WORLD CUP | Garcia shares his thoughts on the tournament so far

sun 01 jul at 06:02
Adam Geigerman
Photos ©
While Les Olympiens' Boss, Rudi Garcia, is a consultant for the TF1 channel during this 2018 World Cup, we caught up with him to discuss the tournament so far.
You seem to be having fun analyzing this World Cup. How are you liking it?

Yes, I do not regret delaying my vacation time to comment on the World Cup. It is my passion, of course, to see football of the highest level and the World Cup is my chance. I am enjoying it, watching the games. For me, there is always a tactical and strategic interest. I work with Christian Jeanpierre, and he's been wonderful as well. We have a good team off the field and in the commentary box.

You seem very natural in your role ...

I worked Euro 2016 and it went well with Christian. I am not used to it everyday, so I do it by my feeling for the moment. But maybe I'm a little too talkative or I get in his way. He does not take offense. (Laughter). It is simple to me because I watch football and I talk about football as if it were between friends or with my staff.

So, to you, working the World Cup is an extension of your coaching?

Yes, it's interesting because I watch the games from a different perspective. Coaches are used to seeing from ground level. Commentary makes me take a step back. We are allowed a tactical vision that is excellent. It gives me ideas too. I had an idea about warm-ups at half-time. These are small details that can be helpful for me.

What do you think of VAR in the World Cup?

The video review process will change everything. It is already changing everything. Everyone will be much more behaved - the players and the coaches. We know that the central referee now has some help. Before, he judged on a half-second or instantaneous event, whereas the viewers have all slowed down footage. It was time for us all to catch up with the 21st century in football. Obvious errors can be corrected. As in Guingamp with Steve Mandanda when he was the victim of the triple penalty: penalty, red card, converted goal, and we had play with 10. This stuff will not happen with video reveiw.

Which teams have impressed you the most?

Croatia and Belgium. I think they are complete teams. Croatia seems even more complete. God knows, I love Belgium because they have Eden Hazard - who I know very well and there are other Belgian players that I like very much. I had the chance to comment on the Croatia-Argentina match. I think the Croatians have everything to go very far. They put Argentina away, 3-0. But it will also depend on who they must play in the quarter-finals and beyond. But I can see the Croatians or the Belgians - one or the other, not both - going to the final.

Hiroki Sakai had the most playing time among our Olympiens. What do you think of his World Cup?

Hiroki is in top form, he is super reliable and very good technically - especially in the offensive third. He is Hiroki. I find it very exciting that he is developing his game on the right side. He has not assisted on a goal or scored yet, but he has played very well since the start of the World Cup, and he is still as solid defensively as he is at Olympique de Marseille.

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