Player, captain, coach and administrator whatever Franz Beckenbauer has touched in football has turned to gold. Forty years ago he won the World Cup as West Germany captain.
In 1990, without any kind of coaching badge, he guided Germany to the World Cup title as coach. And he has played a big part in transforming Bayern Munich into a top team.
Beckenbauer, 68, is tipping Brazil to win this World Cup. And he sees Germany doing well. Excerpts.
Tell us your thoughts about the group that has Germany, USA, Ghana and Portugal.
It is neither especially strong nor weak. Most groups look rather balanced with an exception: the group that has Italy, England and Uruguay (and Costa Rica). The US team has been developing constantly, have good players but are not strong enough to threaten Germany. In the same role, I see Ghana. And Portugal, I think, depends too much on Cristiano Ronaldo. Germany will take this group.
What of the Europeans in yet another World Cup in South America – a continent where they have never won…
But in life there is a first time for everything! I fancy the Spaniards to be the best among Europeans teams. With Brazil one says, they are too young. One will see whether the experience of the Spaniards or the youthful spirit of the Brazilians asserts itself. But for me, Brazil are top favourites, more than Spain. The expectations in Brazil are incredibly high. Everybody believes they will get the cup. Whether they can deliver under such enormous pressure, I will have to see. I also believe in Germany and Italy but not England. And not just Brazil, I think South American teams will have a very good World Cup.
What of the African teams in the World Cup?
No African team has reached the semi-final. Despite all top African footballers playing in Europe and learning that football is a team sport, their kind of play (in the national team) is mostly individualistic. This is their biggest and age-old problem.
Are we likely to see a candidature of Franz Beckenbauer for Fifa presidency?
In football, I have had all positions. I was in the Fifa executive. I know that many people say Pele or I would be an ideal Fifa president. But when I look into the eyes of my family, the children, the decision is a clear no. Everyone wants to go to Fifa but I went the other way.
About the 2022 World Cup in Qatar – winter or summer?
In summer you can’t play there. You must cool up the stadia which will cost millions of dollars. This is not necessary. They shall make a schedule in winter, because in winter the temperature is normal and then it is possible to play. So, I think, this World Cup can only take place in winter.aipsmedia.com