2006 FIFA World Cup Germany™

2006 FIFA World Cup Germany™

9 June - 9 July

2006 FIFA World Cup™

Steve Nash : 'I can't wait another four years'

Steve Nash, basketball star player
© AFP

Steve Nash, basketball player

Many of you will have know that Steve Nash is widely considered the best point guard in basketball, and that this year he became the first player in his position since Magic Johnson to win back-to-back MVP awards.

What you might not know is that the Johannesburg-born 32-year-old is a devoted football fan, having inherited a love of Tottenham Hostspur from his English father. Nash, in fact, trained with the London club as a youngster and, though it is in another sport that he has since made his name, the Phoenix Suns' star player retains a genuine passion for the beautiful game, a passion clearly evident when he spoke to FIFAworldcup.com after Italy's thrilling semi-final win over Germany.

So, what did you think of the game?

Fantastic. Amazing. We had a fantastic time, especially during extra-time. It was great end-to-end action.

Who impressed you most?

I thought that the Italians defenders were terrific, (Gennaro) Gattuso included. They ran so much and I must say that I was very impressed. Alessandro Del Piero is also a friend of mine and I was really happy for him that he came on and scored a goal. It was a great finish, and the first goal was fantastic, too. The way Grosso finished it was terrific, and Pirlo made such a beautiful pass to set it up. To make such a thoughtful pass in the last minute of extra time was very impressive. I was happy for Alex (Del Piero) because he has not played too much (for Juventus) in the Italian championship. We were very excited.

Are you a Juventus supporter?

Yeah, because of Alex, that's my team in Italy.

And what about the German team?

I actually was really impressed by them. On paper, in the transfer market, I don't think they would go for the same price tags as the Italians would. But for them to be so organised and to create as many chances as they did – not that Italy didn't create a ton of chances themselves – was very impressive. They were very intelligent and well-organised, and very strong.

But I supported Italy because I have a friend on the team.

You are very passionate about football, aren't you?

I play in the summer and I do love it. I can shout and get passionate about it, but I often get very nervous. It's difficult sometimes; I'd much rather be playing, but I love the game. First and foremost, I'm an England fan. My parents are both from London, and all my cousins and extended family live there. I grew up an England fan, in an English household in Canada. We support Tottenham Hotspur in our house. But then I'm a fan of football. I love to see good football, and I love to see people play at this wonderful level we see at the World Cup.

Which games have you most enjoyed during the tournament?

The way France played against Brazil. That game was the highlight of the tournament for me, because France played so well against the reigning champions. Ronaldinho's considered the best player in the world, but Zidane showed that, on his day, he's still the best. That, and Alex scoring yesterday, were the two best moments for me.

And from previous FIFA World Cups?

As a fan, I went to the last World Cup and saw England play Argentina. It was great to be there. There's a rivalry between England and Argentina, so to be there was fantastic.

In an upsetting way, I must have been about 12 years old, but I remember when Maradona scored two goals – one of them quite controversial – against England in Mexico, to knock England out. It was quite upsetting. That said, the second goal is still one of the best goals ever scored in the World Cup.

Have you been disappointed with England in this competition?

No, I can't say that. Obviously, in the first three or four games they didn't play up to their capabilities, but it's difficult for them, there's always a lot of pressure. They didn't quite have the chemistry right up until the Portugal game, but then they started to play much better. Then came the red card. I thought they deserved to win that game, but the way they fought and battled with only 10 men, I was extremely proud of them. It was an amazing performance considering they were down to 10 men. It was too bad they went out, because they were just starting to play the way they're capable of.

Who do you think is the player of the tournament?

Right now, I would say Zidane. He didn't necessarily play his best in the group stages, and I think France were struggling with their chemistry. But in the last two games, the ones that have counted the most, against Spain and Brazil, he has been outstanding and played at the highest level.

Who would you like to see in the final?

I'd like to see France and Italy again. That would obviously be a replay of the EURO 2000 final, which was a fantastic game.

Would you like to add anything?

I can't wait another four years for the next one!

Do you have an official website or a charity you'd like to promote?
www.stevenash.org/ It supports children, kids, youths – anything to do with kids, really. We've done a bunch of work in Central and South America, and some things in Canada.