Group D: Coaches' reactions of the draw

Ricardo Lavolpe (MEX coach)
I don’t think we’re in a ‘group of death’ or anything like that. Bearing in mind what could have happened, our group is not that bad. We’ll take it step by step and try to pick up as many points as we can. We’ll have to work hard, get the squad in the right frame of mind and make sure they ignore what the media says about our opponents. You have to be very careful. There’s always a dark horse that comes through and it could be our turn to face them. Nobody gave Turkey much hope in 2002, let alone Greece in EURO 2004 and they went on to win it. I’m going to get the players together for two whole months, and we’ll be speaking non-stop to the players to get them right mentally. The squad’s coming along nicely and I’ve already got 90 per cent of the starting line-up sorted out. They know me and they’re very motivated, but they can’t afford to be complacent.

Branko Ivankovic (IRN coach)
Before the draw, I didn’t have a particular choice of who we would play as no sides are easy. Beyond question, Mexico and Portugal are the favoured teams in Group D. Mexico impressed me in this year’s FIFA Confederations Cup and Portugal reached the final of EURO 2004 as hosts, so I think these two teams could be among the top four to win the whole tournament. Angola will also pose a big threat because African teams always produce talented, skilful players. Despite battling against such strong opposition, we are not afraid at all. Iran have proved we have a strong team capable of big upsets and making miracles. We will have the whole Iranian nation behind us so the team will fight hard. Speaking realistically, we have six months to prepare, working to build up our team. Mexico and Portugal have well-known players and we are familiar with their strategies, but as for Angola, to be honest, I know little about them, but I have still enough time to learn. Generally I am rather optimistic that our team will be able to show something to the watching world.

Luis de Oliveira Goncalves (ANG coach)
We are in a group, which could be more difficult. Let’s say that we are in a balanced group. We have to play Portugal and will do our best to win against them. So we will prepare as we originally planned. Our preparation will be normal. Tactics will obviously change based on the opposition. We will play against Portugal one way, Mexico another and obviously with Iran another way.

Luiz Felipe Scolari (POR coach)
We have a difficult draw. Mexico are one of the top teams according to the FIFA Ranking – and I know just how good they are. Iran are also a force to be reckoned with in Asia; that was proved in qualification. Our relationship with Angola will be well-documented, we have a great relationship with them. But we most focus on ourselves. If the players want to win the World Cup, they have to score goals, they have to work, they have to run, they have to give everything.