Nearly two months have gone by since Germany claimed their fourth world title at the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™, time enough for the experts to digest the events of those memorable four weeks and assess what they saw on the field of play.
It was with that very objective that FIFA invited coaches and directors of football from the member associations of the CONCACAF and CONMEBOL zones to Panama for a two-day conference, held on 11 and 12 September. FIFA.com was there too, and over the next few days we will be sharing with you the exclusive chats that we had with some of the conference’s many luminaries.
Among them was Mexico coach Miguel Herrera, who spoke of his passion for football, his eyecatching goal celebrations and his reactions when he sees them repeated on TV afterwards. "We were the only team in the World Cup that had the Netherlands 75 minutes on their own area, they were more worried about defending than going forward to attack," Herrera said. He also told us which goal got him going the most at Brazil 2014 and discussed the spectacular World Cup enjoyed by Tri goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa and his side’s Round-of-16 exit at the hands of the Netherlands.
Another star of the recent world finals was Costa Rica coach Jorge Luis Pinto, who revealed just how much work he put into studying each of his team’s opponents. "I always wanted to give my players optimism and desire from the beginning to the end, and that was very useful for us in Brazil," Pinto said.
As well as praising his midfield for cancelling out the threat posed by Italian wizard Andrea Pirlo in the group phase, Pinto spoke of his reaction to Michael Umana’s winning penalty against Greece in the Round of 16 and the reasons why he believes Keylor Navas has the edge over Iker Casillas at Real Madrid. We also asked him if he was surprised by Louis van Gaal’s last-minute introduction of giant goalkeeper Tim Krul in the quarter-final showdown with the Dutch. The answer to that question will soon be revealed.
Absent from Brazil 2014, Peru have embarked on a new era with Uruguayan coach Pablo Bengoechea, who has taken on the job after a spell as assistant to Sergio Markarian. Sharing his vision of the game with us, Bengoechea revealed the style of football he wants his team to play and discussed his sense of anticipation at taking on this new challenge and the prospect of facing the country of his birth.
Last but by no means least, the great Francisco Maturana reflected on Colombia’s performance, pondering the reasons for their defeat to Brazil and the impact of Radamel Falcao’s absence. As well as assessing the team’s stand-out performers and the work of coach Jose Nestor Pekerman, Pacho gave his views on James Rodriguez’s arrival at Real Madrid and whether the time was right for the young midfielder to move to Spain.
Find out what the wise men of Latin American football had to say at the Panama conference by checking out FIFA.com in the coming days. You will not be disappointed!