“I went to Tahiti to play football, to make a living doing it, but then I saw that the sport is still amateur, so I started working as a tour guide. As the company I work for knows I’m a footballer, whenever an important person in that area comes, they ask me to receive them. It’s through this that I met Mourinho, Cassano, Buffon and Ronaldo – and in 2007, Torres. I went to pick [Torres and partner Olalla] up at the airport and then they went to Bora Bora. They were going to return to Papeete, but Torres had to leave at the last minute to sign a Liverpool contract. When the [Spain-Tahiti] game finished, I went to the Spanish dressing room and asked Vicente Del Bosque if I could speak to Torres. He knew I was there and recognised me! I was very happy and we exchanged jerseys.”
Efrain Araneda, Tahiti’s Chile-born standby player, following their game against Spain

“I can say that I prefer Japanese food, it’s the best in the world! And the girls are prettier, smaller and slimmer…wait, that might not be a good thing to say. Dutch girls are very beautiful too!"
Mike Havenaar, who grew up in a Dutch household in Japan, to FIFA.com on the differences between the two nations

"Andres is out of this world. It often seems like he's playing against kids – he gets around his opponents with such ease. When Iniesta’s on the opposite team, you can’t enjoy playing. He makes you suffer a lot. If you give him an inch, he can do just about anything. But when you’re his team-mate, you can enjoy watching him do such amazing things while making them look easy. I was telling Valdes the other day, I would love to be Iniesta for just one game. He is unbelievable.”
Javi Martinez

“Passion for football is at another level, without a doubt. It´s clear to see the fans arriving at the stadium here today are making a point of demonstrating their allegiance to their team, or country in this case. That only happens now and then in the NBA – in the play-offs and finals. Football is different. It’s more like a religion. Growing up in Italy gave me first-hand experience of the fans’ intense love of football from an early age. And I can guarantee you it’s unique.”
Kobe Bryant, the NBA legend, to FIFA.com on the difference in atmosphere at football and basketball games

“We'll end up with Prandelli vs Del Bosque!”
Mikael Sylvestre as the Spain-Italy shootout went into sudden death with every penalty having been scored 

“The match reminded me of the Woody Allen film Match Point, with the game hanging on which side of the net the ball would drop. Cavani had a chance at the end with Julio Cesar totally exposed, but it went wide, sealing our fate.”
Oscar Tabarez on Uruguay’s 2-1 loss to Brazil

“Bernard! Fred! Hulk! Whatever happened to the glamorous names of Brazilian football?”
Gary Lineker, who remembers playing in FIFA World Cups™ when the Brazil squad included exotic-sounding players such as Bismarck, Josimar, Socrates and Zico, on two old-English names and another after a comic-book superhero are in Luiz Felipe Scolari’s party 

“I was deeply moved, almost crying. We watch World Cups on TV. Today we were participants. All of Tahiti was watching. Our president sent us a message and even suspended a cabinet meeting for it.”
Eddy Etaeta to FIFA.com on how he felt when Tahiti’s national anthem was played before their FIFA Confederations Cup debut against Nigeria

“I'm under a lot of pressure from the media, but you don’t need to worry about me: I don't understand Japanese so I don't read newspapers.”
Alberto Zaccheroni 

"I didn't go to take the penalty because, being honest, I didn't feel it. I told Bonucci, 'Leonardo, you go', because I was convinced he would have scored. Unfortunately it's always a lottery.”
Emanuele Giaccherini reveals he was supposed to take Italy’s seventh spot-kick and explains, with admirable honesty, why he didn’t step up to the spot and let team-mate Leonardo Bonucci take the kick instead