Q & A: Mexico coach Javier Aguirre
Posted: Tuesday April 23, 2002 5:38 PM
do you think of the draw?
In the World Cup you can win or lose against anybody. We have a
good chance of beating Croatia and Ecuador, and we could even win
against Italy. In 1994 nobody gave us a chance, and yet we played
against them as equals, finishing first in our group. My target
is to try to reach the semi-finals. To do it we need the right winning
attitude. I have tried to select players with that attitude.
will win the World Cup?
England have one of the best teams ever and the influence of Eriksson
will make a difference with players who are highly competitive and
without peer, mentally and physically. France must be favorites
to reach the Final. They are a compact team, very disciplined and
consistent winners. And, of course, Argentina, who instead of having
a typical Argentinian coach now have a tactical disciplinarian.
Ninety per cent of their players are now used to the hard work and
discipline of playing in Europe.
there be any tactical innovations at this tournament?
I see no major changes as compared to France. The globalization
of soccer has meant that the style of play in the major leagues
of the world is now practiced by most of the national teams. Even
the Asians and Africans have European coaches.
would you suggest to the referees?
They have to be very flexible in the interpretation of the rules.
I don't know if it is feasible but perhaps FIFA would consider the
possibility of assigning referees of certain regions of the world
to matches of teams from the same region. This is especially important
in the first round, where a suspension can affect the whole strategy
of a team.
you worried about security?
Not really. But maybe certain countries -- the USA, for instance
-- should be more concerned than others.
you happy with your build-up for the tournament?
At first I was worried that I would only have six weeks, but now
that I know most European teams will have only one month I consider
it true that you will not be practicing penalties?
Some sections of the media have criticized my players for having
missed in shoot-outs in the past. But I believe that no matter how
much we practice, it is impossible to recreate the pressure and
environment of a real match in a training session. The media have
forgotten that anybody can miss penalties. Look at Italy; they lost
important shoot-outs at the last three World Cups.
you worried some key players might be missing?
One of my real concerns is whether Garcia Aspe will be able to cope
with the demands of a World Cup. Another is that Blanco is not playing
regularly with Valladolid. He is impatient and sometimes makes rash
decisions. But Palencia is having a great season with Espanyol.
The absence (both injured) of Arellano and Johan Rodriguez may force
a reshuffle in midfield around Garcia Aspe. Jesus Mendoza, Ramon
Morales and two recent additions -- Rafael Garcia and Gabriel Caballero
-- are all excellent youngsters. Besides, Jose Antonio Noriega could
be a good replacement for Garcia Aspe if needed. I have no problems
in defense with Marquez and Suarez, supported by the versatile Mercado
and the dependable Vidrio. My big question mark is attack.
created quite a sensation by calling up Gabriel Caballero.
Just media sensationalism really. He was born in Argentina but has
been playing for years in Mexico and he is now a Mexican citizen.
This is not the first time Mexico has fielded naturalized foreign
players: in the 1930s we had the Peruvian Lores and the Spaniard
Lopez Herranz. Caballero has been outstanding with Pachuca, and
I am confident both he and the younger players will shine at the
From World Soccer magazine.