Mexico handily beat Croatia today 3 to 1 in the last game of the group phase of the 2014 World Cup. It was a good game, one that I thought Mexico might not be able to win. (They needed a win or a tie to move on to the knockout stage of the competition.) It took ten minutes in the second half for the Mexican team to score the three goals and get the team through. The game was tough because the Croatian team has tall, strong players, compared to the shorter, faster Mexicans.
Yesterday, Croatian coach Niko Kovac did some trash talking:
“Ochoa is a great goalkeeper, but we have good forwards who will be a menace for him. If anyone have their knees shaking, it’s Mexico.”
He also said:
“Mexico are a great team. They have shown high quality football in the first two matches. They play very aggressively, very directly. But I think we are a better team and better individuals than Mexico and that we will show that tomorrow.”
Okay, so maybe “Trash Talk” is too harsh a term. He was basically showing a lot of confidence before the big game, which is something you want to do to show your team that you believe in them. There is nothing worse than having a coach who expects you to lose. At the same time, you don’t want to come off as over-confident and diminishing your opponent.
Knees shaking? Comments like that led to a Mexican player pointing to his knees and shaking his finger as if saying that his knees were not shaking after he scored a goal.
I don’t know about you, but the Croatian coach should be embarrassed. Maybe tone it down next time?
René F. Najera, DrPH
I'm a Doctor of Public Health, having studied at the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health.
All opinions are my own and in no way represent anyone else or any of the organizations for which I work.
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