″The Pressure Isn′t on Us, But on Sweden and England″ | World Cup 2006 | DW | 18.03.2006
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World Cup 2006

"The Pressure Isn't on Us, But on Sweden and England"

Roque Santa Cruz is a household name in the Bundesliga and his home country but hopes to take that fame to the next level at the World Cup. DW-WORLD talked to the Bayern player and Paraguayan superstar.

A cult hero at Bayern Munich, Roque Santa Cruz will have many fans at the World Cup

A cult hero at Bayern Munich, Roque Santa Cruz will have many fans at the World Cup

DW-WORLD.DE: Is it possible that your injury is going to prevent you from playing your best at the World Cup?

Roque Santa Cruz: It's going to be tight, regarding time. But like we planned, I'm going to start training a little bit, playing with the ball. Right now, everything's on schedule and I'm not having any problems with my knee. I think I'm going to play in the World Cup, although there's still the question of whether I'll be at one hundred percent or not. I just can't say exactly. I still don't even know if I'm going to have a place on the team.

You are the most famous player from Paraguay . How do you see your responsibility at the World Cup?

For me, this is a special World Cup, because it's being played here and I play here as well. And because of the great experience that we gained at the World Cup in Korean and Japan, I think we'll play better this time and do better.

This is the third time in a row that Paraguay has participated in the World Cup. the country is considered the third strongest team in South America , behind Brazil and Argentina . How do you see that?

Santa Cruz - Fußball

Santa Cruz has high hopes

Even though after these qualifications, like last time, we came in fourth, I do think Paraguay is the third strongest team in South America, after Brazil and Argentina. Although there are others, who are also very strong, I do think that Paraguay is firmly in third place.

Many people say that Brazil has the best team. But when you look back, Brazil actually has only managed to win the World Cup title in Europe one time. Do you think Brazil will win it this time or do other teams have a chance?

I do think that Brazil has the best team and the best players in every position. Still, it's always a question of luck and how things play out. I don't think it will as easy for the Brazilians this time as it was in Korea and Japan, when the team won every game so easily. I think we have other teams now, which are a little stronger than they were before, like England, Italy and perhaps Germany. There are national teams, very strong ones, which are going to make things tough for Brazil. But still, for me, Brazil is still the favorite.

In the last two World Cups, Paraguay made it through the group phase. This time Paraguay is in a group with England and Sweden , both very strong teams. What do you think of the group phase?

Yes, we aren't so happy with the draw. But whatever the case, for me personally, there is nothing better in a World Cup than playing against teams which have very big names in the competition. I think that while it's going to be difficult, we can do it. I know that many say that England and Sweden will advance, and we won't. But I also think that there's a positive side, since the pressure isn't on us, but on Sweden and England. That's why I say we can do it, although against England and Sweden, it will be very hard.

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