can I talk
about the future if it is all tied up with results, especially in
Argentina? I know the rules of my profession and adapt. But in any
case, I haven't made up my mind yet.
will win the World Cup?
If it is not to be Argentina then I cannot look beyond France. They
are recognised as the No1 team in the world and that is justified
by their results.
you rather go down in history as a 2002 World Cup winner or for
your team's excellent play?
In a country where the most important thing is the result, I have
to follow the norm. If I feel the same way, that does not matter.
However, I believe there is no better way to gain success than by
choosing to play good football.