The draw for Group C of the FIFA Women’s World Cup Germany 2011™ will have evoked mixed emotions for Pia Sundhage, USA’s Swedish coach, as she now looks forward to taking on the country of her birth, led by her friend Thomas Dennerby. As for Korea DPR and Colombia, they are both intent on proving that they will not be travelling to Germany to make up the numbers. Here are the reactions of the coaches of teams drawn in Group C:
Ricardo Rozo, Colombia coach
It’s a tricky group, containing some of the best teams in world football. If we really want to qualify for the next round, we’ll have to arrive in Germany fully prepared. USA and Sweden are global footballing powerhouses, while Korea DPR have already demonstrated their potential at youth level. They’ve since matured, and will be tough opponents to overcome. Regarding our chances, although it’s our first World Cup, we’re an ambitious team. Make no mistake, our goal is to win the tournament. But we first need to get through the group.
Thomas Dennerby, Sweden coach
This is the third time in a row that we’ve been drawn in the same group as the Americans – we’re starting to get to know each other well! In addition, their coach is Swedish, and is also a good friend of mine. But as far as the World Cup is concerned, friendships sometimes have to be put on hold for 90 minutes. Korea DPR are a strong team too, with experience of top-level events such as this one. The same can’t be said of Colombia, given that this will be their first World Cup appearance. I’m not saying that they will pose less of a threat, but they do appear to be the group’s weakest team on paper. As we currently occupy fourth place in the world rankings, we’ll be aiming to reach the semi-finals at least.
Kim Kwang-Min, Korea DPR coach
For us, draws like these can all seem quite similar. But what has changed is that now other teams are not quite as happy as before when they see our name placed in their group. That proves that we are respected, maybe even feared, and that we can mix it with the best, which we’ll have to do against Sweden and USA. Colombia were the surprise team during the South American Women’s Championship, so we’ll need to be very wary of them, especially as their players are fast and technically sound. As regards the tournament itself, I believe Germany represents the ideal host nation, as their organisational skills are second to none, as is their passion for football.
Pia Sundhage, USA coach
When all is said and done, this is familiar territory for me. I’ll be taking on my country, in a country that I know well. All of our future opponents are giants of the women’s game, so getting information on them is not going to be difficult. I haven’t given my players any targets other than to keep winning each match. But I’ve also told them that they’re the best team, and that the best team should always come out on top.