?We are itching to get going?
It seemed that this day was never going to arrive, but here we're on the eve of our first encounter, writes Ronaldo.Updated: Jun 13, 2006 03:26 IST
It seemed that this day was never going to arrive, but here we're on the eve of our first encounter in the World Cup.
We've had three weeks of preparation for this match and such extended sessions of practice become very long if you don't have the opportunity to play in between. We've played two friendly games, but in the head of any soccer player it's the opening game that really matters. Having said that, we did gain a lot from the two practice games ahead of our encounter with Croatia.
Speaking on behalf of the entire Brazilian team, I can honestly say we're itching to get going. The feeling isn't very different among our friends in the support staff, the huge media contingent and the even larger ocean of fans who've followed us to Germany.
The wait has been long and arduous, and all the planning, the teamwork, the arguments and the experiments are for this moment. One thing we cannot complain about is the affection we've got from our hosts who've welcomed us as though we were their own team. We're grateful for their hospitality and hopefully we'll provide them with a game worth watching.
One of the best things about getting into the thick of action is that the focus will be on the soccer once again. We've been under the scanner, and everything about us has been discussed -- save the game itself. I went for a press conference yesterday, where out of 20 questions thrown at me, only one was to do with soccer. All the other queries were personal in nature and some even were pertaining to my fiancée.
Naturally, a lot of newsprint has been devoted to the Brazilian president’s comments on my appearance. The media are still discussing the issue, but it’s a closed matter for me and the president. All of Brazil has to be united and focused if we’re to retain the World Cup, and I’m confident that we’re on the same side and are both looking ahead at a successful campaign from the national team.
Coming back to the games so far, I’ve not had much of a chance to watch them. We've been completely focused on the tournament. The first game of a World Cup is a very difficult game to play. You really don’t know to what extent you've prepared yourself. True, the warm-up games help, but the tension and stress we’ll now confront can never be recreated in a practice game.
I only request some patience from supporters because the tendency in a long tournament like the World Cup is to improve slowly with every passing game.
Already some interesting trends have emerged. For example, Germany was able to score four goals in its first game, which is not so easy. England dominated much of its match versus Paraguay, but it couldn't convert that control into a big winning margin. The game between Sweden and Trinidad and Tobago was interesting and goes to prove that a lesser-known side can spring a surprise at any time.
I had warned earlier that nobody should consider themselves completely safe, and I believe we’ll do well in following the conviction that we're favourites only if we demonstrate it while playing.
With respect to our team, I can confirm that we’re very well prepared in all the aspects. In the technical section, we’ve worked to play like a unit, without fissures, the level is physically high, and at an emotional level we're focused.
We've studied our first opponents Croatia, we’ve worked out and we're trying to ensure that we're ready for any challenge that they might throw at us. Surely, Tuesday night will see some good soccer and I hope that like in the last World Cup, our opening game will result in a victory.
First Published: Jun 13, 2006 03:26 IST