One coach is talking about the knockout rounds and the other about his final group fixture, but both Jurgen Klinsmann and Louis van Gaal are implying preferential treatment by FIFA toward the favorites of the 2014 World Cup.
Klinsmann was discussing Germany’s set-up for the two nations’ Group G finale on Thursday, while van Gaal is concerned about a potential match-up with hosts Brazil.
The sentiments were similar. From MLSSoccer.com, here are Klinsmann’s comments on the match-up with his birth country:
“We have one day less to recover. They played yesterday, we played today. We played in the Amazon and they played in the very kind of location where they don’t have to travel much. Everything was done for the big favorites to go and move on. We have to do it the tough way, but we’re going to do it the tough way.”
This isn’t uncommon in American sports, where home field advantage and preferential treatment reign. In the NCAA basketball tournament, the ‘Big Dance’ is set up to favor the top seeds, as match-ups closer to home are routinely given to top programs to create an easier path to the title.
And it’s hard not to see the concern of Klinsmann and van Gaal, coaches used to two-legged fixtures and regular rest intervals. The Dutch coach, for instance, is wondered why his Group B team will play before Brazil’s Group A today and with less rest should the two meet in the knockout rounds.
Hosts Brazil played before the Dutch in the first two games but are in action after them in the final group round, which Van Gaal claims is unfair.
“Fifa plays these tricks. It’s not a good thing,” said Van Gaal who team could face Brazil in the last 16.
“It’s not fair play. I think at a World Cup the host country always has an advantage.”
The winners of Brazil’s Group A play the runners-up in Group B on Saturday, while the second-placed team in Group A meet the Group B winners the following day.
Admitting that this site is based in America, it seems Klinsmann has the better gripe here. Even so, your thoughts?