In his press conference two days before the important World Cup qualifier away at Iceland, national coach Horst Hrubesch spoke about pressure and tactics for Saturday’s clash.
…the preparations in Grassau: it’s about putting things in previous games behind us and addressing our playing style and standards. We will travel to Iceland to definitely take the game into our own hands. All in all I am very satisfied. The weather conditions have helped us; we enjoyed training in the sun over the first two days. Now we have what we will likely expect in Iceland: rain, wind and cooler temperatures.
…the particular pressures on the match: If I had felt anxiety in certain situations, I would’ve most likely stopped coaching 30 or 40 years ago. Anxiety in football doesn’t make any sense. The beauty with this team is they know the exact qualities they possess. On one hand, they know the first game didn’t turn out the way they wanted it to and that they made mistakes. On the other hand, the team also created many chances that we didn’t take on the day, which we have spoken about and analysed. I am sure we won’t allow the same to happen in Iceland and that we will win the match.
…the successes of the tiny football nation Iceland: Over the course of the year I have experienced many games where the so-called tiny nations have defied the odds. However this match is about us, not Iceland. We know what lies ahead of us but also how well we are able to play. I think the way in which the girls train and the manner in which they work together is fantastic. You can already see how the excitement is building in the squad. There haven’t been any league matches but the enthusiasm is there. I think we are making good progress. There cannot be any expectations of an easy win for us though. It is about winning the match and that is what we will do.
…his approach to the game: it is important to give the team a lift and involve them. That is what we have done. The girls have committed themselves to everything. They know what they want and how to achieve it. We see that in every training session and how they’re treating our situation.
…squad news: it’s difficult for us to completely replace key players. However, I also think the team is giving 100%. We have a broad squad to choose from and this allows us to include a few young players. We can deal with the situation in numerous ways and are set up to bring every player back up to 100%.
…the sold-out crowd: We are prepared for this scenario. There is nothing better for a footballer than playing in a full stadium and you know that you just give everything to win the match. We are all hoping for exactly that. I have already seen a sold out stadium with the girls in Canada and there we were put under pressure but came back against the third highest ranked team in the world. We were not fazed and didn’t stop trying to get back in the game. That is a compliment to the team for the experience and also for the younger players who approached this situation so well. We went on to deservedly win.
…the tactics for the Iceland game: We will take the game into our own hands from the beginning. We know what is expected of us and that the weather conditions, such as the wind, will play a role in the match. Yet we will deal with that as it happens. We know that Iceland tend to play long balls and battle for the second ball as they are physically strong. It isn’t, however, a team that can outplay us and I don’t believe that Iceland will be able to play their game against us for 90 minutes. It will therefore depend on us making our presence felt right from the beginning. What the Icelanders can do, we can also do. We showed that in Canada.