Mauricio on Hugo and our World Cup heroes
Sat 14 July 2018, 09:49|Tottenham Hotspur
Mauricio Pochettino has paid tribute to our 12 players for their performances at the World Cup.
There has been no more keener eye on Russia than Mauricio as nine of his squad reached the semi-finals of the biggest tournament in world football.
To give that some Club context, our previous best was two in the semi-finals - Gary Lineker and Gazza for England in Italia ’90.
Of course, it’s not over yet.
Eight of those players could yet meet again when England take on Belgium in the third-place play-off in St Petersburg on Saturday (3pm UK) and our captain Hugo Lloris aims for the ultimate prize when France take on England’s conquerors Croatia in the final in Moscow on Sunday (4pm).
It’s been quite a roller-coaster for our players and we’ve every right to be proud of Dele Alli, Eric Dier, Harry Kane, Danny Rose, Kieran Trippier (England), Toby Alderweireld, Mousa Dembele, Jan Vertonghen (Belgium), Heung-Min Son (South Korea), Davinson Sanchez (Colombia), Christian Eriksen (Denmark) and of course Hugo, who could be the first Spurs player to win and lift the World Cup.
“It’s been a fantastic World Cup and we can feel very proud of our players,” said Mauricio, who appeared in the 2002 World Cup for Argentina.
“We now have Hugo in the final against Croatia and we’re going to support him. Our hope and desire is that he lifts the trophy. That would be fantastic for Hugo, for France and of course for us because he’s our captain.
“It’s a good sign for us and that we are doing a good job here in Tottenham. I’m sure our fans feel very proud of the performances and the behaviour of our players in the World Cup.”
One of the highs was surely watching three of our players – Harry, Kieran and Eric, with the decisive spot-kick – all score in England’s dramatic penalty shoot-out win against Colombia in the last 16.
“It says a lot about the personality and character of our players,” added Mauricio. “To take the responsibility to take a penalty in the World Cup is so difficult and you need to have great personality, character and not be scared about that atmosphere.
“I watched Eric’s penalty, yes. I watched everything. I’m sure he was a little nervous but of course he scored. They all showed great quality.”
Having watched Argentina lift the trophy twice in his lifetime – Daniel Passarella in 1978, with Ossie Ardiles and Ricky Villa in the squad and Diego Maradona in 1986 – and, as already mentioned, playing in the 2002 tournament in Japan/South Korea, Mauricio knows more than most what it would mean for Hugo to lift that famous gold trophy.
“It would be great for Hugo to win, massive, there is no more important trophy or competition in the world,” he said.
“To win the World Cup would be fantastic for him and for us, as I said, because he’s our captain.
“For us though, it’s about the collective and for all the players involved it was fantastic for the Club. We feel very happy and very proud.”