Who Is Walter Pless?


A teacher by profession, but is now in his 38th year as a football writer. Has written for "Soccer Action" (Melbourne), "Australian Soccer Weekly" (Sydney) and "World Soccer" (London), as well as for several Tasmanian newspapers. Currently contributing to "Goal!Weekly" in Melbourne and the Australian magazine "Soccer International". Played for Croatia-Glenorchy, Caledonians, Metro, Rapid and University in Tasmania, as well as in the United States of America. Coached University, Metro and Croatia-Glenorchy.

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Newcastle Jets moved into third place on the A-League ladder with a 3-2 win over North Queensland Fury at Energy Australia Stadium this afternoon.

An own-goal by Chris Tadcrosse in the 24th minute gave Newcastle the lead.

Song Jin-Hyung made it 2-0 for the home side in the 38th minute.

Two goals by Fury’s Dyron Daal - in the 44th and 61st minutes - made it 2-2.

Sasho Petroski then had what looked like a legitimate goal for Newcastle ruled out for off-side, but Petroski, who was making his 100th A-League appearance, netted the winner in the 83rd minute, although it looked as if he may have handled the ball in the process.

The goal stood, however, enabling the Jets to record their fourth consecutive A-League win and become the only club to do so this season.

North Queensland Fury are in last place.

The omens for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa are not good, despite FIFA president Sepp Blatter continually talking up the forthcoming event.

Critics of the decision to grant the World Cup to South Africa are thick on the ground and have gathered plenty of evidence to back their arguments.

They cite evidence such as the 50 murders that occur each day in South Africa, and the 14,000 road deaths each year - half of which involve a vehicle hitting a pedestrian - to argue that the country is unsafe for visitors, let alone locals.

Public transport is a mess and travelling between World Cup venues may prove a harrowing experience.

Three well-respected journalist have recently filed reports on their experiences in South Africa, and these make troublesome reading.

The journalists were Keir Radnedge of World Soccer, and Gabriele Marcotti and Owen Slot of The Times.

Radnedge was horrified by the level of crime in South Africa and said he believed the World Cup organisers cared little for what happened to people outside the actual stadiums.

Apparently, they guarantee spectators’ safety inside the stadiums, but when you leave, you’re on your own.

There have been some shocking examples of violence in the past couple of years which can hardly engender confidence in visitors.

In late 2007, Pieter Burgstaller, who was once a goalkeeper with Austrian club SV Salzburg and an acquaintance of Franz Beckenbauer, was shot dead on a golf course in Durban.

He was visiting South Africa for a Soccerex Conference and was murdered for his mobile phone, passport and wallet.

Beckenbauer later acknowledged that people won’t be as free to move about as at other World Cup tournaments in the past.

On January 4 this year, a member of the 2010 World Cup Organising Committee, 44-year-old Jimmy Mohlala, was shot dead at his home in Nelspruit.

He was a former member of the South African FA and was believed to have been killed as he was about to expose alleged corruption surrounding the building of a local stadium for the World Cup.

Marcotti, of The Times, undertook the four-hour drive at night from Bloemfontein to Johannesburg, two of the World Cup venues.

The two-lane road was wholly unlit and the journey was a nightmare.

Marcotti said that people are advised not to travel by train or bus, so what is one to do?

Accommodation may also be a problem for visitors and there has been some talk of people staying in Zimbabwe, which is only a couple of hundred kilometres away.

But, given the situation in that country, would you risk it?

There have been plans to build a tent city on school grounds at Polokwane capable of accommodating 2,000 people, but even Blatter has said this is unfeasible because of the cold South African winters.

The South African government has recruited 35,000 extra police officers for the World Cup, while another 5,000 railway police are also to be recruited.

This means that 187,000 police will be on duty when the World Cup kicks off.

They will be needed in a country that in 2005/2006 recorded 18,528 homicides, 54,926 rapes and 119,726 aggravated robberies. And, these are only the recorded figures.

I gained accreditation as a journalist for the 2002 World Cup in South Korea and Japan.

I don’t think I’ll be travelling to the World Cup in South Africa, even if I were given free tickets.

It’s a real pity because the Socceroos will be there.

They must be careful, too, as the Brazilian and Egyptian teams at this year’s Confederations Cup tournament in South Africa can testify.

Both squads were victims of hotel robberies.

The Confederations Cup is, of course, conducted in the country that will host the World Cup a year before the tournament in order to test the country’s readiness for the big event.

There was plenty of other cause for concern, too, as stadiums were far from full and the government gave away many free tickets to the games in an endeavour to show that there were good crowds.

In regard to personal safety, Germany may have stumbled upon a solution.

No, they are not flying in to the country for matches and then flying out again before returning for their next match.

It has been reported that the German players will all wear body armour when outside their hotel.

Unfortunately, this won’t protect their limbs, particularly their legs, which are, of course, the most important parts of their anatomy.

Melbourne Victory and Sydney FC played out a drab 0-0 draw before 27,344 spectators at Etihad Stadium this evening.

The result leaves Melbourne in first place, 3 points ahead of second-placed Sydney.

It was the eighth goalless draw in the A-League this season.

The closest anyone came to scoring was in the first half when Melbourne’s Archie Thompson hit the crossbar.

Kevin Muscat was making his 500th appearance in Australia’s top-flight competition - the old NSL and the A-League.

The game was characterised by poor passing and woeful finishing.

The first touch of many players was appalling, and some of the hacking that was going on deserved stronger action from the match officials.

No matter how Fox Sports and their commentators tried to build up this spectacle, it was a very disappointing display of football in the premier competition in the land involving the two top sides.

Seventh-placed Brisbane Roar moved into fourth spot on the A-League ladder when they beat fifth-ranked Central Coast Mariners 3-2 away at Bluetongue Stadium in Gosford this evening.

The Mariners trailed 2-0 and then 2-1 at the interval before coming back to 2-2 with just 14 minutes remaining.

But, a strike in injury time following a free-kick gave Brisbane the three points.

Tommy Oar put the visitors ahead when he controlled a cross from the right - which was headed on by a defender - on the far side of the box and cut inside to beat the keeper with a shot on his ‘wrong’ right foot.

Sergio Van Dijk added the second with a stunning left-footed drive from outside the box on the right.

A terrible mistake by Craig Moore 10 minutes before the interval gifted the Mariners a goal and put them back in the hunt.

A Brisbane defender played the ball back to his keeper, Griffin McMaster, who played it out to Moore. The Brisbane captain tried to play the ball back to McMaster but mis-timed the pass and Nick Travis intercepted and beat the keeper with ease.

Dylan McCallister made it 2-2 in the 76th minute when a corner was headed into the box and over McMaster to McCallister, who nodded home from point-blank range.

With a draw seemingly inevitable, the visitors stole it at the end after Predrag Bojic conceded a free-kick wide on the right.

The ball was curled into the box and when a defender headed it clear it fell to Matt McKay, who hammered home the winner from just outside the box.