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Clinton Larsen: Hopefully Messi Finishes His Career On A High As A World Cup Winner

Clinton Larsen World Cup interview

Golden Arrows coach, Clinton Larsen, chatted to Benedict Ngwenya of Soccer Betting News about this year’s FIFA World Cup, giving us his thoughts on who will win the tournament in Russia, as well as which African nation can go the furthest. Coach Larsen has also put the debate between Ronaldo and Messi to bed, saying that the Argentina wizard should, in fact, be compared to a former footballing legend, instead of Ronaldo.

Benedict Ngwenya: Former Bafana Bafana, Orlando Pirates and Manning Rangers legend and the current coach of Golden Arrows, good to have you. Which team do you think stands a good chance of winning the FIFA World Cup and why?

Clinton Larsen: It’s not going to be easy to choose a winner, merely because of the fact that I don’t think Spain and Germany who are usually favourites are the teams that they were in the previous tournaments. There’s been a lot of changes in the two particular teams. So, I don’t think they’re going to be as strong as they were. The team I would like to see do well is Argentina. I think that they’ve got a star-studded team who have under-performed for a long, long time and I’m hoping that they come to the fore and give a good account of themselves at the World Cup. Hopefully, Lionel Messi finishes his career on a high as a World Cup winner.

BN: So, your heart is with Argentina but who is your money on? If I gave you R100 to back a team, who would be your pick?

CL: Like I said, it’s not going to be easy but I’d say a team like Belgium is a dark horse, considering their good form but I’ll stick with Argentina because I’ve got a funny feeling that this time around they’re going to deliver.

BN: If Argentina win the World Cup, does it put to bed the debate about who’s a better player between Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi?

CL: I don’t even think that’s a debate, in my opinion. I don’t think you can compare the two. Messi is by far a better footballer. He’s got way more technical qualities than Ronaldo does and I don’t know why people still argue who is the best between the two. Maybe the only question asked can be who is the best between Messi and Diego Maradona? That’s a debatable question and that’s why I would like to see Messi winning the World Cup, because of what he’s achieved and the way he’s performed in the last 10 to 15 years. I really would love to see him lift a major trophy with his nation.

BN: Of the five African teams that are in the World Cup, which one do you think stands a better chance of going far in the tournament?

CL: I’m going to go with Nigeria. Once again, a lot of their players are doing well abroad. They’ve got a very strong squad that’s full of confidence, they’re a very physical team and are an athletic team that can pose problems to many teams. I know that Egypt have Mohamed Salah but I don’t think they have the quality around him to really go far. I’m going to support Nigeria from the continent.

BN: We all watch the English Premier League; how far do you think England will go at the World Cup?

CL: England often flatter to deceive. A lot of the stars in the Premier League are foreign players, so I think it’s over-hyped at times because your flair does come from your Eden Hazards, Willians, Kevin De Bruynes etc. So, collectively, they’re not as strong as people make it seem to be. I think if they get to the quarter-finals, they’d have done very well.

BN: Thank you so much for your time, coach!

CL: It’s a pleasure, Benedict!