Olympic Football Tournaments Athens 2004 - Men

Olympic Football Tournaments Athens 2004 - Men

11 August - 28 August 2004

Olympic Football Tournaments 2004 - Men

Jara: "We did our job as best we could"

Speaking at the press conference given after the final of the Men's Olympic Football Tournament in Athens, a relaxed Carlos Jara appeared satisfied with his team's achievements. Despite the obvious disappointment of missing out on the gold, the Paraguay coach said he was proud of what his players had done in winning the first ever medal in his country's history. The coach was good humoured and talkative as he comfortably fielded questions on the tournament and the final.

On the attitude of his team in the final:"The idea was to go in search of the win from the start. We tried that, but we ran up against a great team, so we just had to fight as best we could. After having played so many games in such a short space of time, tiredness set in and slowed the players. We battled hard and went in search of the equaliser, but unfortunately it never came."

On the performance of the Greek referee Kyros Vassaras in the final:
 "Although his performance did not directly affect the result, it certainly affected the morale of my players. He booked too many guys and I think Diego Figueredo's sending-off was a bit harsh. His handball was not intentional." 

* His assessment of his team's overall performance in the tournament:*
"In football you can have endless points of view, but only one truth. And that is that we achieved a great result here given that we didn't have the best of preparations. This team has capable individuals and we knew that we had players who would battle for everything. Probably the best thing to come out of this is our team spirit and the solidarity we had. In purely footballing terms, we played a lot of good games."

On winning the first medal in Paraguay's history:
"It's a real dream come true. Although we couldn't manage the gold, I'm really thrilled. You have to keep in mind that Argentina are a great team, and all credit to them. We'll be leaving with our heads held high and a smile on our faces because we did our job as best we could."

On how much his team missed José Cardozo in the final:
 "We missed him, that's for sure, as he's a very important player. He arrived here just two days before the tournament started, yet he slotted in straightaway. His inclusion certainly paid dividends as he scored five goals in as many games. He brought a lot to the side but unfortunately he picked up a knee injury. We gave him a late fitness check to see if he could play but he didn't make it. We're hoping he'll soon be fit again as we have a World Cup qualifier in a matter of days."

On the importance of a medal after the tragedy in Asunción:
"It is a small crumb of comfort, although we know that for many it will be no consolation. What happened cannot be undone and we all feel terrible about it. If our success here brings some relief or helps in any way, then we'll be happy. The tragedy was always in the back of our minds. We're thinking of all the families who lost loved ones. God willing, they will find some peace."

On the mid-morning kick off:"It was something very unusual for us. We had to change our eating and sleeping habits as well as our pre-match preparations. We had the team talk last night to save a little time this morning. We tried to get things going out there, but the heat was a big factor and affected us. Maybe with a later kick-off you would have seen a more open game from both sides. But that was the stipulated hour and we had to deal with it as best we could."

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