I came to this press conference out of respect for the media, but to be honest I feel like crawling into a hole. It’s a crushing disappointment, because we came to Nigeria with the intention of going all the way. We definitely weren’t expecting to be going home so soon.

We ended up doing everything that we knew we should avoid on the pitch. We had a bad game, but I’ve still got great confidence in the boys and I know we’ll be back again soon. I’d like to thank everyone in Nigeria for their great hospitality over the past few weeks.
Jose Luis Brown, Argentina coach

We have to thank God for this victory, as in the second half we played inspired football. Argentina played really well and created problems for us, even if a few of our players looked a little nervous in the first half. But we discussed it at half-time and they came out after the break with a completely different attitude. Let’s hope we can keep progressing and get to the final, but for now we just want to enjoy our win, which we dedicate to everyone in Colombia.
Ramiro Viafara, Colombia coach

We didn’t play well in first half, but in the second half we controlled the match. When you are playing with ten men it is very different. I am very satisfied with the players efforts. It was a difficult game but in the end we are pleased to qualify.
Abudullah Ercan, Turkey coach

I firstly want to thank all the supporters in Enugu. Just two mistakes resulted in two goals and it cost us the game. Our players don’t have the experience but that is football.
Alarfi Salim, United Arab Emirates assistant coach

It was a spectacular game that had a little bit of everything and kept the fans entertained. It was a nightmare for us coaches, though. There was so much tension out there and it’s definitely not the kind of game I’d advise people with a heart condition to watch. I’d like to congratulate my team, who were simply fantastic in every respect.

I’d like to pay tribute in particular to their mental strength. They overcame every obstacle they faced in this game and managed to score a third goal when we were a man down. This is a victory for Swiss football as a whole but we haven’t achieved anything yet. We deserved the win because we were the better side and now we go on and face Italy, who we beat at the European Championship but who still remain a great footballing nation.
Dany Ryser, Switzerland coach

First of all I’d like to offer my congratulations to Switzerland. We saw two great teams take part in an epic battle that was in the balance right up until the end of extra-time. The heat has been a big handicap for us throughout the tournament but that’s no excuse for today’s defeat.

We came up short in defence, where we looked nervous, and we gave the Swiss too much space. We couldn’t make the most of our one-man advantage either. Even so, I have to say my side keep battling away and we had two chances to equalise right at the end. Unfortunately, luck was not on our side.
Marco Pezzaiuoli, Germany coach

The USA are a decent side, particularly in midfield and attack. They have some good tactical players, but after the penalty save we were able to match them. We were lucky not to concede an equaliser towards the end, but overall I think we did well and we should have led by a greater margin at half time.

Part of me is hoping that we draw Germany in the next round so that we can exact some revenge for the European Championship semi-final defeat over the summer. We’re enjoying it here and we don’t want to go home just yet. We want to be in it to the end.
Pasquale Salerno, Italy coach

Congratulations to Italy for the win, they deserved it. They took their chances in front of goal and we didn’t. That’s been a major problem for us throughout this tournament. Still, I’m very proud of my squad. In every match we’ve managed to keep the ball on the deck and we showed good character on several occasions.

The only difference between teams like us and Italy is their finishing ability. You have to hit the target in games like this and we certainly had more than enough chances – I had five strikers on the pitch at the end! Overall I think that we have a good youth development system back home, but we need to play more competitive matches to help us focus on the big stage.
Wilmer Cabrera, USA coach

I’d like to dedicate this victory to my granddaughter Maria, who is six tomorrow, and to my friend Alex, Barcelona’s ex-coach. It was a really tough game against a strong Burkina Faso side who gave us a real test in the first half. Our second-half performance was practically perfect though. The boys played extremely well and we created clear-cut chances every time we went forward.
Gines Melendez, Spain coach

Spain were a class apart today. They are a very good side that improved as the game went on. My players have given their all in these four games and I am very proud of them.
Rainer Willfeld, Burkina Faso coach

It was a tough game for us tonight, but we ground it out as best we could and in the end I am so happy with the result. We fought for every ball and battled the whole game long. Iran was a very tough side but we wasted too many chances and allowed them to stay in the game for too long. Hopefully in the next game we can do better at scoring goals, but I think tonight we were the better team. We have been preparing for penalty kicks for months and months now, but I am happy we didn’t need them. Maybe against Spain we will need them.
Roland Marcenaro, Uruguay coach

A world cup is the top level of football, and all of the teams here are very strong. These are the best teams in the world. Today we met a team that was better than we were. We gave them a good game and tried our best, but we couldn’t take our chances tonight and that was a big problem. My players are young, and they can’t do all of the things that you tell them to do. Tonight we paid for that. Overall, we showed our technique in our time here at the finals. We showed the world that we can play in Iran.
Ali Doustimehr, Iran coach

It’s cruel to lose in that manner, but we can’t blame ourselves. The boys gave their all and can leave with a sense of accomplishment. I’d like to congratulate Korea Republic for hanging in till the end and wish them good luck as they continue on. I don’t regret taking off our forward Guillermo Madrigal, as even though we lost our aerial superiority, we were still in control of the match. We’re sad to leave the tournament so soon, but we’d like to thank the Nigerians for their great welcome, their kindness and their hospitality.
Jose Luis Gonzalez, Mexico coach

It was a tight match that we could have lost well before extra time. We never gave up, and that stood to us at the end. When you’re a goal down, and you’re hitting the crossbar and missing chances, it can feel like it’s just not your day. But I told my players to forget all that and to believe in themselves. Once again, we got great support from the Nigerian fans, for which I’d like to thank them. Now we’re waiting to see who we’ll face in the quarter_finals. If it’s Nigeria, it would be a great honour. As host country and title holders, they’ll naturally start as favourites, but we can’t let that faze us.
Kwang Jong Lee, Korea Republic coach

I had confidence in my team from the start of the competition, despite the problems we had. Everything depended on how well my players were able to concentrate. This evening, they showed what they can do, and even enjoyed themselves, but in a positive way. The start of the match was not as easy as it seemed, and I feel slightly sorry for New Zealand that we put five past them. Bringing on Sani Emmanuel is a tactic which works well, there’s no reason to change it.
John Obuh, Nigeria coach

We’ve lost against a world-class team – they would have beaten any opposition this evening. It’s hard enough with 11 players, but when we went down to 10 it really was mission impossible. We were a little unlucky with the first two goals, as they came from loose balls, although it must be said that they were quickest to them. We simply couldn’t cope with their speed, technique and sharpness.

They made full use of the pitch, used all the space and kept possession throughout. They were just too strong for us. Our plan was to hold them for at least the first half hour so that doubts would start to creep in, but after they’d scored two such early goals, it was an uphill struggle. But I’m proud of my players, and I’m convinced that they’ll emerge from this tournament as better players and better people.
Stephen Cain, New Zealand coach

We got off to a bad start, while they played very well. They’re quicker and more powerful than us, so we had to rely on other qualities, in particular our mental strength. I never ask my players to wait till they’re a goal down before playing to their ability, and scoring the equalising goal is not something that the coach can control. On the other hand, getting them to keep a level head and maintain their belief until the final whistle is something I can have a hand in, which is what I do.
Ramiro Viafara, Colombia coach

We started well and dominated the first half. We deserved our half-time lead. But in the second half, although we told the players to keep attacking, they subconsciously began to pull back. Colombia took advantage and never gave up hope. They scored from a small mistake by our goalkeeper, the only error he made in the match. I would like to congratulate them and wish them good luck for the rest of the tournament.
Metin Cekicler, Turkey assistant coach

We’re delighted to have qualified for the semi-finals of a World Cup – it’s not something that happens every day. We’ve beaten Italy, who are a great team, and to be honest I think we were slightly fortunate, especially in the first half, when they looked the better side. The key to winning was mental toughness, these boys have incredible determination. They can achieve anything.
Dany Ryser, Switzerland coach

I think we had an excellent first half, in which we could even have wrapped the game up. We kept our shape despite falling behind and we had chances, but the missed penalty really dampened our spirits. In the end, the Swiss deserved their win. I’m still satisfied with this World Cup, as the boys played well in all their matches and we were beaten by a team coached by my friend Dany Ryser.
Pasquale Salerno, Italy coach


Comments expressed here do not reflect the opinions of vanguard newspapers or any employee thereof.