Division one

Otto Addo feels referee Ismail Elfath gifted Ronaldo a penalty in Portugal defeat – Every word from the Boss

After seeing us lose 3-2 to Portugal in our opening Group H game, Otto Addo faced the media at the 974 stadium in Doha where the Black Stars conceded three second half goals in an entertaining game marred by some inaccurate refereeing decisions. Otto Addo spoke about the performance of the referee, decision to substitute Andre Ayew, integration of Inaki Williams and the output of Baba Abdul Rahman.

Read on for the full transcript:

Overview of the game

Surely, we are very disappointed especially when I see the penalty situation. I think that up to that point we really had a good match. Ball possession was for Portugal, we knew they were good. We didn’t play our counters very well but I think we defended well and allowed less chances. I was hoping that second half when they push more, we will have more space but when they scored the goal the game changed. I think it was a wrong decision, we were playing the ball and surely there is contact afterwards. I don’t know why VAR didn’t come up, there is no explanation for me and then it’s difficult playing against World Class team when they are leading, it’s very difficult to play against them but we were brave. We tried as much, we scored two goals, we always came back with a little bit of luck and with Inaki’s trick trying to stay behind the goalkeeper, we had a big chance to score the third but very unlucky. I can talk for hours but the bottom line is in the end we got zero points.

On Andre Ayew substitution

It was a tactical change; he had a yellow card and I had fears that he cant go in for tackles the way I wanted. So, I took him off to bring a fresh player. I don’t think it had a big impact because at that moment it was actually 1-1. The game was hectic, we made some few mistakes which resulted in the second and third goal.  We failed to close the lines, opened the lines for them to pass the balls, they used it. We were a little bit unlucky, like I said with a little bit of luck we could have reached one point. The referee too was not on our side. In my view our yellow cards were deserved but for me holding jerseys, stopping counter attacks were also a yellow card but I don’t know what was wrong. But clearly you could see that the referee was not in our favour.

On if he would consider Coaching a German Bundesliga team after World Cup

I am sorry this is a wrong question. I am really disappointed. I think we could have got more; we played a good match but we have zero point. With all due respect, I don’t want to be a head coach. I like being coach and regarding the work at BvB I don’t really think about it. I am here, I will do everything for Ghana and you can ask me this question after the tournament.

On African teams at the World Cup

I think the circumstances of Africa having 5 teams only, the probability is lower compared to Europe who have about 14 teams. This is surely a lower probability to have more success. The problem is the tournament started never equal so Africa always has less spots which I don’t think its fair. Secondly, I think the teams I saw playing for Africa surely didn’t win but I could see that most of them could compete with their opponents. Even Senegal losing 2-0 to the Netherlands was not clear in my eyes but you are right the results are not good and we all have to improve and we will all have to improve and I hope that we will improve.

On penalty being a bonus for Cristiano Ronaldo

I think you would have to ask the referee; I have no proof for that, whether he would have decided differently for someone else to play the penalty. But we were playing the ball and there was a contact of players. I don’t know what they were doing, I don’t know whether they were not paying attention, I don’t know whether the VAR was not paying attention. If I look at that moment, its just incredible. If you look at the replay, we were playing the ball and it was actually a foul against them, not us.

On chances of making the next round

First of all, surely, we have a chance especially because they played a draw so if we win against South Korea and Portugal win hopefully against Uruguay then we will be second so the chance is still big. And surely it will be very, very tough to beat South Korea because they are good. But now we have to win. We are under pressure but they too.

On what accounted for defeat

The referee. I think we did well. We allowed less chances, there were two or three half chances from Portugal but we really did well. And up to the penalty anything was possible. Then the game got a little bit wild. We needed a little bit of luck. If Inaki at the end did not slide away, he could have scored the third goal, it was very tricky for him, hiding behind the goalkeeper. And like I said, he was a little bit unlucky. Portugal is not a school football team; they are one of the World best ranked and I think for that we really did well. From all participations and their last rankings, I think we really did well.

On Inaki and Nico Williams

I think they are in good contact for sure. They play together in the same team, at Athletic Bilbao. The integration was very, very easy. I know that they have a very strong ties with Ghana, their motherland so it was really easy. He feels happy. Surely, I think we had the chance because Spain didn’t invite him the last years and with us, he felt there is something which is growing and we qualified for the World Cup and he chose to come to us. He really feels at home and may be there are things he finds difficult to understand but it’s really, really possible to have two countries in your heart. And surely, he has Ghana in his heart from day one but also Spain because he has been living there for a long time so that is possible.

On whether he tried to speak to the referee after the match

I tried. I asked some people from FIFA if I could talk briefly to the referee in a calm and quite way. But they said he is in a meeting and so it’s not possible. I think they do match analysis with their instructor after the match so they go through the match. But surely, may be sometimes you could have some minutes for the Coach.

On Cristiano Ronaldo scoring

If someone scores a goal, Congratulations. But this was really a gift.

On Baba Rahman giving away a cheap goal

So, what I don’t like sometimes about press people is that surely you live for negative press. But before, he defended so well. And if you mention this, you have to also point out that before the incident, he defended so well. He had some good passes upfront, really, really good. It’s difficult. I don’t know if you have played football when you run backwards. The problem was his position. So, if he would have been a little bit faster by taking up inner position that nobody can play in between the lines, they could have only played him in the feet. But he was a little bit too wide, coming inside, he was unlucky and the ball went through his legs, really, really unlucky. But its really, really difficult to stop the ball whiles you are running sideways.


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