I would like to thank Marco Mader, journalist and editor at the Munchen branch
of Sport-Informations-Dienst, and Philipp Selldorf, of SÃ¼ddeutsche Zeitung, the biggest selling daily broadsheet in Germany, for their time.
ISP: Has Germany surprised you with its performances?
MM: Not so far. I excpected the team to reach the last 8 – but to go out at that stage.
The performances? Well, the defence in the first match vs. Costa Rica was very poor – as expected.
But what they did in the next matches – the way they wanted to win, the way they played forward and the way they kept their
own goal clear – was surprising, yes.
PS: Germany has surprised me a lot. They are much better than I had thought.
ISP: What did you think of the Iran team?
MM: I expected much more of them. They were pretty good in the 1st half against Mexico – but then? Nothing more, sorry!
PS: On Iran, as I told you before, they were in a difficult group, but it was possible to make
progress into the second round.
ISP: What do you think cost Iran a place in the 2nd round?
MM: Their lack of fitness and the tactics of the coach – especially in the first two matches.
PS: They didn’t score enough goals from the chances they created. Hashemian
is no longer a great scorer it seems.
ISP: Which Iran players caught your eye at the WC and you can see them playing in Europe?
MM: Mirzapour had some good saves – but I knew him as a good keeper. Some of the youngsters were pretty good,
but the only name I really remember is Nekounam. Oh, and Rezaei – but he made a terrible mistake against Mexico.
PS: To be honest, I did not see enough to give a qualified answer.
ISP: Which Iran players disappointed you?
MM: First of all: Ali Daei. A shadow of the Ali Daei we knew in the past. Then: Ali Karimi.
He may not have been on 100 percent, but he didn’t seem to enjoy himself, also.
Problems with the coach? Well, it’s a World Cup. You have to put things like that aside.
PS: Again, I don’t feel like I saw enough to give you a fair answer.
ISP: Do you think Ali Daei should have been playing?
MM: Yes. He was the best scorer in the qualification tournament, so he should still be on fire.
But I don’t know the younger strikers playing in Iran that well to say whether they should have played instead of him.
PS: Yet again, the same as the previous two questions.
ISP: Who has been the star of the World Cup till now for you?
MM: Philipp Lahm and Miroslav Klose. From the other countries? Juan Roman Riquelme, Maxi Rodriguez and Javier Mascherano.
Fernando Torres did well, too. But the biggest surprise was Figo – I thought he was already dead and buried.
PS: Some of the biggest stars have been Marquez (Mexico) who was great, Maxi Rodriguez
(Argentina), Riquelme (Argentina), Kaka (Brazil), Essien (Ghana), Miguel (Portugal),
Deco (Portugal), van Persie (Netherlands) as well as Lahm and Klose from Germany.
ISP: If Michael Ballack Was benched but refused to come on as a substitute for Germany, what would the reaction be in Germany?
MM: He will not be used as a sub, because he’s our best middlefielder. But IF – the papers would slaughter him.
PS: Ballack as a substitute player? Incredible! That would mean a riot in
the media. But it already happened when Klinsmann left Ballack out for the
opening match – but nobody realized what kind of confrontation it really had been!
ISP: Who will be in the final of the World Cup?
MM: I hope Germany, of course. But realistically: Argentina and Brasil.
PS: The Final will be: Portugal and Argentina. Or maybe Portugal and