Jump to content

Nicaragua has New Philosophy.....

Winnipeg Fury

Recommended Posts

Nicaragua new philosophy lifts them 16 places

2.6.04 - Nicaragua's footballing record makes for rather sorry reading. Historically, the Central American nation has hardly distinguished itself in its FIFA World Cup qualifying campaigns, picking up as many defeats as it has made appearances.

The spring of 2004, however, has raised hopes of a reversal of this trend: two victories over Bermuda, one of their deadly CONCACAF rivals, has seen the Nicaraguans clamber up 16 places (to 161) in the FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking, making them May's best movers.

Nicaragua's target is uncomplicated: to win their first-ever FIFA World Cup qualifying match. For in their three qualifying campaigns to date (1994, 1998 and 2002), they have drawn a dispiriting blank. Worse still, their goals ratio makes grim reading, with 23 conceded for only two scored… Hence the special attention being paid to their preparations this year, with no less than six friendlies planned before they take on Saint Vincent and Grenadine for Germany 2006.

And Maurizio Battistini's men seem to be well on the way to facing the islanders on level terms this 13th and 20th June, despite their traditional inferiority in ranking terms to the Caribbean nation, who have never occupied a spot lower than Nicaragua… until now, that is!

The Central American side recorded a brace of friendly victories in late April (2:0) and early May (2:0) over Bermuda, another generally higher-ranked team. The boys in Azul y Blanco (Blue and white) therefore redressed the balance, having lost twice in late March (3:0) and early April (2:1) to the same team.

At the time of these losses, Battistini sought to accentuate the positive but also highlighted some areas for improvement: "We have to improve our concentration. It's a key factor if we are to obtain better results. And we need to improve our aerial game."

The Italian coach's entreaties appear to have been heeded, most notably in attack, where Emilio Palacios, Carlos Novoa and Rudel Cadero are showing their quality. Lively up front and finally tight at the back, the Nicaraguans restricted Bermuda to a handful of chances and deployed the counter-attack to good effect.

Battistini, who clocks up the air miles "commuting" between Parma and Nicaragua, had issued precise instructions to his charges, which they followed to the letter: "We have to play it short along the ground, moving forward regularly in order to supply as many balls as possible to the forwards. Playing it on the ground and attacking incessantly must be our mantra." And this new Nicaraguan philosophy has reaped immediate dividends.

Courtesy of these two consecutive wins, the Nicaraguans have hauled themselves up 16 places to 161st slot in the FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking, from where they look down on Bermuda (164th) and Saint Vincent and Grenadines (166th). This represents the biggest rise of all 204 associations in May and, perhaps more significantly, the loftiest perch occupied by the Central Americans since July 1994 (160th).

If they can now take a step towards qualification for Germany 2006 by beating Saint Vincent and Grenadines in June, they would surely better their record position of 150th, achieved in August 1993. But most importantly of all, they would make their first entry in the "Games Won" column of the world's greatest competition.

Link to comment
Share on other sites


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Create New...