PANAMA CITY: The first Post 2014 FIFA World Cup™ conference came to a close on Friday in Panama City, as delegates from 45 CONCACAF and CONMEBOL member associations analysed what was described as the best football ever seen at sport’s showpiece tournament.
“Brazil 2014 was great. I experienced it as a fan and I believe it has been the best ever, with plenty of attacking and joyful football”, said FIFA’s Football Committee member Francisco Maturana.
The two-day event, organised by FIFA in cooperation with CONCACAF and CONMEBOL, focused on the main findings contained in the Technical Report submitted by FIFA’s Technical Study Group (TSG), and it was opened to the technical directors and coaches of the respective countries.
A total of 171 goals scored – which equaled the all-time record set in France 1998 – exceptional individual performances by attacking players, fast transition from offense to defense, the willingness to take risks to win matches and a new era of goalkeepers capable of contributing decisively to the build-up of the game were among the main trends presented by FIFA’s TSG.
“We could see a tactical evolution from 2010 as the game became straightforward. There were different proposals, teams took more risk and they were also able to respond to different situations within the game. I have been to eight Word Cups as an assistant and the organisation of Brazil 2014 was simply great,” said former Costa Rica coach Jorge Luis Pinto.
Mexico coach Miguel Herrera added: “There were some concerns about the heat in Brazil but in the end we saw very intensive matches with teams giving it all to win.”
The fact that three out of four CONCACAF teams qualified for the second phase for the first time in World Cup history, and five out of six CONMEBOL sides made it to the same round, with three of them progressing even further, confirmed in the eyes of the experts the great level of play shown by both confederations representatives. The importance of the link between development and competition structures within member associations was defined as a key success factor as exemplified by Tab Ramos, head coach of the USA U-20 national team and assistant coach at the FIFA World Cup in Brazil.
Further aspects tackled at the conference were refereeing and the positive impact of Goal Line Technology which helped match officials in critical situations with all 171 goals recorded by the system and displayed correctly on the referees’ watches. Another innovation implemented for the first time ever at the FIFA World Cup was the vanishing spray which contributed to ensure that the 9.15 metre distance was observed at the taking of free-kicks.
Medical aspects too were on the agenda of the conference: the average rate of injuries per match registered at the 2014 FIFA World Cup – 1.7 – represented a decrease of 40% compared to the 2002 edition. The pioneering implementation of the biological profile was also highlighted as a key step within the ongoing strategy to fight doping.
The cycle of post-2014 World Cup conferences jointly organised by FIFA and its confederations will continue in Saint Petersburg (UEFA member associations, 16-17 September), Cairo (CAF, 30 September – 1 October) and Kuala Lumpur (AFC and OFC, 29-31 October).
Photo for editorial use below (copyright: FIFA/Juan Torres): From left: Jorge Luis Pinto (Costa Rica national team coach at 2014 FIFA World Cup), Humberto Grondona (Argentina’s technical director), Tab Ramos (USA technical director and national team assistant coach), Miguel Herrera (Mexico national team coach), Reinaldo Rueda (Ecuador national team coach at 2014 FIFA World Cup), Francisco Maturana (member of FIFA Football Committee), Jürg Nepfer (FIFA Head of Education and Technical Development) and Raúl Arias (member of FIFA Technical Study Group).