Neid: The time will fly by

Reacting to the Official Draw for the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2011™, Germany coach Silvia Neid declared herself pleased with the outcome, but also warned of the potential dangers facing the reigning world champions from the wave of expectation sweeping the host nation. summarises reaction to the draw from the Group A head coaches.

Silvia Neid, Germany coach
"I’m satisfied, but there’s no way we can start thinking we’re already through to the quarter-finals, and there’s no way we’ll underestimate our opponents. We’re just pleased we know who we’re playing against at last. During the Christmas holiday, we’ll start thinking about how we’ll watch and analyse our opponents. I still have a lot to do in the next six months, and the time will fly by. We have to ensure we’re not thrown off course by the huge expectations in the country, because we put ourselves under enough pressure as it is. We’ve got to go out and enjoy ourselves. And if things go our way, especially when we attack, we’re hard to stop. Our initial target is clear enough: we want to come through the group stage. We’ll take it step by step. Our ultimate target is to retain the trophy. That would be tremendous, and we’ll do whatever it takes."

Bruno Bini, France coach
"Once we’d found out who our three group opponents were, my first thought was: ‘Not Germany again!' But we don’t play the Germans until the third match, so we have enough time before that to collect the points we need to make the knockout rounds. I could say we’re aiming for second place, but I’m well aware that Nigeria and Canada will be saying exactly the same thing. I’ve not seen those two teams yet, so I can’t say a lot about them. But I can say this: we have a very strong  team, and our group opponents won’t be looking forward to playing us."

Carolina Morace, Canada coach
"Obviously, playing the holders Germany in front of their home crowd in the opening match is a big ask. But the Germans might be a little nervous in the circumstances too. I see no reason why we shouldn’t take something from the opening match, provided we play well. But obviously, the Germans are favourites to win the group, although I have to say they didn’t exactly dominate us in our recent friendly. It's always hard against Nigeria and France, the Africans in particular are physically strong. What’s important for us is to prepare well, and spend as long as possible together as a group. Our domestic league isn’t that strong, so we have to try and close the gap to the better teams by working very hard indeed when we do come together."

Ngozi Eucharia Uche, Nigeria coach
"This is a really difficult group, but we’re looking forward to the challenge. I think all three of our opponents are equally hard to play, but we’ll prepare as well as we can and give it our best shot. Our juniors made it to the final of the U-20 World Cup in Germany a few months ago, so our goal is to see if we can cause as much of a sensation ourselves. I’m optimistic, because we have such talented youngsters. None of the teams is invincible, and all 16 could win the World Cup. That's football. It's not decided on paper, it’s settled out on the pitch!"