'Sometimes defence is more important than offense'
Bill Clinton, politician
Bill Clinton took his place in history as the 42nd President of the United States of America when he was voted into power in 1992 and was re-elected to the post four years later.
At 46 when first elected, he was the third-youngest President in US history and, though his stint in office was not without its difficulties, it spoke volumes that he left after over eight years in power with an approval rating of 65 per cent, one which compared favourably to every one of his predecessors over the previous 50 years.
Clinton, who had served five terms as the Governor of Arkansas prior to becoming President, championed a wide range of popular policies including making health care more widely available and improving race relations, while abroad he was a key figure in the Northern Irish peace process and attempts to find a solution to the ongoing Israeli-Palestine conflict.
Even in retirement, the 59-year-old remains among the most popular and well respected figures in world politics, and recently he has been working closely with FIFA on the 'Win in Africa - with Africa' campaign.
Tonight, in fact, Clinton was an interested spectator at Berlin's Olympiastadion as Italy won the 2006 FIFA World Cup on penalties following a 1-1 draw with France. During the half-time break he took time to speak exclusively to FIFAworldcup.com about Germany 2006, football in general and his hopes for South Africa 2010.
Mr Clinton, have you been following the FIFA World Cup?
I've watched a lot of the games, on television of course - this is the first one live. I think it's been an especially wonderful event for Germany. A German friend of mine was telling me yesterday that he and his wife had ordered all these flags, but that the German flag company that serviced them had run out of material. He said such a thing would have been unthinkable ten or 20 years ago. So, in that respect, I think it has been great for Germany and I think they have done a great job with it. I'm not one of those who believes the games have been uninteresting - I think the opposite, in fact. You have to play strategically when you are in an elimination situation; you can't make it as exciting all the time. You have to play with discipline, and sometimes defence is more important than offense.
That said, yesterday Germany won a great game by playing offensively. So, yeah, I'm excited and I have had a wonderful time. And I am looking forward to doing this project in Africa with FIFA (Win in Africa - with Africa') and I am very grateful to have the opportunity to work towards the next World Cup to help the children of Africa.
Tell us about your association with the FIFA World Cup.
When the United States hosted the World Cup in 1994, I had the opportunity to speak with the coach of the Brazilian soccer team (Carlos Alberto Parreira). He said an interesting thing: 'When we all came here, we wondered about this World Cup because we knew soccer was not your game. And yet we've had wonderful attendances. We've had an open door to all of our people coming from other countries to see your games. The American people have made this the best World Cup ever.'
In a way, I think every new World Cup can be the 'best World Cup ever' because the tournament has this potential to bring even more people together, with nations and cultures setting aside their differences in their shared appreciation of soccer.
Looking ahead now, I think you would have to say that the first-ever World Cup in Africa in 2010 provides a unique opportunity to focus the world's attention on the potential of Africa and the challenges faced by the African people. I'm certainly thrilled that my foundation ( The Clinton Foundation ) will be joining in this effort to translate the global appeal of soccer into tangible programs that will benefit the children of Africa.