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Roy Hodgson Q&A

Roy Hodgson
Hodgson was Switzerland manager at the World Cup finals in 1994

Fulham manager Roy Hodgson is part of the BBC Sport team in Cape Town for the 2010 World Cup.

The former Inter Milan boss has been in charge of 15 teams during his 34-year managerial career, including Switzerland and Finland at international level. He steered the Swiss to the last 16 of the 1994 World Cup in the United States.

Hodgson, 62, took Fulham to the final of the Europa League last season and was named manager of the year by the League Managers Association.

He took time out from the studio to answer some of your questions on the World Cup sent in via Twitter

Why do you think some of the bigger teams are underperforming so far? karlhysteria

Two reasons. There is always a nervous start to tournaments because it is always difficult to push aside the fear of failure and the worry that it is not going to go your way.

You build up to them for such a long time so that sometimes in that couple of games you do not necessarily show the best of yourself, either as an individual or as a team.


The second factor is that maybe we have underestimated the level of organisation - and the level of difficulty - that the bigger teams are being caused by teams defending well and limiting their time and space.

Of course, it does not matter what team you are playing against if they are capable of getting six, seven or eight players behind the ball all the time because by the time you get somewhere near their penalty area, there is not going to be a lot of space for you to play the ball into.

And, on top of that, we are talking about A) a lively ball and B) lively pitches, so nothing really has combined so far to help the forwards at this World Cup. Most of what has gone on has helped the defenders here so far, which is obviously going to help the sides that have done more defending.

Lionel Messi
Hodgson says he would love to sign Argentina star Messi

Roy, if you had the money of Roberto Mancini and Manchester City, who from this World Cup would you sign? blueinyorkshire

I would sign Lionel Messi. I do not think you would win too many prizes for guessing that though!

How much bearing would performance at a World Cup have on your decision to sign a player? davidlbevan

I do not think World Cups are great places to sign players from because World Cup football is often very different from the type of football played in the league that you are looking for players to play in.

Of course it is a great showpiece for players and, as a manager, I am always looking at players and trying to assess their qualities.

But hopefully if I was watching someone here I would be, if you like, confirming a decision I had made from watching them in their league matches rather than suddenly deciding that player X is a wonder player on the back of one or two games at a World Cup.

So it is a good question and not one that I can answer "I never would" or "I always would". I would just hope that I had done enough research by the time the World Cup came around so I only had to be convinced one way or the other.

Are there any players that you are tracking at this World Cup and is there anyone you have been particularly impressed with so far? wigmanreturns

There have been a lot of players that I am impressed with - a lot of players I do not know that well.

But I have not come here in particular to track players, I have come here to work for the BBC and most of the player tracking that I have been been doing, I have been doing over a long period of time.

It would take me too long to name every individual player who has impressed me here but I suppose I am more impressed in some ways by teams.

I have been very surprised by the level of organisation of many of the teams from whom maybe we did not expect a great deal before the World Cup.

We have seen a lot from them too, like the North Koreans against Brazil, Switzerland's win over Spain and the Serbians beating the Germans. Of course, in each of those games, several top players have sprung to my attention.

Gordon Banks saves from Pele
Banks saves from Pele at the World Cup finals in 1970

Apart from England winning the World cup in 1966, what is your favourite World Cup moment? nickdegaris

Well, yes, England winning the World Cup is very special but, after that, it would be that magnificent group game four years later in Mexico at the 1970 World Cup, when England played Brazil in a very, very exciting match.

We saw that magnificent piece of play that culminated in Gordon Banks making that save, which has gone down as probably the greatest save in history.

That was a great moment and there was another in the World Cup final that year - the goals that the Brazilians scored by carving holes in what was a man-to-man Italy defence were amazing.

I have a lot of good memories from that tournament but my favourite memory of all is from 1994 when I was manager of Switzerland and we beat Romania 4-1 in our group game in Detroit.

What's your take on the Jabulani ball? Should players be able to cope or have things gone too far in trying to change the game? ramone78

For a number of years now we have had good footballs and people have got used to them. There is not usually a vast difference in playing with the different makes of ball either.

I do not know why it is necessary, apart from the obvious commercial reasons, to have a new football for the World Cup. I do not know why there is a need to constantly tinker with them, make them lighter or change the material.

As a football man and a football coach, I am not interested in the commercial aspect of the change. I am more interested in the technical aspect and there is no doubt that this football has not assisted the technical development of players during this tournament - if anything it has detracted from it.

Will they get used to it? It is light and it moves a lot so whether you get used to it or not it is still a lighter ball.

Maybe players will in some ways start to adjust their technique and the teams that go further in the tournament will no doubt become more comfortable with it but it would have been nice if we hadn't been always wasting our time to some extent talking about the ball when we should really be talking about the game.

Clint Dempsey
Fulham's Dempsey after his equaliser for the US against England

What did you make of Clint Dempsey's goal for the United States against England? Were you proud of him as a Fulham player or are you going to have words with him when he's back at Craven Cottage? sparticus

Of course I was pleased for Clint. His job is to do well for his team and, although he plays in England and is used to playing against English players, he cannot be expected to dilute his performances against England because he is earning his living in that country.

He was playing for the US and England were an opponent - his job was to damage the opponent and he did it very well. We have to congratulate him on that.

Roy Hodgson was speaking to BBC Sport's Chris Bevan.

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see also
BBC's World Cup coverage and team
08 Jul 10 |  BBC coverage
Fifa puts faith in Jabulani ball
15 Jun 10 |  World Cup 2010
Redknapp & Hodgson join BBC team
02 Jun 10 |  World Cup 2010
Team tracker and Predictor
27 May 10 |  World Cup 2010
Hodgson hurt by 'bitter' defeat
13 May 10 |  Europe
Hodgson voted manager of the year
10 May 10 |  Fulham
Messi wins Fifa best player award
21 Dec 09 |  Football

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